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Preventing fouling in heater fuel gas line

Home Forums Coking Technical Heaters & Furnaces Preventing fouling in heater fuel gas line

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Mike Kimbrell 4 years, 8 months ago.

  • Author
  • #28602


    Hello,I am currently working as procces engieneer in a DC unit. I would like to know if anyone has experienced fouling in the furnace fuel gas feed pipes and what have you done to prevent it.
    Our DC uses sweet fuel gas, because we don’t have a gas treatment unit yet.

    Thanks in advance

  • #28604

    Evan Hyde

    Hi. Is the new unit or the existing one? Is your fuel gas coming from an outside source (not refinery fuel gas)?

    You should investigate if the fouling is due to entrained amines and pipe corrosion products. That should be fixed up stream of the DCU. You must ensure you have not exceeded the vapor velocity limits for the main fuel gas KO pot in the DCU to prevent entrainment fouling. Some plants use SS piping for the FG system but this is $$$$.

    How heavy is the tail end? Are you experiencing burner tip fouling? Consider individual coalescers at each furnace especially if you have Ultra-low NOx burners.

  • #28606

    Mike Kimbrell

    Burner tips can become plugged for several reasons. If there are any C3 olefins in the fuel gas, they will polymerize at the burner tip and plug the holes with a carbonaceous substance. Corrosion products can plug the burner tips as well. Typically, the refinery fuel gas is treated with an aqueous amine that saturates the fuel gas with water at temperatures higher than ambient. As the fuel gas is routed to individual heaters the temperature decreases and water will condense. Carbon steel piping will corrode and it is those corrosion products that can plug the burner tips. As Evan indicates, having a coalescer and knock out pot for each branch of the fuel gas system should prevent that moisture from reaching the burners. It is common for the fuel as piping to be constructed of stainless steel downstream of the coalescer. Some installations have the fuel gas lines heat traced and insulated downstream of the knock out pot. There are concerns about corrosion under insulation as the piping does not operate at high enough temperatures to prevent that damage mechanism.

    Plugging the fuel gas line is not very common. If the fuel gas has H2S, liquid water and oxygen in contact with one another, a chemical reaction will occur that will form elemental sulfur. It is possible for that deposit to plug large diameter lines.

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