March 2002

Special Report: Petrochemical Developments

Mitigate coke formation

A new anticoke technology sustains a noncatalytic layer on cracking tubes that reduces coking

Barendregt, S., Technip; Brun C., Humblot, F., ATOFINA; Woerde, H. M., Technip Benelux

For ethylene cracking furnaces, coking deposits severely reduce yields and shorten the run length. Coking is a side reaction from thermal cracking; its formation ultimately increases energy consumption since tube fouling decreases unit heat transfer. Other side reactions such as carbon monoxide (CO) formation must also be controlled to maintain process efficiency for downstream sections. Coke is formed through a complex mechanism that involves mainly catalytic surface reactions and radical reactions. This has a negative impact on product yield, energy consumption and run length. Ethylene producers are always seeking methods to retard coke formation and extend times between de

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