Skip to main content

Petrochemicals firm saves US$700 000 with heat exchangers

Published by
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Aggreko provides the hire of heat exchangers to prevent downtime and lost production, so that companies do not need to buy in new heat exchanger systems while repairs are made.

“Anywhere where there is a process involving a heat exchanger and an issue in terms of it fouling or failing, Aggreko can provide a rental solution and has the capability to rapidly deliver exactly what the customer needs,” explained Chris Smith, Head of Temperature Control, northern Europe, Aggreko.

Fouled heat exchangers can limit a process unit’s operation, especially during the hot summer months, and cut down on efficiency. This is because process units experience cooling limitations due to warmer cooling tower water, or because dry coolers using the warmer ambient air become less effective.

Any of these common problems can force a plant to reduce plant/unit rates, product quality, and consequently miss out on potential profit opportunities, or exceed permitted environmental limits, risking significant fines.

“One of Aggreko's petrochemicals customers in the US, a leading ethylene oxide (EO) producer, was faced with a leaking recycle gas heat exchanger. As EO is a toxic substance regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, emissions into the atmosphere were exceeding permitted limits,” said Chris

The producer ordered a replacement heat exchanger, but faced a long lead time of approximately 12 weeks until it arrived.

“The plant estimated that if it had to shut down, losses would be in the region of US$700 000 in profit per day. Continuing to operate the leaking exchanger was not a viable option due to safety risks – and the potential for significant fines from the regulators. We developed a solution in only six days,” said Chris.

Aggreko’s solution was the installation of multiple 1000 t cooling towers, 2000 ft2 shell and tube heat exchangers, high pressure pumps, and high pressure piping, custom made for the project to meet the EO producer’s welding specs.

The three-month installation enabled the plant to continue operations, resulting in US$64 000 000 in profit that would otherwise have been lost.

In the UK, Aggreko’s 40-strong team of engineers will tailor heat exchangers of any size to a specific plant and deliver the solution within a day or two, to prevent bottlenecks and allow equipment to be repaired without excessive capital expenditure. The company has servicing bases across Britain and Ireland. The input of its network of specialist engineers across the globe is also on hand if required.

Chris said: “Our contingency planning service means that if something goes wrong, we already understand their technology in detail, so can implement a temporary fix quickly while a long-term solution is found. This level of proactive planning can mean reductions in insurance premiums over time as it demonstrates they are doing everything they can to avoid a production shutdown.”

Edited from press release by

Read the article online at:

You might also like

Compressor Q&A: Howden

In this special Q&A, Hydrocarbon Engineering sat down with Richard Smith, Director of Product Strategy, Howden, to talk about some key topics in the downstream compressor market.


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):