September 2010

Special Report: Refining Developments

Improve vacuum tower revamp projects

A ‘balanced approach’ investigates separation of vapor and liquids in the flash zone/wash section design

Costanzo, S., Pilling, M., Wong, S. M., Sulzer Chemtech USA

Revamping an existing vacuum column to operate at a higher feedrate, higher flash zone temperature, lower pressure and different feedstock characterization is a complex task. It requires reviewing the column design with respect to the revamp conditions and identifying suitable solutions to reliably operate at the new conditions. Unless all of the design and operating aspects work together in unison, the net result will be, at best, less than optimum, and at worst, a very costly problem. To get a complete view of the flash zone operation, we must also take into account all the peripheral regions, including the heater, transfer line, inlet nozzle, inlet feed device, stripping section, and the

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