Designing a Crude Unit Heat Exchanger Network



Preheat train design for heavy Canadian crudes can be very challenging, requiring an approach not normally required with other crudes.


A well-designed  crude  and vacuum  unit  (CDU/VDU) heat  exchanger  network  is essential  to  meet  product  yield, product quality, unit reliability and crude  processing  flexibility  objectives  when  processing  heavy crudes.  Preheat  trains conceived with  the  wrong  flow  scheme  or those  with  multiple  parallel  paths that  are  complex  to  operate  rarely have  the  flexibility  needed  to handle  a  range  of  crude  blends  or even  the  variability  of  many  heavy Canadian  crudes.  Standard  shell and tube exchangers designed with low velocity are prone to rapid and heavy fouling.

It  is  becoming  ever  more  important  to  temper  crude  train  design that  has  been  developed  from composite  curves,  optimal  energy targets and pinch points with crude unit  experience  and  know-how. Practical  concerns  include operability, reliability,  exchanger  type  and minimal fouling design. Real-world experience  using  flexible  preheat networks,  good  exchanger  design practices  and  proven  exchanger technology  is  proving  to  be  more important  than  theory.  This  article covers  practical  considerations when designing CDU/VDU preheat networks  for  heavy  crude processing...


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Tags: CDU, VDU