Crude oil refinery

Maximizing profitability depends upon the ability to improve energy efficiency, lower costs, reduce emissions, use plot space wisely and optimize production yields as per market demands. Alfa Laval has a complete portfolio of heat exchangers for refinery processes. No matter the nature of the service, we can provide you with well-proven technology to address and overcome your everyday challenges.

female asian engineer infront of refinery

Optimizing processes at crude oil refineries

 Alfa Laval has a broad range of heat exchangers that cover everything – from specially designed Alfa Laval OLMI shell-and-tube exchangers and air coolers that cover high temperatures and pressures to highly efficient compact exchangers, such as Alfa Laval Packinox, Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers.

Refinery reliability and uptime

Using proven heat exchanger technologies that require less maintenance and repair, and – when they do –are easy to service thereby minimizing downtime, is the key to maximizing the refinery reliability and uptime.. Since the 1980s, Alfa Laval has provided the refinery market with our broad range of heat exchangers. Today several thousand Alfa Laval heat exchangers are installed and working at refineries the world over.

Alfa Laval Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers help mitigate fouling tendencies in duties involving crude preheating, cracker slurry, visbroken residue and desalter sludge. In addition, our heat exchangers help eliminate corrosion problems and fatigue/vibration issues that commonly cause the failure of traditional shell-and-tube heat exchangers.

Minimal downtime is required to maintain Alfa Laval high-efficiency heat exchangers because fewer units are required to handle a specific service, and the heat transfer area is easy to access and easy to clean.

For total peace of mind, there’s the Alfa Laval Performance Agreement where our service engineers make sure that your Alfa Laval heat exchangers always provide you with highest performance.

Energy efficiency and CO2 reductions

In many regions, energy costs represent up to 50% of the total operating expenditures. Even in regions with low energy costs, maximizing energy efficiency is high on the agenda to reduce emissions and the refinery environmental footprint.

With highly efficient Alfa Laval heat exchangers, such as our Packinox, Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers, you can maximize energy efficiency with minimal investment and plot space required. Processes that benefit from using our energy-efficient technologies are among others crude distillation, residue upgrading and catalytic reforming. Here, payback on investment in our heat exchangers is generally less than a year.

Increasingly, our heat exchangers are also used for waste heat recovery from low-grade energy sources. And for every MW of energy recovered, a reduction of up to 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year can be realized.

Solutions for high pressures and temperatures

In refinery hydrogen treatment processes such as in hydrocracking units, hydrogen production units or hydrotreaters, very high pressures (above 100 bar) and high temperatures (above 400°C) are often seen.

For those processes, Alfa Laval offers OLMI shell-and-tube heat exchangers with special closures, such as threaded plug types and rod baffles as well as air coolers.

Alfa Laval OLMI is a specialized manufacturer of shell-and-tubes and air coolers made of stainless steel and other special alloys for use in high pressure and high temperature conditions.

Increased production

Whether you plan to creep the capacity of an existing process unit or add a new one to your refinery, plot space limitations will be an issue.

With Alfa Laval’s highly efficient heat exchangers, such as our Packinox, Compabloc and spiral heat exchangers, you can achieve maximum efficiency using minimal plot space. Heat transfer efficiency is typically three to five times higher than traditional shell-and-tube heat exchangers. This means that heat transfer area is also reduced by three to five times. In addition, the inherent compactness of the exchangers further reduces the plot space required. Because up to 10 shell-and-tubes in series can be replaced with a single Alfa Laval heat exchanger, you can realize most of your capacity increase projects using our technology.

CAPEX savings

Capital expenditures cover both the cost of the heat exchanger itself as well as its installation cost, which together represent the total installed cost. Whenever replacing two or more shell-and-tube exchangers with a single highly efficient exchanger, it becomes increasingly beneficial to invest in Alfa Laval compact heat exchangers. And when high-grade material is required, the equation becomes even more interesting because our compact exchangers are very cost-efficient due to the minimal heat transfer area required to handle a given service.

In addition, when factoring in installation costs, Alfa Laval compact heat exchangers provide significant savings compared to traditional heat exchangers. This is especially true when installation requires construction where minimal plot space and flooded weight is required in order to contain costs.

As a rule of thumb, using a factor of 1.5 to 2 times the heat exchanger cost is a reasonable estimate of a project’s total installed costs for compact heat exchangers compared to the factor 3 typically used for traditional heat exchangers.


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