Compabloc increases capacity and heat recovery in US refinery

An oil refinery in the USA increased capacity and heat recovery in an absorber-stripper system by exchanging a set of shell-and-tube heat exchangers for two Alfa Laval Compabloc compact heat exchangers. In addition, the Compablocs’ high resistance to fouling and easy cleaning has resulted in longer uptime and substantially lower maintenance costs.

DATE 2023-11-28

Moving away from shell-and-tube heat exchangers

The plant’s engineering team contacted Alfa Laval to discuss a possible solution to the problem. After analysing the operating conditions and the type of fouling involved, Alfa Laval’s engineers concluded that Compabloc would be a perfect choice. The high turbulence in a Compabloc combats fouling effectively. It also gives the heat exchanger exceptional thermal efficiency and made it possible to increase preheating of the stripper feed and expand plant capacity.

Satisfied customer

The customer was very satisfied with the solution, and one year later a third Compabloc was installed to increase heat recovery and capacity even further. Thanks to good experiences from this project, the  refinery has introduced Alfa Laval technology in several other parts of the plant.

Alfa Laval and Selexol

The Selexol gas-cleaning process is used for removing acid gases from gas streams in oil & gas facilities, power plants, refineries and petrochemical plants. There are good opportunities for heat recovery in a Selexol process, and Alfa Laval’s application experts support customers around the world with solutions that increase capacity and cut operating costs.

Alfa Laval Compabloc heat exchangerThe compact, fully welded Compabloc heat exchanger is designed to operate with a wide range of aggressive media and at high temperatures and pressures. 

More about Compabloc 

Fast facts

The plant

  • A refinery in the USA

The challenge

  • To recover heat in a Selexol unit used for cleaning gasified petcoke. The gas contains carryover solids and particles that cause fouling problems if the wrong type of heat exchanger is used.

The solution

  • To install two Alfa Laval Compabloc heat exchangers

The benefits

  • Expanded capacity
  • The heat exchangers are back to 100% performance after mechanical cleaning.