David Williams - Berthold Technologies GmbH
With Thermo announcing that they are no longer taking orders for the neutron Backscatter gauges, this leaves refiners with a question about what to do especially for a failure. We will explain the options available and the added benefits to retrofitting the neutron backscatter gauges with gamma gauges.
I graduated from the US Navy Nuclear Power School and spent 10 years operating nuclear reactors for the navy where we not only operated but performed the troubleshooting and repairs as well. After leaving the US Navy, I finished my degree in Nuclear Engineering. I started at Ohmart working on nuclear gauging and one of my first project with them was to work on the delayed coking solution. Over the years, I have added several features to the level system. After 17 years with Ohmart, Ohmart/VEGA, VEGA, I left and joined Berthold since their focus is nuclear gauging. I have been working around radiation and radiation detection for almost 32 years.
I have been involved with the startup of over 45 grassroot delayed coking units and revamps of over 60 more in the last 20 years. I have been to over 125 coking units around the world to advise on the nuclear levels either NBS and/or Gamma continuous. I have used this unique situation not only to learn about the delayed coking process but collect data and experience. I have been able to use this knowledge and correlated it for some unique understandings of the foaming dynamics in the coke drum during normal and abnormal operating conditions. This knowledge of the coking process, learnings of the foaming tendencies and deep understanding of how nuclear gauges work has allowed me to develop the coke drum level measurement system from a stand-alone gauge to a complete system that automatically adjusts for changes in the process. This allows the operator to gain confidence in the process to increase throughput in the unit safely, understand the limitations of the process and develop some advance controls.