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Troubleshooting Furnace Operations Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

[+] Author Affiliations
Vibhor Mehrotra, Philip Diwakar, Rimon Vallavanatt

Bechtel Corporation, Houston, TX

Paper No. PVP2004-3127, pp. 123-129; 7 pages
  • ASME/JSME 2004 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Computational Technologies for Fluid/Thermal/Structural/Chemical Systems With Industrial Applications, Volume 2
  • San Diego, California, USA, July 25–29, 2004
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4686-5
  • Copyright © 2004 by ASME


Industrial application of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) requires the solution of complex fluid-flow problems in conjunction with equipment design, process and product development and optimization. For the successful solution of these problems, a high degree of coordination between industrial CFD engineers, software developers, consultants and academic scientists is necessary. In a refinery, CFD may be applied to a variety of problems. In particular, combustion, flames, flares and chemical reaction are of interest because of the physics and the complex nature of the process. Two applications are presented in this paper to demonstrate the use of CFD modeling for improving furnace operations. The first concerns improvements in reboiler operation by changing burner arrangement. A three-burner arrangement has resulted in tube burnout in the past. CFD modeling suggested a four-burner arrangement is better. The recommendation was accepted and implemented by the refinery in 2002. Feedback from the refinery suggests a much cooler furnace operation is observed in the field. The second application concerns predicting Coker furnace operation of as yet uninstalled heater. The Coker radiant section is modeled with 4 burners. Predicting the impact of burner-burner interaction on the radiant heat flux helps in determining the time period for decoke. Several mitigation steps are suggested to increase the run length between decoking intervals. Further recommendation to create a balanced heat flux profile is provided.

Copyright © 2004 by ASME



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