HLPS Anti-Fouling Testing
Crude oil and refinery intermediate products have a tendency to foul heat exchangers. This fouling reduces the thermal efficiency of the heat exchanger which increases energy costs and can reduce process flow rates. Several major companies, including NalcoChampion, Athlon Solutions and GE Water & Process Technologies sell anti-fouling additives that can be used to reduce the fouling rate and improve efficiency.
The Alcor Hot Liquid Process Simulator, or HLPS, is a single-phase, laminar flow tube-in-shell heat exchanger that can be used to simulate the fouling effect of crude oil and intermediate products. The fluid is pumped across a heater tube under controlled conditions and fouling deposits are formed on the heater tube. The effect of the deposits on heat exchanger efficiency is measured by monitoring the oil temperature as oil exits the heat exchanger. The absolute amount of deposits on the heater tube is also measured.
The decrease in oil temperature between initial peak and the end of the test is called Delta T. There is a correlation between deposit weight and Delta T. The effectiveness of an additive can be measured by comparing test results from a neat sample to a sample blended with an additive under identical test conditions. Different additives and concentrations can be easily compared in an environment that simulates the actual conditions inside the refinery process. The HLPS test can also be used to evaluate the coking tendency of different crudes and crude blends.
A variation of the test method is used to measure fouling tendencies of refinery intermediates. The deposit amount is not large enough to weigh, so a bypass loop is created through a fine filter. The pressure drop across the filter is measured during the test. As the filter fouls, the pressure drop increases. Adding an anti-fouling additive in the appropriate concentration can significantly delay the fouling process and reduce the pressure drop across the filter.
Alcor Petrolab has extensive experience working with the HLPS instrument and creating customized test parameters that simulate actual process conditions. Tests can be run at temperatures up to 500°C and pressures of 1,200 PSI. We can test liquids as light as naphtha and as heavy as 10 API that are solid at room temperature. The HLPS instrument can be configured in Delta T or Delta P modes with single-pass and recirculating feed. Heater tubes are available in 1018 steel, 316 steel and aluminum.
Alcor Petrolab can work with you using our standard test conditions or we can work together to develop custom methods and equipment modifications if needed. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you simulate your process and increase efficiency.