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Process Antifoulants for Energy Conservation in the '80's
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Specialty chemical treatments and related services have been used for may years to enhance the efficiency of industrial processes. In particular, this paper relates to the use of proprietary antifoulants and associated technology to inhibit the formation of deposits on heat transfer equipment in industrial process streams. It also covers sophisticated monitoring techniques which are used to determine energy savings realized by an antifoulant program. Historically, antifoulant purchases were based upon faith and possible desperation where severe fouling resulted in production losses. Success was measured by the run length of heat transfer equipment between cleanings or by a subjective inspection report following and exchanger opening, i.e., 'looks better than it did two years ago.' As a result, antifoulant programs were tried and abandoned with little or no proof of success or failure. In the 1980's, however, two major changes have occurred which make process antifoulants a more attractive investment alternative. First, the justification for an antifoulant investment is more readily apparent than in past years. Now, in addition to production losses, energy conservation has become a primary motive for investing in fouling inhibition. During the 1980's, the Hydrocarbon Processing Industry (PPI) felt a 20-fold increase in fuel replacement costs, while process antifoulants increased in price by less than 1/4 of that rate. As a result, antifoulant programs which provided energy savings as a feature in the past are now implemented with energy savings as a primary benefit. Secondly, it is now possible to take the subjectivity out of process antifoulant performance. Heat transfer technology, instrumentation, and economic incentives have made it possible to quantitatively document the success or failure of an antifoulant program. In recent years, considerable emphasis has been placed upon the rating of heat transfer equipment to determine the cost of fouling caused by energy loss. Because of these efforts, a plant can now realize a return on investment in terms of dollars of fuel saved by a sophisticated antifoulant application.
Wilson, R. M.; Martin, J. F.; Freeman, R. F. (1982). Process Antifoulants for Energy Conservation in the '80's. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from