Italian energy firm Eni S.p.A. (Rome, Italy) and Oceanit (Honululu, Hawaii) presented the results of a collaborative pilot program at last November’s Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, which demonstrated the potential to reduce carbon emissions from a single power plant by 17,000 tons annually. The 12-month pilot was conducted at Eni’s Nikaitchuq upstream facility in Alaska, USA, where Oceanit applied its novel nanocomposite treatment HeatX to combat fouling and corrosion issues in heat exchanger (HX) systems.
The negative impacts of fouling and corrosion on HX systems is well documented in the energy industry, inflicting losses in HX efficiency and productivity. According to the companies, HX surfaces treated with HeatX showed a 97% improvement compared with untreated control surfaces, preserving heat transfer performance, preventing fouling, and reducing the need for supplemental heating in the treated system.
These efficiency benefits affected a direct reduction in fuel burned and emissions released. Eni data shows that HeatX nanocomposite, when fully deployed at their Alaska facility across all HX systems, could reduce annual facility emissions by over 17,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
HeatX is an ultrathin surface treatment that creates an extremely low surface energy, making it difficult for any deposit or fouling to adhere to treated surfaces. HeatX had previously proven its capacity to mitigate fouling in seawater-fed HX systems at a powerplant in Hawaii, but the collaboration in Alaska was the first time HeatX was tested in a refinery setting.
During the one-year pilot, a produced-water exchanger (PWX) was treated with HeatX, and a nearby sales-oil production exchanger (SOPX) in the same process train was left as an untreated control. Despite the fact that the PWX handled unprocessed crude oil, while the SOPX handled the same product after processing, the HeatX-treated PWX experienced no surface buildup or deposits during the deployment, while the control SOPX experienced significant buildup and exchanger tube obstruction.
In a technical presentation and accompanying paper, Eni showed how the pilot results represent significant potential for carbon emissions reductions for global refineries. At the Eni test facility, preserving heat transfer efficiency averted emissions would equal the annual carbon sequestration capacity of 19,500 acres (7,891.65 ha) of forest.
Now that the HeatX technology has been proven and the economic benefits have been qualified on a pilot unit in the field trial, Eni will deploy the HeatX nanocomposite on its production exchangers in a nearby North Slope facility.
Source: Oceanit, www.oceanit.com.