A planned refinery expansion required 1500 GPM of additional cooling water. The refinery has undergone several expansions in the past where either the capacity of existing units increased or new processing units were added. The original cooling water system was straining to meet the increasing demands placed on it. Further the pressure loss in the piping had increased over time due to settlement of dirt and scaling. While the cooling tower had additional thermal capacity, the circulation pumps and distribution piping system were hydraulically limited. Alternatives were explored to avoid installing additional circulation pumps and dedicated supply and return piping for the new process unit. A hydraulic network analysis helped in identifying pinch points in the large piping network with over 120 pipe segments and more than 18 process units. A solution to supply the new unit without installing new pumps and dedicated headers was identified by reducing flow resistance in the pinch points with significant cost savings.

02-19: Network Analysis Helps Increase Cooling System Capacity

  • Sushil Aggarwal, Fluro Daniel Inc.