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Utilities Requirements in Process Industries

Introduction • Every industrial plant, whether it produces chemicals of food, cars or computers, depends for its operation on one or more utility systems. All plants require energy and most also need water, compressed air and other gasses, waste treatment and ventilation – all supplied through utility networks and their associated equipment. In purely economic terms, it can be a mistake to neglect utilities. In some industries like electronics and pharmaceuticals utilities may be make up only a small fraction of the total operating costs, but in others- including brewing and papermaking – the utilities bill can make or break a project. Energy wastage is equivalent to environment pollution, and this is not the only route by which the utility systems are likely to contribute to a site’s overall burden of environment damage. Air compressors produce waste oil, ineffective wastewater treatment plants discharge harmful chemicals to water ways, and refrigeration systems could leak ozone-destroying chemicals and greenhouse gases. Most utilities need to be very reliable, when things go wrong they have the potential to bring an entire site to a halt. In fact, utilities may need to be even more reliable than the processes they serve, because process and site safety often depends on the continued supply of utilities including compressed air, and cooling water. 4 basic groups of utility systems based on their number and nature that vary from site to site:

1. Energy transfer: fuel, electricity, steam, hot water and other thermal fluids, cooling water and refrigeration. 2. Process water, potable water, wastewater. 3. Compressed air, inert gas, hydraulic fluids. 4. Ventilation and air conditioning. Cooling Water System • Water cooling is a method of heat removal from components, where water is used as the heat transmitter. Water cooling is commonly used for cooling purposes in heat exchangers; cooling products from tanks or columns. The main mechanism for water cooling is convective heat transfer.

a portion of the circulating water is also continuously discarded as "blowdown" water to prevent the excessive build-up of salts in the circulating water.• The advantages of using water cooling over air cooling include water's higher specific heat capacity. This allows water to transmit heat over greater distances with much less volumetric flow and reduced temperature difference. For the main cooling system. Environmental Impacts • “Direct cooled" systems are often used where the warmed water is returned directly to the aquatic environment. The loss of evaporated water into the air exhausted to the atmosphere is replaced by "make-up" fresh river water or fresh cooling water. The Cooling Mechanism • Plants continuously circulate cooling water through heat exchangers and other equipment where the water absorbs heat. 2. petrochemical plants and natural gas processing plants continuously circulate cooling water through heat exchangers and other equipment where the water absorbs heat. Reactors may also use normal water for cooling. The heat is then rejected to the atmosphere by the partial evaporation of the water in cooling towers where upflowing air is contacted with the circulating downflow of water. and thermal conductivity. often at temperatures significantly above the ambient receiving water  Thermal pollution. normal water is preferably employed through the use of a heat exchanger as heavy water is much more expensive. Since the evaporation of pure water is replaced by make-up water containing carbonates and other dissolved salts. • Discussions Compressed Air • Compressed air is supplied on industrial sites for 2 main uses: . density. Some nuclear reactors use heavy water as cooling. • • • Type of Water Used 1. 3. petroleum oil refineries. High grade industrial water (produced by reverse osmosis) and potable water is sometimes used in industrial plants requiring high-purity cooling water. Industrial Usage • • Source: river water or well water The large mechanical induced-draft or forced-draft cooling towers in industrial plants such as power stations.

noxious gases and any corrosive materials. but it is always filtered to prevent dust contaminating tools using it. • • • • • Requirements of Instrument Air Systems • Instrument air. The air system should be capable of supplying instrument air and possibly plant air to consumers at the peak simultaneous demand rate. Instrument air for control systems. • • Both of these duties require pressurized air at 6-7 bar. Where the plant air flow is not critical to the operation. Main units are like filters. The instrument air is required to regulate automatically the opening of control valves of steam driven turbines. coolers and valving. Instrument air is dried to prevent condensation and water gathering in the distribution system and the control mechanisms. Plant air does not always need to be dried. • • • • . oil. The instrument air should be free from solids. Also used for driving tools during maintenance and some minor process units such as drum filling pumps and agitators. therefore there is a little opportunity for condensing water to collect. • Plant Air Systems • Plant air systems typically consist of a series of air compressors that supply air for tools. The particle sizes should less than 3μm. machines and instruments. These tools and users are at ambient temperatures and have a short residence time for the air. Many installations need only small amounts of constant plant air flow. pressure controllers and valve positioners.1. only one plant air compressor needs to be installed to give adequate reliability. The instrument air should be dried to a dew point and will not cause condensation at the lowest site ambient temperature. compressors. are used for plant pneumatic instruments such as steam flow meters. Plant air for general use 2. Plant air is normally used for purging equipment containing inert gas to allow entry for maintenance.