Heat Exchanger Fouling

Posted on October 28, 2021

Feed train fouling in heat exchangers is a ubiquitous problem in the processing of liquid fuels. The buildup of deposits on heat exchange equipment has a serious impact on plant downtime and economics. As the industry transitions to biologically-derived, renewable feedstocks, there is little or no historical data on the fouling propensity of these materials. To minimize the processing risk, testing in the laboratory can be done to get a quantifiable measure of the rate of buildup of the foulant. To emulate processing conditions, estimates of both the temperature and shear stress at the fluid/surface interface in the commercial equipment where the energy transfer takes place is required. These conditions are then replicated in the laboratory.

Coanda has been active in supporting the industry in assessing the fouling propensity of biogenic fuels. We work closely with fuel processors to understand their process conditions, tailoring the lab test conditions to reflect their specific operation. The results we generate help these companies to make informed decisions on feedstock selection, and blend/processing conditions to avoid fouling.

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