A Packinox heat exchanger is ideal for demanding heat recovery duties in processes with high pressures and temperatures. Its outstanding thermal performance, superior hydraulic efficiency and low CAPEX allow you to optimize energy efficiency, increase profitability and improve sustainability. A Packinox enables higher yield and recovers more heat than a shell-and-tube solution, resulting in better ROI and a lower environmental impact.
- Lower OPEX – The high heat recovery leads to substantial energy savings. Maintenance costs are also low thanks to minimal fouling.
- Lower CAPEX – A single Packinox can replace several large shell-and-tubes and makes it possible to operate processes with smaller furnaces and cooling
- Higher process yield thanks to a low pressure drop, optimal liquid/gas mixing, high operating flexibility and a fully customized design.
- Reliable, proven technology – More than 350 units in operation worldwide.
- Real-time monitoring and continuous optimization by Alfa Laval experts.
Packinox heat exchangers combine the high-pressure and high-temperature resistance of shell-and-tube heat exchangers with the outstanding heat transfer performance of plate heat exchangers. A single Packinox heat exchanger outperforms systems consisting of multiple large shell-and-tubes, both in terms of heat recovery and investment costs. Due to its many advantages, Packinox has become the industry standard combined feed/effluent heat exchanger in catalytic reformers and paraxylene plants. The potential OPEX reduction in these applications is significant, and choosing the right heat exchanger has a great impact on energy bills.
New plate design improves thermal efficiency
Alfa Laval’s new Wide Opening Design heat transfer plates have many benefits:
- 50% lower pressure drop over the distribution areas compared to the previous design. This makes it possible to either increase heat recovery, reduce the size of the heat exchanger or to lower the overall pressure in the process.
- 30% higher mechanical strength and higher resistance to thermo-mechanical stress.
- Improved flow and pressure distribution, which improves operability and lifting, making it possible for plant operators to run processes with a lower flow of recycle gas and thereby increase yield.
New software tool raises yield and reliability
The yield in catalytic reforming and xylene production depends on the ratio of the liquid feed and recycle gas flows. Setting the right gas flow is critical. If it is too low, the gas will not be able to lift the droplets of liquid feed through the heat exchanger. This causes poor performance and, at worst, serious damage to the heat exchanger. If the gas flow is too high, the pressure in the process will be higher than necessary, which causes lower yield. It will also lead to higher energy consumption in the compressor.
Alfa Laval Packinox has developed the Lifting Controller, a unique software tool that helps plant operators set the optimum flow rate of the recycle gas. The Lifting Controller software is implemented in the plant’s control system and continuously analyses operating data. Based on the analysis, the system indicates if the gas flow needs to be adjusted. This gives plant operators high flexibility in how they wish to operate their plant and ensures sufficient lifting.
In order to offer maximum accuracy and operating reliability, the Lifting Controller software is customized to each specific heat exchanger and its operating conditions.
How it works
The recycle gas enters the heat exchanger at the bottom and passes the Spray Bars on its way into the plate pack. The liquid feed enters from the side and is sprayed into the gas by the Spray Bars. This ensures a perfect mix of liquid feed and recycle gas, which facilitates lifting and makes it possible to operate the unit on a high liquid-to-gas ratio for maximum yield.
The feed/gas mixture moves up through the plate pack while the reactor effluent travels in the opposite direction. The highly turbulent, counter-current flow ensures that most of the heat from the reactor effluent is recovered and heats the cold feed. The hot approach temperature can be as low as 25°C (45°F).
The outstanding heat recovery reduces the load on both the reactor heater and the cooling system compared to using other types of heat exchangers, thereby reducing both OPEX and CAPEX.
“Over the years we have been very satisfied with the performance of our Packinox heat exchanger and the support we have received from Alfa Laval.” – Petr Mĕstka is Head of Technology and Research at Unipetrol
US Refinery, Gulf Coast
Read about the record short delivery time experienced by a US refinery when it replaced the plate bundle in its Packinox heat exchanger.
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We will be happy to discuss the benefits a Packinox heat exchanger can bring you and show how we can help improve your operation.
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