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Troubleshooting waste-heat boiler poor heat transfer

06.01.2010  |  Yeh, G. J.,  Saudi Aramco, Saudi ArabiaAl-Babtain, I.,  Saudi Aramco, Saudi ArabiaAl-Ghanemi, N.,  PetroRabigh, Saudi ArabiaAl-Zahrani, S.,  Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia

Analytical results showed that potash leached from the catalyst, refractory powder, corrosion products and, to a lesser extent, catalyst fines resulted in tube fouling


One of Saudi Aramco's plants encountered a steady process temperature rise at the waste-heat boiler (E4) outlet of the hydrogen-producing unit (HPU) after an upset that occurred in February 2008. The upset initially resulted in unsteady firing in the steam-reformer furnace and lower reformer outlet temperature. The feed rate was cut with the intent of bringing up the reformer outlet temperature. During the upset, the reformer outlet temperature temporarily increased to 850°C and the reformer inlet temperature dropped to 320°C. These temperature upsets did not impose any ill effect on the reformer performance. The steam-drum level, steam-reformer inlet and outlet pressures, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) feed rate and the steam/carbon (S/C) ratio were in an appropriate range during the upset.

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