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Comment Heat Transfer

Streamline turnarounds with faster catalyst cooling

By Mary Page Bailey |

A new process technology from Aggreko North America plc (Houston; www.us.aggreko.com) aims to make turnarounds at petroleum refineries more cost-effective by decreasing the time required for catalyst cooling. The catalyst materials used for refining operations, such as hydrotreating, hydrocracking and reforming, operate at very high temperatures, and must be cooled prior to maintenance. As these catalyst beds can contain millions of pounds of material, the cooling process can be one of the most time- and cost-intensive tasks during a turnaround. Traditionally, a two-step cooling process is employed. The first step circulates hydrogen gas through the reaction loop’s recycle-gas compressor, and cools the catalyst bed down to around 200°F. A second step is required to further cool the system for safe maintenance, especially if vessel entry is required. This second step utilizes large volumes of liquid nitrogen, and can take several days. Aggreko’s recently patented process (diagram) simplifies the second step, and eliminates the use of costly N2. In this process, coolant is circulated through a closed-loop chiller system, cooling down the recycle-gas compressor. The compressor discharge is routed to a downstream heat exchanger, which…
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