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Fired Heaters

Challenge:

  Common in refineries and chemical plants, fired heaters are both large energy users and critical to production operations.  Most importantly, heaters must deliver their output at a desired temperature and rate.  This becomes difficult; however, due​ to the fact that most units are primarily fired with fuels that differ in Btu per volume over time.  Variations in combustion heat release can lead to tube coking that limits throughput, output temperature changes that impact next stage processes, thermal inefficiency, and safety concerns from fuel rich events.  Even a small loss in efficiency has significant economic impact due to the amount of fuel consumed by a heater, and because they are scheduled to run for extended periods of time, small reductions in heater throughput can significantly harm plant production rates.

Solution:

The issues created by using variable Btu fuel in a fired heater can be overcome such that output temperature is stable, tube coking is minimized, thermal efficiency is raised, and safe firing is accomplished at all times.   To achieve optimal operation, proper field devices must be present and combustion control must be accomplished on a Btu basis.  Emerson helps heater owners obtain better performance by ensuring that required measurement and actuation devices are in place, and implementing full automatic “single knob” control with a constant Btu firing strategy.   Emerson’s SmartProcess® Heater solution reduces the effects of fuel Btu variations producing a more consistent heat release.  In addition, it balances  pass flows  to achieve maximum output temperature stability.  This reduces instances of tube coking so that heater throughput is maintained and saves fuel by maximizing thermal efficiency.

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