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Rerating rotating equipment optimizes olefins plant performance

05.01.2013  |  Renard, D. ,  Elliott Engineered Solutions, Jeannette, Pennsylvania

Rerating your installed compressors and steam turbines can become a cost-effective, time-saving solution for increasing throughput without having to invest in new equipment.

Keywords: [compressor] [ethylene] [olefins] [heat transfer] [steam] [rerating] [maintenance]

The operators of mega ethylene plants are under constant pressure to meet enhanced performance specifications and more stringent environmental regulations, while, at the same time, reducing energy costs and improving feedstock flexibility. As ethylene plants have evolved in response to market demands (Fig. 1), technical advances in rotating equipment have boosted operating ranges and performance parameters for the centrifugal compressors and steam turbines—both are at the heart of ethylene plant operations. When considering the effect of changing market conditions on plant performance, particularly feedstock flexibility, producers must first evaluate changes to gas composition and process parameters in light of the plant’s existing turbomachinery.

  Fig. 1. Growth trend in ethylene plant capacity.

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Premachandran Pillai Damodaran

Thank you for an excellent article on a subject of great interest to end users of compression equipment. I am a senior specialist engineer (rotating equipment) with Qatar Petroleum.

Please comment on:

1) the economic comparison between a new casing with internals and retaining the old casing, the remaining life assessment of casings

2) the risk associated with relying on improved sealing technology for efficiencey improvement as the seals may degrade quickly while in service depending on the rotodynamic performance and cleanliness of medium

3) what kind of design margins could be specified in new equipment without a big cost impact to allow economical rerates eventually in say 20 - 30 years

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