Archives :: Processing & Handling :: Thermal & Energy Management

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August 25, 2010
A $12-billion joint venture (JV) between Shell International Petroleum Co. (Shell; The Hague, The Netherlands; and Cosan S.A. (Cosan; Brazil; moved closer to reality today when the two companies signed binding agreements. The proposed JV, which still requires regulatory approval, will produce and commercialize ethanol and power from sugar cane and distribute a variety of...
August 1, 2010
The research group of Kazuo Tajima at Kanagawa University (Yokohama, Japan; have developed a new emulsification process that enables biodiesel fuels (BDFs) to be used without any purification process, thereby reducing production costs by one fourth. Tajima estimates that the process...
August 1, 2010
OVERVIEW Indirect heating of processes by organic thermal-liquid fluids offers highly reliable operation, and the heat transfer systems are generally treated as low-maintenance utilities. Occasionally, the heat transfer fluid can become contaminated, resulting in the formation of sludge particles, or other sources of dirt can infiltrate the system. This contamination can cause operational problems. The...
July 7, 2010
GEA PHE Systems (Sarstedt, Germany;, part of the GEA Heat Exchangers Segment, received an order for a South American grassroots petroleum refinery project. The multimillion-euro order covers design and manufacturing of GEABloc welded plate heat exchangers. The new refinery will process local crude oil to supply the domestic market with high quality diesel...
July 2, 2010
ABB (Zurich, Switzerland;  has won an order worth $50 million from Actelios SpA, through its subsidiary Actelios Solar SpA, in Italy to supply three photovoltaic (PV) solar-power plants in western Sicily...
July 1, 2010
Acoustic coupling in industrial furnaces is an issue that appears to have become more prevalent as designs increase the volumetric heat density of furnaces, and burner technology is required to meet more-stringent emission requirements. The problems associated with acoustic coupling appear in the form of either large oscillations in the heater pressure or tonal and high-level emitted noise. Although the...
June 1, 2010
Like other aspects of chemical processing, cooling operations are being closely examined for ways to reduce costs and resource usage. Whether it’s cooling towers or industrial gases, experts say embracing new technologies makes it possible to get more bang for your cooling buck. Cooling technologies Currently, the fleet of cooling towers in the chemical process industries (CPI) is fairly old and a...!_5724.html
May 1, 2010
In late March, the world’s first demonstration plant for converting sugars directly into gasoline started up at the Madison, Wisc., facilities of Virent Energy Systems, Inc. ( The demonstration plant — part of a joint R&D collaboration of Virent and Shell (The Hague, the Netherlands; — has the capacity to produce 10,000 gal/yr of biogasoline from beet...
May 1, 2010
Honeywells UOP LLC (Des Plaines, Ill.; has developed a process that makes a renewable, “drop-in” jet fuel from sustainable oils, including camelina, tallow, jatropha or algae. Similar to the the UOP/Eni Ecofining process for making Green Diesel fuel (CE, May 2007, p. 18), the Renewable Jet Process is a two-stage process. In the first step, the natural oils are first hydroprocessed...
May 1, 2010
Co-processing of biomass-derived feed with petroleum feed for the production of diesel fuel is a tricky business, given that the former (unlike petroleum) contains oxygen. The oxygenates can be removed by hydrotreating, which converts the biofeed to normal paraffins, but this consumes large amounts of H2 and the exothermic reactions can cause excessive temperatures. Also, biomass contains acids that can...
May 1, 2010
Less than two years ago, U.S. petroleum refiners were in the middle of an expansion and modernization program that was designed to add more than 1-million bbl/d to meet the growing demand for fuels, especially diesel fuel. Much of the investment was for cokers, in anticipation of increasing imports of heavy oil from Mexico, Venezuela and Canada. As it turned out, the demand for petroleum fuels has dropped...
May 1, 2010
Last year (2009) was a record year for U.S. ethanol production, with 200 biorefineries producing an estimated 10.6-billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Assoc. (RFA; Washington, D.C.; in its recently published report, The 2010 Ethanol Industry Outlook. An additional 20-billion gallons of ethanol were produced elsewhere around the globe in 2009 — a 400% increase over...
May 1, 2010
Gooch Thermal Systems Spiral plate heat exchangers are ideal for cooling slurries and viscous fluids. The performance of these units is characterized by increased turbulent heat transfer, reduced fouling, greater ease of maintenance, and more compact size compared to many competing options. In a spiral plate heat exchanger, the hot fluid enters at the center of the unit and flows from the inside outward...
April 1, 2010
As heat exchangers age, their tube thickness decreases because of erosion, corrosion or a combination of both. Installing thin sleeves in tubes in which the tube walls have become so thin that failure is imminent is a maintenance technique useful for extending heat exchanger life. One should consider sleeving when: (1) it would be very costly to replace aged exchangers because of the installation position...
March 29, 2010
Biodiesel, the methyl ester of fatty acids, has been accepted as a renewable-sourced alternative to fossil-derived diesel fuel. Today in many parts of the world, biodiesel is already blended with diesel fuel up to about 5%. Presently the demand for biodiesel is only approximately 40–50% of the production capacity, but the global biodiesel market is expected to experience strong growth in the next few...
March 1, 2010
Oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) is the most common process in the chemical process industries (CPI) for removing diluted emissions of VOCs and carbon monoxide from stationary air- pollution sources. Thousands of RTOs operate in automobile, engineered wood, chemical and other industries. RTOs combine gas-phase thermal oxidation of VOCs with...
February 1, 2010
Today’s high costs of energy make an energy audit evaluation of process facilities a must. Most plants were designed and built when energy costs were low by today’s standards. This makes facilities that have not been reviewed for energy efficiency in the last few years ripe for large potential savings in energy costs, primarily from fuel and electric power. Typically, projects can be identified...
February 1, 2010
A survey of tower failures [ 1 ] ranks kettle reboilers as the most troublesome reboiler type in the chemical process industries (CPI). Excessive pressure drop in kettle reboiler circuits is the prominent kettle malfunction, causing liquid to back up in the tower base beyond the reboiler return elevation. This high liquid level leads to premature flooding and capacity loss. In almost all the surveyed...
January 1, 2010
Typical wastewater-treatment plants (WWTP) — both industrial and municipal — consume large amounts of energy, which can represent 50% or more of the facility’s variable operating and maintenance costs. Most employ biological processes that rely on energy-intensive aeration systems whose energy consumption is approximately 0.5 kWh per m3 of effluent treated. This article discusses a...
December 2, 2009
Solutia Inc. (St. Louis, Mo.; announced today that it has supplied Therminol D12 and Therminol 66 synthetic heat transfer fluids to a new state of the art, 15,000 metric ton per year (m.t./y) solar-grade high-purity polysilicon manufacturing plant in Xinyu City, China. The facility is owned and operated by LDK Solar and came online in the fall...
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