May 1998

Heat Transfer

Heat-flux imbalances in fired heaters cause operating problems

Use pass flowrates and outlet temperatures to identify inefficient performance

Martin, G. R., Process Consulting Services, Inc.

Fired heater performance is affected by heat-flux imbalances in the individual heater passes. These imbalances impact the rate of coke formation and heater run-length. Radiant section average heat flux is not a good indicator of coking potential on many heaters. Heater pass flowrates and outlet temperatures are more reliable indicators of heat-flux imbalances. Refinery fired heater heat-flux imbalances can cause high coke-formation rates and high tube metal temperatures. These imbalances reduce unit capacity, lower distillate yields or require unscheduled and premature heater shutdowns to remove the coke, all of which affect refinery profitability. Many refinery crude, crude vacuum, visb

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