Sie sind auf Seite 1von 75

Best Practice

SABP-A-008
21 July 2013
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment
Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division

Load Management for Energy Efficiency:


Heat Transfer Equipment

Developed by: Energy Systems Division


Process & Control Systems Department

Previous issue: 12 March 2011


Next Planned Update: TBD
Primary contacts: Ali Al-Qahtani, (ali.qahtani.57@aramco.com ), Phone: +966-3-8801600 and
Mohammed Al-Ibrahim: (mohammad.ibrahim.15@aramco.com) Phone: +966-3-8808096
CopyrightSaudi Aramco 2013. All rights reserved.

Page 1 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Table of Contents
Page
5
5
5
5
5

1.0

Introduction
1.1
Purpose
1.2
Scope
1.3
Intended Users
1.4
References and Related Documents

2.0

General
2.1
Definitions
2.2
Principles and Concepts
2.3
Degrees of Freedom
2.4
Process Variability
2.5
HX Design and Simulation
2.6
Fouling Monitoring & Mitigation

6
6
6
6
7
7
8

3.0

Process Heating Trains


3.1
Single Process Stream Heated in Series
3.2
Single Process Stream Heated in Network of Parallel HX Trains
3.3
Avoid Un-Necessary Heating

20
20
22
24

4.0

Process Cooling Trains


4.1
Single Process Stream Cooled in Series
4.2
Single Process Stream Cooled in Network of Parallel HX Trains
4.3
Multiple process Streams Cooled with a Single Cooling Utility
4.4
Avoid Un-Necessary Cooling
4.5
Load Shedding versus Process Modifications

26
26
27
30
31
32

5.0

Heat Exchanger Networks


5.1
Simple HENs
5.2
Complex HENs
5.3
HEN Operability Considerations and Constraints

34
34
38
43

6.0

Boiler Networks
6.1
Boiler Sparing Philosophy for Optimum Reliability
6.2
Load Allocation among Multiple Parallel Boilers
6.3
Load Management of Boiler Auxiliaries
6.4
Steam Balance Optimization

47
47
50
54
59

7.0

Furnace Networks
7.1
Heater Sparing Philosophy
7.2
Load Allocation among Multiple Parallel Heaters
7.3
Load Allocation in Hot Oil Loops
7.4
Load Management of Furnace Auxiliaries
7.5
WHB Opportunities

64
65
66
66
70
74

Page 2 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

List of Exhibits
Number
2-1
2-2
2-3
2-4
2-5
2-6
2-7
2-8
2-9
2-10
2-11
2-12
2-13

Title
Feed Rate Profile for Fractionation Plant
Steam Demand Profile for Fractionation Plant
Savings Potential from Improved Process Stability
Correlation between Feed to Plant and Feed to Fractionation
Example of Control Strategy Change to Improve Process Stability
Counter-current Temperature Profile
Stage-wise Construction Procedure for NTU
Experimental Measurement Fouling Rate (Field Data)
Predicted Fouling Rates for a Particular HX
Typical Composition of Fouling Deposits in Crude Oil Refineries
Fouling Threshold Plot
Hydro-blasting versus Foam Cleaning of Fin-Fan Coolers
Results of Foam Cleaning Before and After

Page
9
9
10
10
11
12
15
16
17
17
18
18
19

3-1
3-2
3-3
3-4
3-5
3-6
3-7

Alternative Sequences for Process Heating in Series


Energy Cost of Alternative Process Heating Sequences
Control Strategy for Optimal Load Distribution in a Preheat Train
Energy Cost of Alternative Process Heating Sequences
Process Heating in Parallel HX Trains
Comparison of Operating Policies for Process Heating in Parallel
Bypass Line Avoids Un-Necessary Heating & Cooling

20
20
21
22
23
23
24

4-1
4-2
4-3
4-4
4-5
4-6
4-7
4-8
4-9

Alternative Sequences for Process Cooling in Series


Energy Cost of Alternative Process Cooling Sequences
Process Cooling in Parallel HX Trains
Comparison of Operating Policies for Process Cooling in Parallel
Historical (12 month) Flow Profile of Stream Being Cooled
Estimated Savings from Optimum Cooler Management
Cooling Water Circuit with Series-Parallel HEN
Power Conservation by Minimizing Compressor Discharge Pressure
Shedding Fan Load vs Minimizing Compression Ratio

26
26
28
29
30
30
31
32
33

5-1
5-2a
5-2b
5-3
5-4
5-5
5-6a
5-6b

Example of Simple HEN


Simulation Results for Simple HEN Flow Deviation Only
Simulation Results for Simple HEN Both Flow + Temp Deviations
Recommended Control Strategy for Trim Cooler
Simplified Flowsheet of NHT Plant
Simulation Model of HEN for NHT Process (Design Case)
Simulation Model for Shell & Tube Heat Exchanger
Overall Temperature Profile for Simulated HX Operation

34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41

Page 3 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Number
5-7
5-8
5-9
5-10
5-11

Title
Sample Driving Force Plot from Integrity
Sample Exchanger Response Plot from Integrity
Network Performance with Over-sized HX
Simulation Results for HEN of Exhibit 5-9
Propagation of Disturbances along Downstream Paths

Page
42
42
44
44
45

6-1
6-2
6-3
6-4
6-5
6-6
6-7
6-8
6-9
6-10
6-11
6-12
6-13
6-14
6-15
6-16
6-17
6-18

Typical Design of Field-erected Water-tube Boiler for Clean Fuels


Comparison of Boiler Sparing Policies
Boiler Fuel Use and Efficiency versus Steam Rate
Effect of Turndown on Boiler Fuel Consumption
Load Allocation Algorithm based on Least Cost
Effect of Turndown on Boiler Fuel Consumption
Excess Air versus Boiler Load, Typical Curve
HHV and Stoichiometric Air Requirement for Common Fuels
Fuel and Air Distribution Control for Multi-Burner Boilers
Flame Similarity with Good Burner Control
FD Fan Load Management: (a) 3 running; (b) 2 running
Typical Fan Performance Curves
Estimation of Savings from FD Fan Load Management
BFW Pumps Load Management: (a) 3 running; (b) 2 running
Refinery Steam Balance with GTs running at Full Capacity
Refinery Steam Balance with GTs Off, Boilers Equally Loaded
Refinery Steam Balance with GTs Off, Boilers Optimally Loaded
Comparison of CHP Scenarios

48
49
50
52
52
53
55
55
56
56
57
58
58
59
60
61
62
59

7-1
7-2
7-3
7-4
7-5
7-6
7-7
7-8
7-9
7-10
7-11
7-12
7-13
7-14
7-15
7-16
7-17

Principal Fired Heater Applications in Oil Refining


Schematic of a Typical Process Heater
Common Mechanical Configurations of Fired Heaters
Optimum Flow Distribution for Hot Oil Loops
Existing Process and Heater Configuration
Process Heating Duty Histogram
Proposed Heater Configuration for Optimum Load Management
Furnace Data
Savings Potential from Furnace Load Sharing Policy
Savings Potential from Load Sharing plus Shifting
Average Burner Number and Size in Fired Heaters
Optimum Excess Air Ranges for Common Fuels
Adiabatic Flame Temperatures with 15% Excess Ambient Air
Adiabatic Flame Temperature vs Air Preheat (for Stoichiometric Air)
Furnace Capacity Control System Based on Combustion Air Preheat
Improved Furnace Efficiency with Combustion Air Preheat
Improved Furnace Efficiency by Addition of a WHB

64
64
65
66
67
68
69
69
70
70
71
71
71
72
72
73
74

Page 4 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

1.0

Introduction

1.1

Purpose

Large industrial plants commonly use multiple parallel equipment trains for improved reliability.
Very often, installed equipment capacity far exceeds normal production requirements. This
excess capacity can often be translated into energy cost savings. Also, the heating and
cooling objectives for the process can be met in a variety of alternative ways, using different
types and amounts of utilities. There is a certain utilities mix that results in the lowest overall
operating costs. The purpose of this new Best Practice is to describe ways in which energy
cost can be minimized through optimum allocation of load among existing heat transfer
equipment.

1.2

Scope

Many types of equipment commonly used in Saudi Aramco plants are significant energy
consumers and amenable to operational optimization through Load Management, including:

Steam heaters
Fired Heaters (furnaces)
Process Coolers air, water, refrigerant
Complex Heat Exchanger Networks
Boilers fired and unfired
Pumps and compressors
Steam and Gas Turbines

This Best Practice manual provides guidelines on methods to determine the optimum load
management policies for heat transfer equipment only. Other types of energy consuming and
converting equipment are covered in complementary Best Practice manuals.
It is also important to note and understand what this manual is not:

It is not a text book on heat transfer theory.


It is not a Design Procedure for heat exchangers or for optimum design/retrofit of Heat
Exchanger Networks (HENs).
It is not a Design Procedure for boilers or fired heaters.
It is not a procedure for calculating boiler or furnace efficiency.
It is not a course.
It is not a Saudi Aramco equipment design standard.

Although some of the topics covered in this manual may overlap with those found in the
foregoing texts, they have been included only to provide background, and to make the reader
aware that these subjects have a bearing on the determination of operational optimization via
Load Management. For detailed information on these subjects, the reader should consult the
reference books and related documents cited in section 1-4.

Page 5 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

1.3

Intended Users

This Best Practice manual is intended for use by the engineers working in Saudi Aramco
plants, who are responsible for energy efficient operation of their facility. It provides guidelines
for developing optimum load management policies, and estimating the cost savings therefrom.
It is not intended to serve as a comprehensive treatise or design manual for heat exchangers,
heat exchanger networks, boilers, or fired heaters.

1.4

Related Documents and References

SABP-A-002: Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Pumps and Compressors, Saudi
Aramco Engineering Standard (2005)
SABP-A-005: Quick Energy Assessment Methodology for Energy Efficiency Optimization,
Saudi Aramco Engineering Standard (2006)
SABP-A-007: Steam Trap Management for Energy Efficiency, Saudi Aramco Engineering
Standard (2006)
Handbook of Heat Transfer, 3rd ed, W. M. Rohsenow, J. P. Hartnett, and Y. I. Cho, McGrawHill Inc, New York (1998), Ch 18.
Fundamentals of Heat Exchanger Design, R. P. Shah and D. P. Sekulic, John Wiley & Sons
Inc, Hoboken, NJ (2003), Chs 3 and 11.
Heat Transfer, 8th ed., J. P. Holman, McGraw-Hill Inc, New York (1997), Ch 10.
Heat Exchanger Network Synthesis, U. V. Shenoy, Gulf Publishing Co, Houston, TX (1995)
Thermal Design of Heat Exchangers, E. M. Smith, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, UK
(1997), Ch 2.
Steam Plant Operation, 7th ed, E. B. Woodruff, H. B. Lammers, and T. F. Lammers, McGrawHill Inc, New York (1998).
The Control of Boilers, S. G. Dukelow, ISA Press, Research Triangle Park, NC (1986).
The John Zink Combustion Handbook, .C. E. Baukal, ed., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (2001),
Chs 2, 16.
Combustion System Design, Y. Khavkin, PennWell Books, Tulsa, OK (1996).
No conflict is expected between the optimum load management policy and other Saudi
Aramco standards with respect to reliability, safety, etc. If any such conflict should arise, the
standard shall take precedence.

Page 6 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

2.0

General

2.1

Definitions

Best Practice: A process or method that, when correctly executed, leads to enhanced system
performance.
Load Management: An operating policy that distributes the load among multiple machines or
equipment installed as series-parallel networks in a way that minimizes their energy (fuel +
power) consumption, without compromising safety or reliability.

2.2

Principles and Concepts

When a process plant is designed, it is common practice for the engineering contractor to build
some fat into the equipment sizes and piping, as a contingency factor to compensate for
uncertainties in future operating conditions. Consequently, equipment is invariably over-sized
for the task at hand. When equipment is being operated at rates below the installed capacity,
it is often possible to extract some operating cost savings in the form of reduced energy
consumption from the capital that has already been invested in surplus equipment capacity,
but is not being utilized for additional production. On the other hand, over-sizing can also
cause reduced overall system efficiency, because excessive heat transfer in a non-pinch HX
could potentially reduce driving forces in a more critical pinch HX. The objective is to operate
the equipment at the lowest total cost while still meeting the production objective.
Several general principles and strategies apply in all cases:

Minimize number of equipment items being operated in parallel (load sharing).


Use heat recovery in preferences to utilities, and use the lower cost utilities in
preference to higher cost utilities (load shifting).
Allocate heat transfer duties to the different heat exchangers in a series/parallel
network in such a way that minimizes the total cost of the various utilities required.
Operate equipment at conditions that will maximize the system efficiency, even if it
means that individual items may have to operate away from their maximum efficiency
points.
Assign maximum duty to the most efficient equipment (in a parallel set), and use the
least efficient equipment as the swing machine.
For parallel equipment with efficiency profiles of different shapes, assign incremental
load according to incremental efficiency gradient (slope of curve).

The analytical procedures outlined in this manual will help establish the quantitative
relationship between operating flexibility and energy costs, thereby enabling plant engineers
and foremen to jointly make intelligent decisions about the optimum operating policy.

2.3

Degrees of Freedom

Optimization implies that one has multiple choices to accomplish the desired objective, and the
only problem remaining is to choose the best option. The range of options available is limited
by constraints which can be either hard or soft. A hard constraint is one which we cannot

Page 7 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

or are unprepared to violate at any cost e.g. the laws of physics, market realities, or the
directives of senior management. A soft constraint is one that we have imposed on ourselves,
and which could be relaxed at our discretion upon penalty of incurring some additional costs
elsewhere. An example of a soft constraint is the requirement for redundancy in installed
equipment in order to increase the level of operator comfort. It follows that the range of
available options can be increased by relaxing soft constraints, and by finding some other way
to alleviate the problem that the constraint was intended to prevent/mitigate.
One way of highlighting the nature of a constraint is to set bounds for the acceptable
temperature range. Process plants seldom operate under fixed condition . For instance, as
discussed below, throughput can vary significantly, which gives rise to variations in process
temperatures. We can identify the hardness of a constraint by specifying both a normal (eg.
design point) value and maximum and minimum acceptable values. In this way we can define
the flexibility inherent within the plant, and exploit it to reduce operating costs.
The key to increased flexibility is introducing new Degrees of Freedom, which are parameters
or design features over which one has some control. For example, a process heater that
operates under varying load can be piped up to use two alternative sources of steam LP and
HP, so that the cheapest one can be used depending on operating conditions requirements.
Basically, one must keep an open mind. Think out-of-the-box. Do not accept the existing
plant configuration as inviolate; try to think of the ideal solution, and then systematically add
features to the existing design that will help to reach that ideal solution. Learn to recognize the
difference between hard and soft constraints.

2.4

Process Variability

Process variability is a major cause of operating equipment at sub-optimal conditions. The


smother the process flow rate, the greater the potential for stable and efficient operation.
Consider the feed rate profile of experienced by one of our condensate fractionation plants.
As seen from Exhibit 2-1, it is highly variable, with a max/min flow ratio of roughly 630/350 =
1.8 and a peak/avg ratio of about 630/450 = 1.4. The plant is clearly capable of being
operated at a throughput of 630 MBD while still maintaining temperatures within acceptable
bounds. This suggests that if the throughput were controlled closely within narrow bounds, the
investment that has already been made would permit a 40% increase in production. That is
the inherent power of reducing process variability.
Now consider the impact of the variable fractionation feed rate on plant energy costs. The
steam production rate will typically follow the feed flow rate. The ratio of peak/average flow is
seen to be approx 2200/1530 = 1.44, consistent with the feed flow profile.
The benefits of reduced process variability apply to utility systems as well. Consider the case
of a plant whose operating policy is to run N+1 boilers, where N is the minimum number of
boilers required to satisfy peak process demand. Suppose that the boilers are equal sized,
with a maximum sustained capacity of 530 Klb/h each. The estimated potential savings from
reducing process variability to 1.0 is shown in Exhibit 2-3. Note that these are free savings,
requiring minimal capital investment in process revamp.

Page 8 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 2-1: Feed Rate Profile for Fractionation Plant


700
C2+ Feed
600

C3+ Feed
Combined Feeds

Flow, MBD

500

400

300

200

100

0
5/1/01

6/8/01

7/16/01

8/23/01

9/30/01

11/7/01 12/15/01 1/22/02

3/1/02

4/8/02

Exhibit 2-2: Steam Demand Profile for Fractionation Plant


Boiler Steam Gen
2500

Total HP Stm Gen, Klb/h

2000

1500

1000

500

0
4/1/2001

5/21/2001 7/10/2001 8/29/2001 10/18/2001 12/7/2001 1/26/2002 3/17/2002

Page 9 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 2-3: Savings Potential from Improved Process Stability

How can we reduce process variability? Generally by revamping the control strategy and
introducing additional surge capacity at critical pinch points in the process scheme. In the
example cited, it is clear that the data clearly show that swings in steam demand follow (and
therefore are most likely a consequence of) variations in feed flow rate. By increasing the
amount of feed surge capacity through addition of a couple of storage tanks, the feed to
fractionation was able to be changed from level control (as obvious from Exhibit 2-4) to flow
control, per Exhibit 2-5, thus eliminating the hourly swings.

Exhibit 2-4: Correlation between Feed to Plant and Feed to Fractionation


Feed to Fractionation
12000

Total Flow, BPH

10000

8000

6000

4000
C3+ from BGP
C3+ feed to Mods

2000

0
4/1

4/25 5/19 6/12

7/6

7/30 8/23 9/16 10/10 11/3 11/27 12/21 1/14

2/7

3/3

3/27

Page 10 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 2-5: Example of Control Strategy Change to Improve Process Stability

2.5

Heat Exchanger Design and Simulation

There are many types of heat exchanger (HX) designs, with the most common design being
the Shell-and-Tube type. All indirect contact heat transfer equipment designs, however, are
governed by a common set of design considerations.
The most fundamental relationship in heat transfer is the heat balance, which derives from the
first law of thermodynamics, and can be expressed as follows:
q = Mass flow rate of cold stream x specific heat cold stream x (t2 t1)
= Mass flow rate of hot stream x specific heat of hot stream x (T 1-T2)
The heat transferred by a HX is given by the equation:
q = U x A x CMTD
where

and

q = heat transfer duty, MMBtu/h


U = overall heat transfer coefficient, Btu/ft2-h-F
A = heat transfer area, ft2
CMTD = corrected mean temperature difference

The overall heat transfer coefficient is related to the film heat transfer coefficients for the hot
and cold fluids by the equation:
1/U = 1/h1 + 1/h2
where h1 and h2 are the film heat transfer coefficients, inclusive of fouling allowances, for the
hot and cold fluids respectively, and which are a function of the fluid flow regime (proportional
to Reynolds number raised to the power 0.8), exchanger geometry (equivalent diameter of

Page 11 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

cross-sectional flow area), and fluid properties (specific heat, thermal conductivity, density,
viscosity).
The CMTD is a complex function of the exchanger geometry and fluid flow profiles, and is
generally expressed as
CMTD = Ft x LMTD
where
and

LMTD = log mean temperature difference for true countercurrent flow,


Ft = correction factor for non-countercurrent temperature profile

Consider Exhibit 2-6, which shows the schematic representation of a HX with a true countercurrent temperature profile. The Logarithmic Mean Temperature Difference, or LMTD, is
defined as
(T t ) (T2 t1 )
LMTD = 1 2
T t
ln 1 2
T2 t1
The correction factor Ft adjusts the LMTD for cases where the temperature profiles of the hot
and cold stream are not true counter-current. Detailed procedures for calculating Ft are
beyond the scope of this Best Practice manual. The reader is instead referred to basic college
text books on heat transfer theory and heat exchanger design, such as Holmans Heat
Transfer, 8th ed, McGraw-Hill Book Co, New York (1997), or Kerns Process Heat Transfer,
McGraw-Hill Book Co, New York (1950)
Exhibit 2-6: Counter-current Temperature Profile

For economic reasons, the HX is normally designed is such a way that the value of F t is
between 0.75 and 1.0 (Saudi Aramco standard is 0.8). For multi-pass shell & tube HX with t2 <
T2 (ie. no temperature cross), the approximations of Gulyani & Mohanty [Chem Eng,
(Nov 1996) p127] can be used with an error of less than 1%:
T t
Ft = A + B 2 2
T1 t1

Page 12 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

HX Effectiveness Relationships

th

Source: J. P. Holman, Heat Transfer, 8 ed, p 581. Note that C = Cmin/Cmax, and N = NTU. For a more
comprehensive list, see Table 17.6, Handbook of Heat Transfer, Rohsenow et al, op. cit.

Except when C (more commonly denoted as R) = 0, the hot and cold outlet temperatures can
be calculated from the known hot and cold stream inlet temperatures T 1 and t1 as:

T2 = T1 (T1 t1), and t2 = t1 + R(T1 t1)

Page 13 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

HX Configuration
1-2+
2-4+
4-8+

A
0.8037
0.961
0.991

B
1.208
0.237
0.0661

Using the Ft method, the number of minimum shells in series can only be determined by trial
and error. Shenoy [Ref. Heat Exchanger Network Synthesis, Gulf Publishing Co, Houston
(1995), pp 260-264] has described a more direct method using two parameters P and R:

=P=

T1 T2

T1 t1

and R =

M .Cp H
M .Cp C

The minimum number of shells required (in multiple tube-pass configuration) in order to have
Ft 0.75 is obtained by
1 R.PC
1 R.P
ln
(NS)min = ln
, for R 1

1 P
1 PC

(NS)min = 0.9P/(1-P),
where

PC =

for R = 1

2. 1 0.1 exp[0.5(log R) 2 ]
1 R R 1
2

(NS)min usually turns out to be a fractional number, and must be rounded up to the next
integer. The design is considered acceptable when P PC.
The Ft method can be used only when the inlet and outlet temperatures are specified, or
otherwise known. For heat load management, that is not generally the case. Normally, we
know only two of the four terminal temperatures, with the other two having to be determined by
simulation. Because the equations involved are non-linear, the solution requires trial and
error. For simulating the performance of existing heat exchangers of known geometry under
different operating conditions, the effectiveness-NTU method is much more convenient.
The effectiveness is defined as:
=

T of fluid with lower heat capacity


actual heat transfer
=
maximum possible heat transfer
Max tempdifference in HX

= (t2-t1)/(T1-t1), if cold fluid heat capacity < hot fluid


= (T1-T2)/(T1-t1), if hot fluid heat capacity < cold fluid
=

1 exp NTU .(1 C min / C max )


for true counter-current flow
1 C min / C max exp NTU .(1 C min / C max )

Page 14 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

where
and

NTU = Number of Transfer Units = UA/Cmin


Cmin = heat capacity of smaller stream, Btu/h-F
Cmax = heat capacity of larger stream, Btu/h-F

A quick approximate estimate for the number of shells-in-series required for a given duty can
obtained by stepping down the hot and cold duty lines (see Exhibit 2-7). This is equivalent to
applying a temperature meet condition to each shell. Since the number of shells must be an
integer, fractional solutions are rounded up.
Exhibit 2-7: Stage-wise Construction Procedure for NTU

These are the critical relationships that will be required to perform HEN simulations, from
which we can derive the optimum HX load management policies.

2.6

Fouling Monitoring & Mitigation

One of the problems that plague most heat exchangers is fouling, which degrades the ability of
the equipment to transfer the desired amount of heat. Fouling can be due to a number of
factors. Polley et al [Evaluation of Crude Oil Fouling Data for Application to Refinery Preheat
Trains, Applied Thermal Engineering, vol 22 (2002), pp 777-788] showed that for oil refining
processes, the fouling mechanism consists of a competition between scale deposition (thermal
effect) and removal (shear effect), which can be adequately modeled by the equation
E
Re 0.8 Pr 0.33 exp
dt
RTw

dR f

k Re 0.8 ,

Page 15 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

where TW = tube wall temperature, which can be estimated as = (hoTo + hiti) / (ho + hi)
To = bulk temperature of hot fluid (shell side), and
ti = bulk temperature of cold fluid (tube side).
Fouling rates are determined through HX performance monitoring under actual field conditions,
as illustrated in Exhibit 2-8. The activation energy E is a key variable which must be empirically
adjusted to fit the data, and usually falls in the range 16.8 - 18.9 Btu/lbmole (39-44 kJ/kg-mole)
for most crude oil streams. The removal constant k has a value of 3 x 10-8.
Exhibit 2-8: Experimental Measurement Fouling Rate (Field Data)
0.011
0.01

Overall Fouling Factor

0.009
0.008
0.007
0.006
0.005
0.004
0.003
0.002
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

4500

5000

Time since last cleaning (hours)

Source: G. T. Polley (gtpolley@aol.com), personal communication (2006)

Activation Energy (E) and Removal Constant (k) are best obtained through the analysis of the
performance of an existing plant. Exhibit 2-9 shows a screen shot from ESDUs EXPRESS
computer program. The plot is derived for chosen E and k. The upper line (red) shows fouling
rate predicted for the hottest point in the exchanger, the lower line (blue) shows the rate
predicted for the crude inlet, the middle line (magenta) gives a prediction of the overall fouling
rate (derived from an integral equation), the short (grey) line is the rate measured on the plant.
It is possible to get the integral rate and the measured rate to coincide through judicious
selection of E and k. The best values for E and k are obtained by analyzing the performance
of a range of exchangers each operating at different velocity and bulk temperatures.
At high temperatures, the deposition rate increases. At high velocities, the scale removal rate
increases. It is therefore possible to construct a chart, as in Exhibit 2-11, that shows the flow
regimes and temperatures in which deposition rates exceed removal rates, and vice versa.
Such fouling threshold plots should be developed for each exchanger (shell-side as well as
tube-side), and the HX must be operated in the appropriate temp-flow regime to minimize
fouling. The fouling threshold identifies the flow and temperature conditions at which it
becomes impossible to eliminate fouling through exchanger design. Above this point either a
cleaning schedule should be introduced or fouling controlled through the use of tube inserts.

Page 16 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 2-9: Predicted Fouling Rates for a Particular HX

Source: G. T. Polley, Saudi Aramco Course Notes , lecture 7 (July 2006)

Exhibit 2-10: Typical Composition of Fouling Deposits in Crude Oil Refineries

Source: H. Lemke, Fouling in Refinery Equipment an Overview, AIChE Spring Mtg (March 1999)

The fouling problem is equally important for fin-fan to air coolers, which are the predominant
type of utility coolers in Saudi Arabia. Fortunately, they are relatively easy to clean.

Page 17 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 2-11: Fouling Threshold Plot


340

320

Temperature (C)

300

280

260

240
Epstein Model
Polley Model

220

No Fouling
Positive Fouling
Negative Fouling

200
0

0.5

1.5

2.5

3.5

Velocity (m/s)

Source: B. L. Yeap et al, Chem Eng Res Des, vol 82A (2004), pp 53-71

The conventional cleaning method is to use hydro-blasting. However, this tends to damage
the fins, causing a permanently high flow resistance on the air aide, and corresponding loss of
capacity. A newer and preferred method is foam cleaning. This has been successfully used in
some Saudi Aramco refineries, and is recommended as a best practice. Since cleaning costs
are low, the optimum cleaning cycle is much shorter than for shell & tube HX cleaning.
Exhibit 2-12: Hydro-blasting versus Foam Cleaning of Fin-Fan Coolers
Gentle Foam Drainage through
Fins

Low Pressure Foam Aerates


and Protects Fins
Source: www.northernindustrialcleaners.com (2006)

Page 18 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 2-13: Results of Foam Cleaning Before and After


(a) Before Cleaning

(b) After Foam Cleaning

Source: www.northernindustrialcleaners.com (2006)

Page 19 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

3.0

Process Heating Trains

When a process stream has to be heated from its supply temperature to its target temperature,
this can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example, all of the heat could be supplied
through utilities, or some could be supplied via heat recovery from other process streams, and
the balance through utilities. There is also the option of allocating load between utilities.

3.1

Single Process Stream Heated in Series

Three examples of alternative heating sequences are illustrated in Exhibit 3-1, each of which
has a different energy cost as shown in Exhibit 3-2.
Exhibit 3-1: Alternative Sequences for Process Heating in Series

Exhibit 3-2: Energy Cost of Alternative Process Heating Sequences

Page 20 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

In case 1, all heat is supplied using high-pressure (HP) steam, at a cost of $58.3 per hour. In
case 2, the heating load is split between low-pressure (LP) and HP steam, for a total cost of
$52 per hour. This reduction in operating cost was possible because we shifted some of the
heating duty from a more expensive (HP steam) utility to a less expensive utility (LP steam).
Now let us consider case 3a. Here, some of the heating duty is provided by recovery of waste
heat from another process stream, one which requires cooling. The cost drops further, and
rather dramatically, from $52 per hour to $37.5 per hour. If we do more heat recovery, as in
case 3b, the cost drops to $36 per hour. Obviously, our goal is to minimize the total utility
cost, which corresponds to case 3b. However, unless the design of the existing train conforms
to the configuration shown in case 3, we will not have the flexibility to trade-off LP steam
versus HP steam, and LP steam versus process heat recovery.
These three cases illustrate the essential principle of load management. viz., when we have
the option to use multiple utilities, we should maximize the duty of the cheapest utility, and
minimize the duty of the most expensive utility. Thus, in Cases 2 and 3, the control system
should be designed to maximize the process stream temperature out of the LP steam heater,
as illustrated in Exhibit 3-3, rather than setting LP steam on direct flow control.

Exhibit 3-3: Control Strategy for Optimal Steam Load Distribution in a Preheat Train

In general, we will not have the freedom to do all of the heating with free waste heat. Nor will
we be able to eliminate use of the most expensive utility. This is because we have certain
design constraints. One is the temperature of the heat source, another is the available
quantity of the heat source, and the third is the capacity of the heat exchange equipment itself.

Page 21 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

The first two constraints are obvious. It is not possible to heat a cold stream to a temperature
higher than the temperature of the hot stream (heat source). This is known as the driving
force constraint. Similarly, the cold stream cannot be supplied more heat than is available in
the heat source. This is known as the heat balance constraint. The third constraint has to do
with heat transfer capacity of the HX, which could become limiting because at flow rates below
design, U, LMTD, and Ft all fall, and the multiplicative effect of the combined reduction could
over-ride the reduced requirement for Q.
While the Case 3 configuration shown in Exhibit 3-1 may give the lowest operating cost, it
should be recognized that the capital cost of this design will be higher than that of Case 1.
Suppose we are faced with a Case 1 configuration. What can be done to minimize operating
cost at minimal expense of capital cost? A possible solution is illustrated in Exhibit 3-4.
The basic principle is to introduce a new degree of freedom by adding a new LP supply
connection, and blend LP steam with HP steam through an ejector. The discharge pressure
from the ejector will be an intermediate value between that of LP steam and HP steam. The
cost savings derive from the fact that some of the HP steam is substituted with LP steam.
Some additional capital will be required for an ejector and for additional process controls, but it
would be substantially less than adding a new LP steam heater.
Exhibit 3-4: Energy Cost of Alternative Process Heating Sequences

3.2

Single Process Stream Heated in Network of Parallel HX Trains

Flow rates in many Saudi Aramco facilities are so great that it is not possible to build singletrain equipment large enough to accomplish the desired heat transfer. In these situations,
banks of parallel heat exchangers are used, as illustrated in Exhibit 3-5.
What is the optimum load management policy when the actual flow rate is less than design?
Should be reduce all flows equally, or should we valve off some of the HX and run the rest at
closer to design capacity? The two options are compared in Exhibit 3-6.

Page 22 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 3-5: Process Heating in Parallel HX Trains

Exhibit 3-6: Comparison of Operating Policies for Process Heating in Parallel

Page 23 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

What is very interesting is that even though the heat transfer duty on the inter-changer goes
down substantially at lower operating rates, the feed outlet temperature stays about the same.
This is not an aberration; but has a theoretical basis: LMTD is roughly proportional to r0.2,
where r = actual throughput design throughput. Thus LMTD remains substantially constant
over the normal range of operating rates. A 50% reduction in throughout will cause LMTD to
suffer only a 13% decrease. As LMTD falls, the feed outlet temperature rises, and steam
requirement per unit of feed flow goes down. This observation is generically true.
The simulation results show that it is better to run the network with all units, although the
difference is very slight. This is based on the assumption that lower velocities will not result in
increased fouling rates (per Exhibit 2-10). However, if the lower velocities at reduced
operating rates cause the HX to fall into the fouling zone, then it would be better to run the
network with fewer trains, and accept the small increase in steam costs. The model should
check that HX duty q = M.Cp.(T1-T2) is q = U.A.CMTD, as this constraint cannot be violated.
What the simulation model also shows is that a very small energy cost penalty (< 1%) is
incurred if the plant elects to shut down one train (during low-rate operation) for HX cleaning or
repair while the rest of the trains pick up the slack.

3.3

Avoid Un-Necessary Heating

Sometimes, it is possible to save steam load merely by looking at the overall process scheme
to identify opportunities for avoiding steam use in the first place. Most process units are
designed to be self-contained, with storage tanks in between them to provide surge capacity
for intermediate products.
Exhibit 3-7: Bypass Line Avoids Un-Necessary Heating & Cooling

Page 24 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Typically, the intermediate product from process A must be cooled before storage, both to
prevent material loss due to evaporation, as well as consequent environmental emissions.
Typically this intermediate product must then be reheated before it is fed to process B.
Once we recognize the inter-relationship, it becomes obvious that both heating and cooling
duties could be eliminated (or at least minimized) by by-passing the intermediate storage tank
during regular operation, and using it only to compensate for flow imbalances between the
operating rates of processes A and B.

Page 25 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

4.0

Process Cooling Trains

Load management policies for process coolers follow the same general rules as for process
heaters.

4.1

Single Process Stream Cooled in Series

Three examples of alternative heating sequences are illustrated in Exhibit 4-1, each of which
has a different energy cost as shown in Exhibit 4-2.
Exhibit 4-1: Alternative Sequences for Process Cooling in Series

Exhibit 4-2: Energy Cost of Alternative Process Cooling Sequences

Page 26 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

In case 1, all cooling is done with refrigerant, at a cost of $34.9 per hour. In case 2, a
significant portion of the cooling duty has been shifted to lower cost air cooling, for a total cost
of only $14.9 per hour. Process-process heat recovery, while it can reduce total utility cooling
duty, does not reduce costs significantly, because all the saving occurs in low-cost air-cooling
duty. Therefore Case 2 will in all likelihood have better economics than Cases 3a and 3b.
The key optimization parameter here would be the outlet temperature from the air cooler
(120F in the example). All efforts should be made to minimize this temperature. The
appropriate operating policy whenever refrigerant is being used would therefore include some
or all of the following:

Run all the air-cooler (fin-fans) at full speed all the time
Clean the fin-fans frequently to maintain high U (must set up a monitoring program)
Use water spray on fin-fans to boost heat transfer capacity through evaporative cooling.
Water quality must be very high, though, to prevent scale formation and/or corrosion.
Cooled boiler blowdown may a suitable candidate for this application.

It would be a mistake to control the air-cooler outlet temperature to some set design value by
cutting back on the fans.
Depending on the economics, it might also be worth introducing another degree of freedom,
e.g., cooling water as an additional utility to off-load the refrigerant duty.
The best way to determine the optimum load management strategy is to construct a simulation
model for each application as illustrated in Exhibit 4-2, and focus on optimizing the operating
parameters that have the greatest impact on energy total cost.

4.2

Single Process Stream Cooled in Network of Parallel HX Trains

The general procedure for determining the optimum operating policy for cooling trains in
parallel is the same as described for heating trains. The simulation results for the network of
parallel cooling trains shown in Exhibit 4-3 are presented in Exhibit 4-4, for the following data:

Observe that the previous conclusion about running all trains in preference to fewer trains is
no longer correct. The previous conclusion is valid only if the utility cost is a continuous
function of capacity; eg for steam, for which the cost per MMBtu is constant within narrow
bands. In the case of air cooled (fin-fan) HX that is generally not so. Air coolers are usually
equipped with fixed speed fans which can be either ON or OFF, so that a reduced cooling
load does not automatically translate into power savings. Only when the cooling load drops
sufficiently can one of the fans in a fin-fan bank be shut off. In other words, fan power is a
discrete (step-wise) function of cooling load.

Page 27 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 4-3: Process Cooling in Parallel HX Trains

For the selected design basis conditions, the optimum operating policy is:

It was determined by running the simulation model at various load factors, making sure that
the actual capacity of the heat exchangers never exceeds the maximum capacity.
In the illustrative example, the cold process stream is being heated against the product and
fed directly to a reactor. That may not always be feasible, and a trim heater (or flow bypass)
for more precise temperature control may be required.
If the air cooler motors were equipped with variable frequency drives, then it would be possible
to modulate the fan speed and reduce the air flow rates to exactly match the required duty. In
such a case, the cost of operating the air cooler would be more nearly a constant with respect
to capacity, and we would have to do the economics differently, as in Exhibit 4-2, with the
optimum operating policy probably also being different.
So the message is one can only determine the optimum load management policy by
constructing a simulation model that accurately reflects the actual capabilities and operating
characteristics of the equipment in the field. Generalizations can be dangerously misleading.

Page 28 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 4-4: Comparison of Operating Policies for Process Cooling in Parallel

What Exhibit 4-4 demonstrates is that it is possible to save a significant portion (25%) of the
power cost for operating this cooling train if the number of trains being operated is adjusted
accordingly to the load. The actual savings potential versus flat out operation with all trains
running all the time can be estimated using historical data on the load profile, as illustrated in
Exhibits 4-5 and 4-6.

Page 29 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 4-5: Historical (12 month) Flow Profile of Stream Being Cooled
Flow Profile
4500
4000

Hours per year

3500
3000
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
200

240

280

320

360

400

Flow, MBD

Exhibit 4-6: Estimated Savings from Optimum Cooler Management

The potential savings in this case are not especially large, but they are FREE, requiring zero
capital investment, and are a substantial reduction (about 20%) compared to the base case
power cost when running with all four trains all the time. In the example shown, only flow rate
variations have been examined. In fact, many other parameters could also be varying, such
as supply temperatures of the product and cold process stream, U values (due to fouling), and
of course, ambient temperature. These additional complexities can be easily accommodated
in a spreadsheet model; the simulation approach remains the same.

4.3

Multiple Process Streams Cooled with a Single Cooling Utility

This situation arises in cases where a cooling utility such as cooling water, sea water, or
refrigerant is used to cool multiple process steams in a network of HX some of which may be
in series and others in parallel, as illustrated in Exhibit 4-7.

Page 30 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 4-7: Cooling Water Circuit with Series-Parallel HEN

The optimum distribution of LMTD in each cooler occurs when the coolant flow is controlled to
achieve the desired target temperature of the hot process stream, which minimizes the power
consumption of the cooling water circulation pumps [Ref. Kumana, A Pre-Design Strategy

for Selecting Near-Optimum Cooling Water Flow Rates, AIChE Symposium Series no.
236, Vol 80, (1984), pp 117-121].
Most often, all coolers are arranged in parallel, between the CW supply and return headers.
This is usually not the optimum configuration. Some of the coolers should be in series with
respect to coolant flow. The correct cooler network structure (series/parallel arrangement and
sequences) should be determined by Pinch Analysis, and the appropriate piping modifications
should be made to approach the optimum structure as close as possible.
Observe in particular the location of the cooling water makeup and blowdown locations. The
make-up must be added at the point in the circuit where coolant temperature is lowest, and the
blowdown should be taken from the point in the circuit where the coolant temperature is
highest. Usually these are reversed, for mechanical convenience, by vendors and contractors
who neither understand nor care about operating efficiency.

4.4

Avoid Un-Necessary Cooling

See Section 3.3.

Page 31 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

4.5

Load Shedding versus Process Modifications

Power consumption can also be reduced by minimizing the required discharge pressure. For
example most Aramco compressors have a fin-fan cooler in their discharge line, whose
cooling capacity varies with ambient temperature. One of the power conservation strategies
used by the operators is to shed power load on the fans during cooler weather (a laudable
attempt at thermal load management) once the temperature set point downstream of the
cooler is being met. However, maintaining a constant condenser temperature is the wrong
control objective if the compressor discharge stream is going to a condenser, because the
required pressure for condensation is not constant but varies with ambient temperature. In
such cases, even greater power savings could be obtained by following a different operating
policy viz. to maximize the fin-fan cooling capacity but save even more power by minimizing
the discharge pressure (and therefore the compression ratio). A suggested control scheme is
shown in Exhibit 4-8, with the supporting calculations presented in Exhibit 4-9.
Exhibit 4-8: Power Conservation by Minimizing Compressor Discharge Pressure

The tricky part is being able to determine when exactly we have achieved total condensation,
something very difficult to do. The proposed solution is to have two condensers in series. The
main condenser would condense only about 90-95% of the vapor, and the vent condenser
would condense the balance. The control system would be set up to maintain a fixed flow
ratio in the range from 10:1 to 20:1 between the main flow and the vent flow.

Page 32 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 4-9: Shedding Fan Load vs Minimizing Compression Ratio

The required discharge pressure in Case 2 is found by successive iteration until the calculated
condenser surface area for cases 1 and 2 are identical.
Although process modifications cannot strictly be classified as Load Management, the subject
has been presented here because it is a way to introduce new degrees of freedom that enable
optimal load allocation between the different energy consumers in the overall system.

Page 33 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

5.0

Heat Exchanger Networks

Process heating and cooling seldom occurs in isolation. Invariably, heating and cooling loads
are interlinked though the heat and material balance. Even the simplified examples in sections
3.2 and 3.3 featured both heating and cooling.
In this section we are going to focus on how to optimize operating loads in more complex Heat
Exchanger Networks (HENs), that are typical of oil, gas and petrochemical processes.

5.1

Simple HEN with HX, Heating and Cooling

Consider the simple HEN shown below.


Exhibit 5-1: Example of Simple HEN

The following design data are given, with the flow rate and feed supply temperature known to
deviate significantly from design. What should the optimum operating policy be when these
two parameters (identified as green-shaded cells) vary over their typical range of values?

Page 34 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Once again, we take the simulation approach, and work out what the performance of the HEN
would be under various scenarios. Once we understand the response of the HEN to the
expected deviations from design conditions, it becomes possible to determine the optimum
load management policy that gives the lowest operating cost.
Exhibit 5-2a: Simulation Results for Simple HEN Flow Deviation Only

What if the operation involves a change in both the feed rate and the feed temperature, as
shown below?

Page 35 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

The model structure would still be the same, but the optimum set points for operation would be
different, as illustrated in Exhibit 5-2b.
Exhibit 5-2b: Simulation Results for Simple HEN Combined Flow and Temp Deviations

The simulation models are not difficult to develop, but the following points should be noted:
For the Design Case
(a)
The exchanger minimum approach temperature EMAT is selected to be identical to the
minimum approach temperature for the entire network (often referred to as the heat
recovery approach temperature, or HRAT). HRAT is normally determined using the
optimization algorithm of Pinch Analysis; in this case it is given to be 20F. Once E MAT
is specified, the terminal temperatures for all HX can be calculated.
(b)
For the sake of consistent simulation results, the area of the HX must be adjusted
iteratively until the required U matches the available U.
(c)
For convenience of simulation, exchangers number 1 and 4 have been specified as
true counter-flow (1-1 shell & tube) configuration, with Ft = 1. In reality they would
probably be either 1-2 or 2-4 configurations, with 0.75 < Ft < 1. The HX effectiveness
formulas, in terms of R and N, would have to be modified accordingly.

Page 36 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

For the Operating Case Simulation


(a) The HX areas have to be the same as those for the design case
(b) HX inlet temperatures are known from the process requirement. Outlet temperatures
can be calculated from the effectiveness, viz.
T2 = T1 (T1 t1),

and t2 = t1 + R(T1 t1)

Note that for steam heaters, R = 0, = 1 exp(-NTU), and t2 = t1 + (TS t1)


(c) There is one drawback to calculating terminal temperatures in this way to prevent
circular references in the algorithm, the hot and cold stream flow rates are required as
input data. In the case of process streams this is generally not a problem, as they are
known from the material balance. In the case of utility streams, however, eg. cooling
water, this algorithm does not accurately represent the way the process is operated.
Normally, for utilities, the objective is to minimize the flowrate required to achieve a
particular terminal temperature for the process stream being heated or cooled, and
that is how the control loop is set up. Therefore, instead of specifying utility stream
flow, we should specify the EMAT for each exchanger. We then need to go through an
iterative trial and error procedure to ensure that the specified EMAT values result in
terminal temperatures and heat transfer duties consistent with the HX size and the
expected U values at the new (off-design) operating conditions. The iteration stops
when the required U and available U agree within the specified tolerance limits.
(d) Flow rates for the heating and cooling utilities are calculated from the heat balance.

The simulation models tell us that if we change the set points of the HX control loops to
achieve the indicated terminal temperatures and duties, then the energy cost of operating the
HEN will drop from $332/h to $238/h, a saving of 28% in utility costs in Case A and a saving of
26.5% in Case B. The control logic for the steam heaters should be as shown in Exhibit 3-3.
The recommended control logic for the trim cooler is presented in Exhibit 5-3.
Exhibit 5-3: Recommended Control Strategy for Trim Cooler

Page 37 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

5.2

Complex HENs

The spreadsheet-based simulation approach illustrated in section 5.1 can be extended to


much more complex networks, and has in fact been successfully applied to several process
units in oil refining CDU, NHT, CCR, Isomerization, etc. as well as gas processing plants.
Exhibit 5-4: Simplified Flowsheet of NHT Plant

The spreadsheet simulation model for the NHT process (as designed) is shown in Exhibit 5-5.
Observe that the actual (operating) U values, even for the base case scenario, are significantly
lower than the expected clean U values, almost by an order of magnitude. Why such a huge
discrepancy? The reason is that most EPC contractors tend to use overly conservative fouling
factors, which result in excessive heat transfer area. The fact that actual U values are so low
indicates that both shell and tube side the velocities are extremely low, under which conditions
rapid fouling is much more likely. Therefore the exchangers will have to be cleaned more
frequently, defeating the purpose of choosing a high fouling allowance to begin with. What we
need to do is check the shell and tube side velocities for each application, and determine
where the HX operation falls on the fouling threshold chart (see Exhibit 2-11). Normally the
velocities should be in the range of 3-10 ft /sec.

Page 38 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 5-5: Simulation Model of HEN for NHT Process (Design Case)

Page 39 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

A detailed HX simulation (as opposed to HEN simulation) should also be done for each HX, as
illustrated in Exhibits 5-6a and 5-6b. From this analysis, it is possible to determine what
mechanical modifications, e.g. adding another tube-side pass, adding a longitudinal shell-side
baffle (conversion from E-shell to F-shell configuration), etc, would be most practical to
achieve the desired performance.
Exhibit 5-6a: Simulation Model for Shell & Tube Heat Exchanger

Page 40 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

To assess maximum heat transfer capacity of the HX, adjust the duty until the available fouling
factor is approx 0.0005 (generally between 0.0003 and 0.001).
To goal of making such mechanical modifications is to get additional heat transfer capacity
from the HX, and thereby to achieve better overall heat recovery in the HEN.
Exhibit 5-6b: Overall Temperature Profile for Simulated HX Operation
HX Temp Profile
160
150
140

Temp, F

130
120
110
100
90

Hot Stream

80

Cold Stream

70
0

10

15

20

25

30

35

Q, MMBtu/h

Although all the HEN simulation models of Saudi Aramco plants have thus far been developed
internally from scratch, it is possible to purchase commercial software programs that automate
much of the work. One is Persimmon , that provides a convenient ready-made Excel interface for general HEN simulation as well as some advanced features such as a module for
determining optimum HX cleaning schedules. This software has been extensively used in the
oil refining and petrochemical industries, and is available from Veritech Energy, Virginia, USA.
Also, a suite of inter-related programs that include Integrity and Express, are available from
ESDU International plc, London, UK. [Note: Software names have been mentioned here for
the readers convenience only, and should not be construed as a commercial endorsement.]
A very useful tool for assessing whether the pinch HX is in the network is the Driving Force
Plot, as in Exhibit 5-7. If the actual temp profile of the HX is far from the ideal driving force
profile, the HX is wasting temperature gradient. If the available temperature gradient within
the HX is significantly less than the ideal, then that HX is the one limiting the heat transfer
capability of the HEN. To get improved performance from the HEN, some corrective action in
terms of piping modifications or addition of more surface area will be required.
Another useful tool is the Exchanger Response (or Sensitivity) Plot, illustrated in Exhibit 5-8.

Page 41 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 5-7: Sample Driving Force Plot from Integrity

Poor Alignment

Good Alignment

Source: G. T. Polley (gtpolley@aol.com), personal communication (2006)

Exhibit 5-8: Sample Exchanger Response Plot from Express

Source: G. T. Polley (gtpolley@aol.com), personal communication (2006)

Page 42 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Unfortunately, the problem of optimum operation of existing HENs has received very little
attention from research scholars, and there is a dearth of published material on the subject.
Only four relevant papers were found after conducting an exhaustive literature search:
K. Li and B. Niemeyer, Optimal Operation of HENs Under Uncertainty, Int J of Heat Exchrs,
vol V (2004), pp 79-94.
B. Glemmestad, S. Skogestad and T. Gundersen, Optimal Operation of HENs, Computers &
Chem Eng, vol 23 (1999) pp 509-522.
N. G. Brancaccio, G. T. Polley and B. L Pretty, Spreadsheet Modeling of HENs using
Effectiveness-NTU Method, NPRA Computer Conference, Atlanta, GA (Nov 11-13, 1996).
R. Ratnam and V. S. Patwardhan, Sensitivity Analysis of HENs, Chem Eng Sci, vol 46, no 2
(1991), pp 451-458.
The general consensus seems to be that a two-step approach is best:
(a)
(b)

5.3

Set up the model to determine the optimum temperature set-points for HEN control,
with the objective of minimizing total utility cost.
Run the model periodically with updated process flow and inlet temperature data, say
every 4-8 hours, and adjust the set points accordingly.

HEN Operability Considerations and Constraints

HEN operability depends not only on the design structure (ie. if the matches make effective
use of the available heat and temperature gradients), but also on parametric changes that are
unavoidable in practice. In all cases, the problem can be thought of as due to a mismatch
between process requirement and equipment capability/performance.
A HX may be improperly sized for its duty either because it was incorrectly designed for the
specified service to begin with, or because the actual operating conditions (flow rates,
temperatures, heat transfer coefficients) have deviated from expected design conditions. The
consequences of undersized HX are generally well known, but the pitfalls of over-sized HX are
often not recognized.
Consider the simple system shown in Exhibit 5-9. Exchanger E-1 requires 1622 ft2 in order to
achieve the necessary duty. However, it has been oversized by 10% and 1785 ft2 have been
installed. Similarly exchanger E-2, which requires 5155 ft2, has also been oversized by 10%
with 5671 ft2. Detailed simulation results are summarized in Exhibit 5-10.
The result of over-sizing E-1 means that it performs better than expected. So, the cold stream
leaves the unit at 280F rather than the targeted value of 277F. Since, this does not have a
detrimental effect upon the process downstream of the unit this over-performance would not
normally draw attention.

Page 43 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 5-9: Network Performance with Over-sized HX

Note: Blue font = specified data, black font = calculated values


10% excess area for E-1 and E-2, no excess area for steam heater H.

Exhibit 5-10: Simulation Results for HEN of Exhibit 5-9

However, the hot stream leaves the unit at a temperature of 253F rather than the expected
value of 259F. This reduces the available temperature driving force in E-2 to below that used
for design, and results in less heat recovery than expected for this unit. The cold stream now
leaves the E-2 at 210F rather than the expected 212F. The shortfall in performance occurs
despite the exchanger actually being over-sized by 10%, and has two negative consequences
(a) energy penalty of 0.4 MMBtu/h, and (b) failure to meet the target cold stream temperature
of 300F. One could argue that the target temperature could be achieved by adding more
surface area to the heater as well, but that is additional investment for no energy benefit. A
possible solution to avoiding the energy penalty is to add 690 ft2 more surface area to E-2. We
now have traded off a capital cost penalty for an energy penalty. Observe that we would have
to add 690 ft2 more area over and above the 10% over-size already built into the design, for a
total of 1205 ft2 extra (i.e., 23% over-sized). This is more than 7 sq ft extra in E-2 for each sq ft
of excess area in E-1.

Page 44 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

The proper solution to this problem is to recognise that E-1 is over-performing, and operate a
bypass around it in order to restore the temperature driving force on E-2. These insights
cannot be obtained without a thorough analysis, as illustrated above. This example further
demonstrates that in order to employ effective Heat Load Management, the control system
must be designed properly as well, and adequate instrumentation must be provided.
An important principle for understanding the performance of HENs is the propagation of
disturbances. Recall that the increase in area of E-1 resulted in a disturbance to
temperatures at which both hot and cold streams left the exchanger, and in turn affecting the
performance of E-2 located downstream. Reduced heat transfer in E-2 caused the
temperature of the cold stream leaving it to fall, thereby increasing the required duty on the
heater positioned downstream of E-2. Note that both disturbances only affected equipment
that was located downstream along the paths defined by the individual streams and the heat
recovery exchangers (Exhibit 5-11a).
Now consider what would have happened if the temperature at which the cold stream entered
E-2 had been disturbed (see Exhibit 11b). This disturbance affects the temperature at which
the cold stream leaves E-2 and enters the heater positioned downstream. It also affects the
temperature at which the hot stream involved in the match leaves the exchanger. Given the
network structure, it cannot possibly affect the temperature of the hot stream entering E-2.
In short, the disturbance cannot move upstream.
The principle is simple, but general: disturbances can only propagate downstream.
Exhibits 5-11a and b: Propagation of Disturbances along Downstream Paths

Page 45 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

The concept of downstream paths though simple is very powerful. For instance, if one
process stream is known to be subject to large disturbances and another stream needs to
have a closely controlled temperature, the designer can prevent control problems by simply
ensuring that the sensitive stream is not on a path downstream of the variable stream. If it is
known that one particular exchanger is the subject of severe fouling but some others in the
system are not, then the effects of that fouling on the overall system can be compensated for
by installing extra area to clean exchangers that are on the same path as the dirty one. The
exchanger that is subject to fouling can then be designed with the objective of minimizing the
fouling within it rather than adding extra area to the unit (with resultant lower velocity and
higher fouling), which is the normal practice.
The concept of downstream paths is particularly relevant for Load Management in HENs.
The opportunities for exploiting changes in operating conditions of a given HX only exist along
thermal paths downstream of that location.
The real parameters of significance for developing an optimum HEN load management
strategy are not the unique target temperatures for streams, but the maximum and minimum
allowable temperatures. The target temperatures are useful the plant design; the allowable
bounds are useful for heat load management. During plant operation it is normal to find that
the actual process temperature differs from the original target (design) temperature. It is the
relationship between actual temperature and the bounds that is important. For instance, in the
HEN of Exhibit 5-8, rather than simply compensate for the over-performance of E-1 relative to
the design target, the operator can exploit the flexibility inherent in the HEN by operating a
bypass around E-1 such that both the outlet temperatures are close to their optimum values,
and result in minimum steam use.

Page 46 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

6.0

Boilers

Almost all industrial plants use steam as the principal energy source for process heating.
However, boilers should not be seen as islands, but merely as one of the components of the
overall utility system, also known as the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system for the
facility. Normally, a plant CHP system has multiple boilers, which may or may not be of equal
capacity and operating pressure, and may or may not use the same fuel or operate at the
same efficiencies. Furthermore, some of the process steam may be generated in Waste Heat
Boilers (unfired heat exchangers), while some might be generated in Heat Recovery Steam
Generators (HRSGs) associated with a gas turbine. Also HRSGs can be either supplementary
fired or unfired. Both HRSGs and WHBs are part of the plant CHP system. Although their
mechanical designs are radically different, functionally they are both identical to boilers.
This manual is focused on the predominant type of boilers used in Saudi Aramco plants, viz.
natural-circulation oil- and gas-fired water-tube industrial boilers. Operating pressures of
modern boilers can range from 150 to 1800 psig, with 150 psig and 600 psig being the most
common within the company. However, most of the load management principles described
and recommendations made in this manual will apply to other types of boilers as well, including smaller fire-tube boilers used in lower pressure applications such as HVAC.

6.1

Boiler Sparing Philosophy for Optimum Reliability

Most industrial plants have multiple boilers, for two reasons. One is that the plant may have a
steam demand that is larger than the maximum practical size of an industrial boiler, which is
around 1,000 Klb/h. Many Saudi Aramco gas plants use much more than this amount. The
other reason is to ensure improved reliability of steam supply. Thus even in plants where the
total steam demand could be comfortably supplied by one boiler (eg. the refineries), it is
common practice to operate multiple boilers, on the basis that if one of them trips the other(s)
can instantaneously pick up the slack and the main process continues to operate at full rate.
The policy of running more boilers than needed is expressed as N+, where N is the minimum
number of boilers required to supply the peak process steam demand, and is the number of
extra boilers that are kept in operation to provide instantaneous spare capacity in the event
one of the boilers trips.
Some Saudi Aramco plants operate with an N+1 policy, while others follow an N+2 policy; but
there is a cost. When excess numbers of boilers are operated, the average steam generation
rate for each boiler will be significantly less than design, and the energy efficiency will be
lower, as shown in Exhibit 6-2.
The fact is that improved reliability can be achieved in a number of different ways, most of
which do not incur such a high energy cost penalty. An understanding of the factors that
govern reliability of steam supply to the process is therefore critical to the question of optimum
load management policies. The crucial issue is not how many boilers to operate as running
spares, but whether adequate steam reserve is available at all times to accommodate shortterm process load swings.

Page 47 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-1: Typical Design of Field-erected Water-tube Boiler Fired with Clean Fuels

rd

Source: Singer, ed, Combustion: Fossil Power Systems, 3 ed, Combustion Engg Inc, Windsor, CT (1981), p8-25

Page 48 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-2: Comparison of Boiler Sparing Policies

Basis: Fuel cost = $1.25/MMBtu, Operating rate = 8760 h/yr

The Reliability of a boiler is usually measured in terms of an Availability Factor, defined as


Availability Factor = (Available On-stream hours) / (Total hours in the Period)
Another measure of reliability is also important:
Forced Outage Rate (FOR) =

Forced Outage Hours


Service Hours Forced Outage Hours

One of the ways to reduce the required steam reserve is to minimize process variability (cf.
section 2.4). Another is to develop a load-shedding program during upsets, when non-critical
steam users (such as storage tank coils, or even the de-aerator) can be temporarily shut off.
A third might be to increase the amount of steam generated in the process WHBs. A fourth
option would be to keep the spare boiler on hot standby, rather than full operation; this will
enable rapid startup (within 20-30 min at most) to full rate in case one of the boiler trips, during
which time the plant can resort to load shedding or one of the other tactics. In the worst case,
production rate might have to be slowed down somewhat for a few minutes, which can be
easily made up as soon as the spare boiler is up and running; hardly a disaster.
In Exhibit 6-2, notice the available steam reserve for the N+0 operating policy. It is equivalent
to more than 2 full boilers. This is the type of analysis that should be done when determining
the optimum boiler load management policy.
The example cited assumes equal sized boilers at the same pressure and with the same
energy efficiency profiles. In such cases, a CHP model such as that described in section 6.4
can be a more effective analytical tool.

Page 49 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

6.2

Load Allocation among Multiple Parallel Boilers

A common practice in many facilities is to distribute the steam load among the boilers equally
on a prorated basis. This practice is not optimal, and should be discontinued.
Best Practice depends upon the amount of reliable data available, and the sophistication of the
control system. One is load allocation by efficiency; the other is by least operating cost.
6.2.1

Load Allocation by Efficiency

This is the simpler of the two methods. It is close to optimal when the boilers use the same
fuel, and have a congruent efficiency profile. However, it could be far from optimal if these
conditions do not hold. The appropriate operating policy, when we have N parallel boilers
using the same fuel and with efficiency curves of the same shape is simple, and easy to
implement:
Use the most efficient (N-1) boilers for base load,
and use the least efficient boiler for swing load.

Boiler Efficiency is non-linear with steam load. However, the fuel consumption varies quasilinearly with steam load (the fuel consumption is approximately linear with steam rate for
boiler loads of 25% and higher, with a quadratic multiplier at low steam rates). It is therefore
much easier to obtain accurate correlations, when attempting to determine boiler efficiency
from field data, by plotting the total energy (fuel + power) consumption versus steam rate
rather than plotting efficiency versus steam rate. Exhibits 6-3 and 6-4 illustrate this point.
Exhibit 6-3: Boiler Fuel Use and Efficiency versus Steam Rate
Boiler Efficiency Curve
100

100
90
80
70

60

60
50

40

40

Boiler Eff, %

Fuel, MMBtu/h

80

30
20

Fuel

20

Efficiency

10

0
0

20

40

60

80

0
100

Steam gen rate, % of design

Source: Kumana, Correlation of typical boiler performance data (Saudi Aramco plants)

Page 50 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Boiler Efficiency versus System Efficiency


Boiler efficiency is traditionally defined according to the ASME code, which considers it to
be the heat absorbed in the boiler (radiant and convection sections) for converting boiler
feedwater into steam, whether saturated or superheated, divided by the amount of fuel
energy supplied. Thus,

Boiler Efficiency

Mass Flow Rate of Generated Steam x (H S h W )


Fuel Input

where HS = enthalpy of generated steam, Btu/lb


and hW = enthalpy of BFW entering the boiler, Btu/lb
Saudi Aramco practice, which follows the ASME boiler code, is to use the higher heating
value (HHV) for calculating fuel input, not the lower heating value (LHV). Also, boiler
efficiency is normally calculated by the energy balance (heat loss) method; the equation
presented above is intended only to illustrate the underlying concept.
This traditional definition of boiler efficiency, while suitable for monitoring equipment
performance, is not appropriate for making operating decisions for overall process-utility
optimization. For that we need to use the system efficiency, defined as under.
Let us define the following parameters:
E0 = Fuel Input = fuel flow rate x HHV
E1 = Energy absorbed by BFW for steam generation = S(HS hW)
E2 = Energy supplied to the de-aerator(s) by parasitic steam
E3 = Energy in steam used for BFW preheating prior to entering the de-aerator
E4 = Energy in steam used to preheat the BFW post DA but pre-boiler
E5 = Energy in steam used to pre-heat combustion supply air
E6 = Electrical power consumed by combustion air supply (FD) fans
E7 = Electrical power consumed by induced draft (ID) fans
E8 = Electrical power for fuel gas compression (if any) or fuel oil pumping
E9 = Energy in steam used for fuel oil atomization (if any)
E10 = Energy in steam used for LPG vaporization (if any)
E11 = Energy in steam used for soot blowing
E12 = Electrical power for boiler house lighting and controls

Then the system energy efficiency is calculated as

E1
12

E 0 Ei
i 2

Although the boiler efficiency represents the dominant component of system efficiency,
for true optimization by the least-cost load allocation algorithm described herein, it is the
system energy efficiency that should be used.

Page 51 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-4: Effect of Turndown on Boiler Fuel Consumption


Boiler Fuel Use at Turndow n
1.12

Fuel multiplier

1.1

y = 0.75x2 - 0.555x + 1.0995

1.08

R2 = 0.9991

1.06
1.04
1.02
1
0.98
0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

% Boiler load

Source: Kumana, Correlation of empirical boiler performance data (USA)

6.2.2

Load Allocation by Least Cost

The current state of the art technique for boiler load allocation when using different fuels for
different boilers (some could even be dual-fueled) is the least cost algorithm per Exhibit 6-5,
which develops a bias signal to raise or lower the firing rate.
Exhibit 6-5: Load Allocation Algorithm based on Least Cost

Source: Dukelow, The Control of Boilers, ISA Press (1986), p101

Page 52 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

The computations for load allocation signals include all operating costs fuel consumption,
unit fuel cost, and any special factors (such as O&M differentials). The boiler with the highest
efficiency may not be the best one for adding incremental steam load; the correct policy is to
load and unload the boilers at the most favorable incremental rate.
Exhibit 6-6 demonstrates the logic of this approach. Assume that we have two boilers for
which the efficiency curves are known (Exhibit 6-6a). Boiler 1 efficiency is always higher than
that of Boiler 2 at all steam rates, which might lead us to conclude that Boiler 1 is always more
economical than Boiler 2. However, this may not be so. The fuel input vs steam output curves
in Exhibit 6-6b clearly show that in this case, the least cost load allocation policy for a boiler
load range between 0% and 100% is actually as follows:

In order to implement such a policy, accurate data for each boiler is required to determine the
slopes of the efficiency curves, and this must then be converted into an optimum boiler load
allocation policy as illustrated above.

Exhibit 6-6: Effect of Turndown on Boiler Fuel Consumption

Source: Dukelow, The Control of Boilers, ISA Press (1986), p102

Page 53 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

6.3

Load Management of Boiler Auxiliaries

As mentioned earlier, a boiler actually consists of many sub-systems, each of which can be
operated in different ways, and which can have a significant effect on overall boiler efficiency.
6.3.1

Burners

In the past, the principal objective of good burner design was efficient combustion. New and
increasingly stringent environmental regulations have forced a consideration of NOx emissions
to the environment as well. Unfortunately there is usually a penalty associated with low NOx
emissions. For example, a proven technique for reducing NOx emissions is staging, where
the primary combustion zone is deficient in either the fuel or air, with the balance being
injected into the secondary combustion zone downstream. Staging reduces both fuel NOx and
thermal NOx. However, because flux is roughly proportional to T4, lower flame temperatures
also reduce the capacity of the radiant zone. Similarly the flue gas recirculation approach to
reducing NOx emissions increases the amount of power consumption.
Burners are most commonly classified according to the method of fuel-air mixing diffusion,
pre-mixed, and staged. However, they may also be classified according to location floor
burners, roof burners, and wall burners.
The keys to efficient burner operation are to (a) accurately control the air-to-fuel ratio (see
Exhibit 6-7), and (b) make sure that the firing rate of each burner is within its operating range.
An excellent discussion of the parameters that govern burner efficiency is given by Khavkin
(cf. section 1.4).
Extensive experience with oil and gas fired boilers has shown that it is imperative to achieve
proper air distribution to each burner to control flame shape, flame length, excess air ratio, and
overall combustion efficiency. Most existing boilers with older technology have burners with a
turn-down ratio limited to 3:1, so that when the boiler is operating significantly below design
rates, the correct burner management policy is to selectively shut down burners rather than
attempt to reduce the firing rate equally to all burners. That is why boilers usually come
equipped with multiple burners (typically 2-8 for Saudi Aramco plants), to provide relatively
continuous turn-down capability. Equal load distribution over all operating burners gives the
best overall results [cf. Baukal, Combustion Handbook, p 564]. This requires independent flow
control of both fuel and air, as shown in Exhibit 6-9.
There is an optimum pattern to shutting down burners when steam generation rate is reduced,
and restarting burners when the steam generation rate is increased. This pattern depends on
the location of the burners in relation to the radiant section tubes. This operating procedure is
normally specified by the boiler manufacturer, and should be followed exactly. When burners
are loaded properly, the flames will be very similar in appearance, as in Exhibit 6-10.
Newer burner technology is now available that offers improved operating turndown ratios of up
to 10:1, while maintaining flame stability and low NOx emissions. For boilers equipped with
these new burners, the best operating policy would be possible to keep all burners running (ie.
no selective shut-downs) but continue to distribute the load evenly to all.

Page 54 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-7: Excess Air versus Boiler Load, Typical Curve

Source: Dukelow, The Control of Boilers, ISA Press (1986), p170

Exhibit 6-8: Heating Values and Stoichiometric Air Requirement for Common Fuels

* approximate

Page 55 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-9: Fuel and Air Distribution Control for Multi-Burner Boilers

Exhibit 6-10: Flame Similarity with Good Burner Control

Source: Baukal, John Zink Combustion Handbook, CRC Press (2001), p566

Page 56 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

6.3.2

FD and ID Fans

The flow of air and combustion gases through a boiler is achieved by creating draft, defined as
the pressure difference between the flue gases in the furnace section and the atmosphere by
one of four methods natural draft, forced draft, induced draft, or balanced draft. In modern
boilers natural draft and induced draft are not commonly used. In a forced draft system, the
fan is on the combustion air supply; in balanced draft systems, there is an additional induced
draft fan is on the hot flue gas at the boiler outlet just prior to the stack. The furnace is
maintained at 0.05-0.10 inches of water (gauge) below atmospheric pressure. The balanced
draft system is standard for modern designs, except for package boilers which use forced
draft.
Typically, boiler has its own set of fans (Exhibit 6-11a). During turndown operation, therefore,
the combustion air supply from the FD fan has to be regulated with a damper, forcing it to
operate at lower than optimum efficiency. An alternative scheme that minimizes pressure loss
across the damper is illustrated in Exhibit 6-11b.
The feasibility of such an arrangement depends to a large extent on the physical location of
the boilers. If they are too far apart, it may not be cost-effective to install the required new
ductwork for the discharge header. The analysis, therefore, must be done on a case-by-case
basis. An illustrative example is presented in Exhibits 6-12 and 6-13.

Exhibit 6-11: FD Fan Load Management: (a) 3 running; (b) 2 running

Page 57 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-12: Typical Fan Performance Curves

Exhibit 6-13: Estimation of Savings from FD Fan Load Management

Basis: $32/MWH for power, and 8600 h/yr of operation

For ID fans, a similar load management policy would probably not be feasible, as installing a
new flue gas header is unlikely to be practical.
6.3.3

Feedwater Pumps

The analysis procedure for load management of boiler feedwater pumps is identical. Once
again, a new discharge header will be needed, as illustrated in Exhibit 6-14.

Page 58 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-14: BFW Pumps Load Management: (a) 3 running; (b) 2 running

6.4

Steam Balance Optimization

As noted earlier, the ultimate goal of boiler load management is to minimize total utility
operating cost, taking appropriate credit for condensate return rates and temperatures, steam
generation from process WHBs and HRSGs, and power generation from steam and gas
turbines. The best way to properly account for the complex non-linear interactions between
the various parameters is to construct a CHP system model.
Using such a model, one can easily compare alternative operating policies to meet various
process steam and power demand scenarios, and determine the one that will provide the
lowest total operating cost while still meeting all process requirements and equipment
constraints. Three alternative scenarios are evaluated in Exhibits 6-15 through 6-17.
Exhibit 6-18: Comparison of CHP Scenarios

Page 59 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-008
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-15: Refinery Steam Balance with Gas Turbines running at Full Capacity

Page 60 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-008
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-16: Refinery Steam Balance with Gas Turbines Off, and Boilers Equally Loaded

Page 61 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD

SABP-A-008
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 6-17: Refinery Steam Balance with Gas Turbines Off, and Boilers Optimally Loaded

Page 62 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Plant process steam and power requirements are fixed in all cases:
300 Klb/h HP steam, 125 Klb/h MP steam, 75 Klb/h LP steam, and 37 MW.
In scenario 1, all three gas turbines (GTs) are running at their full capacity of 20 MW each, and
the HRSGs are being run without supplementary firing. This leaves only 54 Klb/h of steam
deficit, which is made up by running Boiler #4. Boilers #1 and 2 are kept on hot standby.
In scenario 2a, the gas turbines are all off, and all steam comes from boilers no. 2 and 4,
loaded equally (85% of design capacity). In scenario 2b, the GTs are again off, but Boiler #4
(high efficiency) is loaded fully, while Boiler #2 (low efficiency) is loaded only 66%. The only
difference between scenarios 2a and 2b is the boiler load allocation. The savings are seen to
be about $90,000 per year. While they may represent only 0.5% of the total site energy bill,
they can be achieved at zero capital expense purely by optimal load management.

Page 63 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

7.0

Fired Heaters

Fired heaters are used for direct process heating, as opposed to steam generation for indirect
process heating. The reason for using them is that they are able to deliver very high process
temperatures typically required in oil refining processes, that are beyond the capability of
steam. Normally each fired heater is dedicated to a particular process heating duty, and it is
very rare to see more than two fired heaters in parallel for the same process duty. If a process
duty is too small to justify its own fired heater, a fired heater could be used to heat up a
circulating hot oil loop, which would typically serve several such small high-temp duties; this is
a form of load sharing between one heater and multiple process duties.
Exhibit 7-1: Principal Fired Heater Applications in Oil Refining

The mechanical design of fired heaters is also very different from that of steam boilers. The
process fluid is always inside the tubes; natural draft is the most common type.
Exhibit 7-2: Schematic of a Typical Process Heater

Source: Baukal, John Zink Combustion Handbook, CRC Press (2001), p11

Page 64 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Many different mechanical arrangements are used, one of the principal considerations being
prevention of damage to the tubes and refractory linings at the high temperatures prevalent in
the fire-box. An additional concern is fouling inside the tubes due to coking.
Exhibit 7-3: Common Mechanical Configurations of Fired Heaters

Source: Baukal, John Zink Combustion Handbook, CRC Press (2001), p17

7.1

Heater Sparing Philosophy

Normal practice is to have a single heater for each process train, primarily because the
reliability of fired heaters is very high, with typical run times of 2-4 years between major
shutdowns for repair and refurbishment. Maintaining an idle spare on hot standby is simply
not done, because it is not economically warranted.

Page 65 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

7.2

Load Allocation Among Parallel Heaters

The issue of load allocation among two or more parallel heaters in a single train seldom arises.
When it does, however, the recommended policy is to manage load on the basis of heater
efficiency, operating the high-efficiency heaters for base load, and the lower efficiency heater
for swing load. The least cost operating policy recommended for boilers (cf. section 6.2)
usually does not apply because the heaters are invariably the same size and type, use the
same fuel, and have similar efficiency curve shapes (slopes).

7.3

Load Allocation in Hot Oil Loops


7.3.1

Multiple Loads, Single Heater

Hot oil loops are normally used only in oil refineries and GOSPs. However, in remote desert
areas where low-cost water supply is not available, they could be a viable alternative to steam
boilers as well (eg. Haradh Gas Plant).
Exhibit 7-4: Optimum Flow Distribution for Hot Oil Loops

This situation is similar to that for Cooling Water loops (section 4.3). The optimum distribution
of LMTD in each process heater occurs when the hot oil flow is controlled to achieve the
desired target temperature of the hot process stream, which minimizes the power consumption
of the circulation pumps. The process duties are usually arranged in parallel, which is often
not the optimum configuration. The optimum network structure (series/parallel arrangement
and sequences) should be determined by Pinch Analysis, and the appropriate piping and
control system modifications should be made to approach the optimum design as closely as
possible.

Page 66 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

7.3.2

Multiple Loads, Multiple Heaters

This situation is less common, but does occur, eg. Safaniya Onshore Plants. The basic
principles and engineering approach are best illustrated with an example. Consider the case
where there are three desalter trains at a GOSP two for Arab Heavy crude, and one for Arab
Medium crude. All trains were built at different times, so the designs are not identical. The
design includes some process-process heat recovery, with the remaining feed heating duty
being provided by dedicated hot oil loops. The heating load is a function of flow rate, water
cut, and supply temperature from the wells, all of which vary with time.
Exhibit 7-5: Existing Process and Heater Configuration

Step one is to collect PI data for these variables and determine the heat load profile over 1 full
year (Exhibit 7-6).

Page 67 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 7-6: Process Heating Duty Histogram


Heat Load Distribution Profile
120

Days per year

100

80

60

40

20

0
250

300

350

400

450

500

550

600

650

Total Process Heating Duty, MMBtu/h

Next, we evaluate the potential savings that can be realized through two complementary load
management strategies - load sharing and load shifting strategies. The basic idea of load
sharing is to see if we can distribute the total process load among the available heaters in a
way that minimizes operating cost. If the different trains are not interconnected on the utility
side, then such jumpover pipes with appropriate controls must be added. This will effectively
create a single hot oil supply system, and provide the flexibility to supply process needs from
any one of the operating heaters. Exhibit 7-7 illustrates the piping modifications and additional
equipment required for both strategies. The red lines in represent the new jumpover piping.
The green dashed box represents the changes to the utility (CHP) system required to
introduce additional degrees of freedom for load shifting.
Sample calculations for potential savings from load sharing are presented in Exhibits 7-8 and
7-9. For the sake of simplicity, only two time periods (eg. summer & winter) have been
considered. In actual practice it would be necessary to perform these calculations for each
period over the total load range shown in Exhibit 7-6.
The load shifting approach was described earlier in section 3.1. The idea is to introduce a new
heat exchanger in series which can do a portion of heating duty with a lower cost utility, such
as steam. Typically the marginal cost of effective process heating with steam is about 75-85%
that of hot oil, depending on the steam pressure and the path that it follows through the CHP
system. The more significant benefit of having a steam heater in series, however, is that it can
extend the range of process throughput over which N fired heaters can be operated before
starting up the N+1 th. Exhibit 7-10 presents the estimated savings for this scenario,
significantly higher than load sharing alone, though not without some associated capital cost.
Finally, it should be noted that such a steam heater can be designed to be switchable between
LP steam and HP steam. This extends the run time between shutdowns for HX cleaning.

Page 68 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 7-7: Proposed Heater Configuration for Optimum Load Management

Exhibit 7-8: Furnace Data

Page 69 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 7-9: Savings Potential from Furnace Load Sharing Policy

Exhibit 7-10: Savings Potential from Load Sharing plus Shifting

7.4

Load Management of Furnace Auxiliaries

Auxiliary systems for fired heaters include burners, combustion air supply fans (always forced
draft; ID fans are not used because of high temperature), and fuel oil pumps.
7.3.3

Burners

The considerations for load management of burners described in section 6.3 for boilers applies
for fired heaters as well. The main difference is that burners in fired heaters tend to be smaller
and more numerous (typically 12-24) than in boilers, mainly to provide more accurate control
of the temperature profile in the firebox.

Page 70 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 7-11: Average Burner Number and Size in Fired Heaters

Source: Baukal, John Zink Combustion Handbook, CRC Press (2001), p 12

Exhibit 7-12: Optimum Excess Air Ranges for Common Fuels

Source: Baukal, John Zink Combustion Handbook, CRC Press (2001), p 490

Exhibit 7-13: Adiabatic Flame Temperatures for Various Fuels with 15% Excess Ambient Air

Source: Baukal, John Zink Combustion Handbook, CRC Press (2001), pp 45, 61

One way to get higher temperatures in the fire box (radiant section) is through the use of fuel
and air preheating in the convection section of the furnace. The relationship between air
supply temperature and adiabatic flame can be directly and easily calculated from the
combustion-side heat and material balance.
Higher temperatures in the fire box have the advantage of higher capacity due to better heat
transfer driving forces, as explained below. However, there are significant disadvantages and
risks as well. One is that NOx emissions increase exponentially with flame temperature.
Coking rates also increase, though not exponentially. The second more serious disadvantage
is that if spot temperatures in the fire box exceed allowable limits, the heater tubes could
rupture, because the mechanical strength of metals drops off sharply at high temperatures.
Nevertheless, the air-preheat control scheme shown in Exhibit 7-15 offers an opportunity to
increase the capacity of the fired heater, at least on a short term basis. By enabling a furnace
to temporarily exceed its nominal design capacity, the need to start up a second furnace can

Page 71 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

be avoided. The energy efficiency of the heater is also improved, as seen from Exhibit 7-16.
Maintaining the proper distribution of fuel and air to each burner is critically important. See
section 6.3.1, especially Exhibit 6-9.

Exhibit 7-14: Adiabatic Flame Temperature vs Air Preheat (for Stoichiometric Air)

Source: Baukal, John Zink Combustion Handbook, CRC Press (2001), p 62

Exhibit 7-15: Furnace Capacity Control System Based on Combustion Air Preheat

Page 72 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

Exhibit 7-16: Improved Furnace Efficiency with Combustion Air Preheat

Observe in Exhibit 7-16 that when operating at lower than design capacity, no air preheating is
needed, as the required firebox temperature to accomplish the process heating duty is lower
than would be obtained with the design excess air ratio. In such a situation, the excess air
ratio should be increased (to 20%, in this example) in order to avoid exceeding the target
process temperature (eg. to prevent fouling or evaporation).
7.3.4

Air Supply FD Fans

Normally only a single air supply fan is used for each heater. If there multiple heaters are
located in close proximity, however, the introduction of a header system similar to that shown
in Exhibit 6-11 could open up some opportunity for energy savings through load management.
One has to be careful though that the required air supply pressures and fan performance
characteristics are compatible.

Page 73 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

7.3.5

Fuel Pumps

Normally, only a single fuel supply pump is used even for multiple parallel heaters (although
with an installed spare for emergencies), so the question of load management does not arise.

7.5

WHB Opportunities

Fired heaters typically have very low overall efficiencies, because the flue gas exhaust
temperatures are much higher than for steam boilers. This offers an opportunity for steam
generation in a waste heat boiler immediately downstream of the convection section of the
heater, as illustrated in Exhibit 7-17. Although, strictly this is more a HEN optimization (Pinch
Analysis) issue than a load management issue, the two are intimately related and cannot be
divorced.
The addition of a WHB at the back end of a fired heater or thermal oxidizer (as in Claus sulfur
plants) introduces a new degree of freedom, and can have significant implications for load
management of the comprehensive CHP system, as described in Section 6.4.

Exhibit 7-17: Improved Furnace Efficiency by Addition of a WHB

Page 74 of 75

Document Responsibility: P&CSD/Energy Systems Division


SABP-A-008
Issue Date: 21 July 2013
Next Planned Update: TBD
Load Management for Energy Efficiency: Heat Transfer Equipment

When the convection coil (or even an external HX) is used for steam generation as opposed to
air preheating, furnace efficiency can be maintained at a high level even under low process
load conditions, because any heat that is not absorbed by the process fluid will be recovered
as steam, which in turn will help to back off boiler fuel.

12 March 2011
21 July 2013

Revision Summary
Reaffirmed the contents of the document, and reissued with editorial changes.
Editorial revision to change document responsibility name from P&CSD/Energy Systems Unit
to P&CSD/Energy Systems Division.

Page 75 of 75