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Controlling fouling on preheat trains

The challenge

Fouling increases furnace duty and leads to pressure drop while reducing exchanger performance and cooling capacity. During the final year before turnaround, the crude unit suffered from capacity loss caused by pressure drop, as well as increased energy consumption in the crude distillation unit furnaces due to fouling. These two effects caused significant economic losses during the year in question.


A fouling mitigation study was carried out to achieve extended run length while reducing the known operational issues of the unit. KBC’s approach to fouling reduction not only involved the analysis of factors that contribute to fouling (Stage 1) but also included an assessment of the preheat train’s performance (Stage 2).

The results

A review of operating procedures and crude compatibilities, along with a rigorous solution to monitor fouling, helped meet run-length targets and a 4.8 Gcal/h furnace duty reduction.

Our experts say

"Controlling the sources of fouling and installing a monitoring solution to track fouling helps control cleaning costs and maximize margins."
David Severson, Senior Consultant, KBC

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