The Benefits of Reducing Catalyst Cooling Time During a Turnaround

Q&A with Barney Smith, Turnaround Manager at Aggreko

By Jeremiah Wooten, Managing Partner at Inspectioneering. March 30, 2016

Inspectioneering recently had the opportunity to chat with Barney Smith, Turnaround Manager at Aggreko, a global leader in power, heating, cooling, and oil-free compressor rental solutions. Mr. Smith has more than 20 years of experience working in the petrochemical and refining industry and is currently responsible for leading Aggreko’s Turnaround Services Group, which provides plants with innovative temporary utility solutions designed to increase safety and reduce schedules and cost. Our discussion focused on catalyst cooling during hydrocarbon processing and how owner-operators can potentially improve their process.  We hope you find the exchange both interesting and informative.

Aggreko recently introduced a patented catalyst cooling process to the refining and petrochemical industries. Can you briefly describe this new cooling process and how it was developed?

BS:  This new, patented process was developed based on several discussions with clients concerning the challenges they faced using the traditional catalyst cooling solution, liquid nitrogen.  Aggreko’s application is primarily used for hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and reforming process units.  However, it may be applicable for other process units that have a similar configuration. 

It starts with a process gas, usually hydrogen, being recirculated in the unit during the normal manner as a means of cooling the catalyst and associated reactor…with one major exception.  Before entering the reactor, the gas is routed to an Aggreko heat exchanger that uses mechanical refrigeration to cool the hydrogen gas.   Routing the gas this way is quite straightforward, and doesn’t use major process configuration changes since it uses some simple process changes around the catalyst bed temperature controllers.  In many ways, revised routing was the key that allowed this application to be used easily, quickly, and with most process units of this type.  

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