[Johannesburg, 10 August 2015] A leading supplier of high-end and specialised equipment to the oil and gas industries in Southern Africa since 2001, Energas Technologies has supplied a packaged heating system for a local oil storage facility upgrade.
Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) is stored in large tanks and has a high viscosity at ambient temperature. Before loading into tanker trucks, the HFO needs to be heated in order to reduce the viscosity.
Laetitia Botha, Product Engineer for Energas Technologies, notes, “In order to address this need, we have supplied an HTT packaged heating system, which will be used to heat up this heavy fuel oil from 20˚C to 80˚C. The system comprises a gas-fired oil heater and thermal oil circulation system as well as a control system and heat exchangers.” She adds, “The packaged unit is fully automated and fitted with local control systems, process control and instrumentation equipment. The control system is interfaced with the local RTU PLC, which means that making changes on the heater units remotely is a possibility.”
The HTT packaged heating system boasts a number of advantages, including:
- Increased productivity due to higher process temperatures
- Lower investment costs due to lower operating pressure of the thermal oil compared to steam
- Lower operating and personnel costs through unattended operation
- Low maintenance costs
- World-class product support
The modern three-pass design of the heating system’s burner brings state-of-the-art heater technology to the project. Botha explains how the system works: “The heat transfer medium flows through two concentric coiled tubes in the heaterthat are connected in series and the hotflue gases are guided by means of defined annular gaps in the counterflow. In contrast with the conventional type of construction, the flue gases are recirculated twice inside the apparatus; in the second and third passes, their energy is delivered to the transfer medium by means of convection.”
Apart from the extremely compact design of the package, the outstanding advantage of the HTT principle is that it dispenses with a fireclay-lined furnace. This permits heat storage masses to be reduced to a minimum, a particularly impressive breakthrough which eliminates the thermal overloading of the heat transfer medium that was previously unavoidable in the event of an unscheduled shutdown, and an important step towards maintenance-free heaters. The system is operated either with natural gas or with LPG.
The complete heat transfer facility was installed outdoors, so all the components had to be weather resistant and winterised. This meant that all the equipment had to be fitted with a rainproof weather jacket to guard against inclement weather, as well as high quality corrosion protection. HTT’s service team from Germany will commission the heater system on site and train the personnel.
Investing in energy
On the subject of investment in energy in South Africa, Botha notes, “Energy has always been very affordable in South Africa compared to European countries,”continuing, “But times are changing now and the industry will have to consider investments that are more energy efficient in the long run. We often find that projects are driven by initial capital investment costs or savings and do not always take the long-term benefits of paying for quality into account.”
Paying a premium upfront for better technology with higher efficiency could save millions in running costs throughout a plant’s lifetime and ROI can often be achieved within 12 to 24 months. “This is what Energas Technologies, with the world-class product support of HTT, aims to achieve with the heavy fuel oil depot upgrade. As a leading supplier to this market, no one else knows the value of energy quite like we do. And we know how to save it,” Botha concludes.
The project began in October 2014 and is set to be completed on time by September 2015.HTT has been manufacturing thermal oil heating systems since 1967 and to date over 11000 units have been delivered worldwide, ranging from small lab arrangements right up to highly complex reactor temperature control equipment.