In 2020, a new spiral heat exchanger was installed in the existing heat exchanger network at the Bitumen Production Unit. It is the first vessel of its type in the Refinery.
Tubular heat exchangers accumulate deposits quite quickly which impairs the heat transfer. Due to its special design, the new spiral heat exchanger transfers energy from hot stream to cold stream much more efficiently. The heat exchanger consists of two concentrically rotating plates (spirals), so the streams supplied to the vessel flow through one geometrically invariant channel. The heat exchanger also has a self-cleaning effect – if deposits build up in any part of the heat exchanger, the flow rate in this part immediately increases and this automatically removes the deposits.
In almost a year since the start of operation, we can confidently say that the project has paid off. Heat exchanger efficiency increased by almost 34 percent. In 2019, ~ 60 kW of thermal energy per tonne of Visbreaker Vacuum Flasher (VVF) feed was returned from the hot stream. Now with the new spiral heat exchanger, 20 kW more is returned, i.e., 80 kW thermal energy per 1 ton of VVF feed.
Thanks to the entire project team for the ideas that create added value!
ORLEN Lietuva inf.