August 2016

Special Report: Fluid Flow and Rotating Equipment

Extend ethylene plant run length with compressor chemical treatment

An aging ethylene plant historically suffered from plant run length limiting compressor fouling that resulted in a loss of polytropic efficiency and intercooler backpressure buildup.

Hancock, J. M., Rodrigues, S., Nalco Champion

An aging ethylene plant historically suffered from plant run length limiting compressor fouling that resulted in a loss of polytropic efficiency and intercooler backpressure buildup. The target run length of the ethane-fed plant was five years, and the need to reduce throughput as the end of run approached was not uncommon. Due to the past performance of the plant—i.e., the compressor’s vulnerability to fouling—run length limiting compressor fouling was expected. This plant assumption was challenged in 2007, when a revamp expansion project was completed to include a second compressor train (CT-2), which also experienced significant fouling. This led to a series of events that resulted in be

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