Operability and Technical Implementation Issues Related to Heat Integration Measures-Interview Study at an Oil Refinery in Sweden
Journal article, 2020
In many energy-intensive industrial process plants, significant improvements in energy efficiency can be achieved through increased heat recovery. However, retrofitting plants for heat integration purposes can affect process operability. The aim of this paper is to present a comprehensive overview of such issues by systematically relating different types of heat recovery retrofit measures to a range of technical barriers associated with process operability and practical implementation of the measures. The paper presents a new approach for this kind of study, which can be applied in the early-stage screening of heat integration retrofit measures. This approach accounts for the importance of a number of selected operability factors and their relative significance. The work was conducted in the form of a case study at a large oil refinery. Several conceptual heat exchanger network retrofit design proposals were prepared and discussed during semi-structured interviews with technical staff at the refinery. The results show that many operability and practical implementation factors, such as spatial limitations, pressure drops and non-energy benefits, influence the opportunities for implementation of different types of heat exchanger network retrofit measures. The results indicate that it is valuable to consider these factors at an early stage when designing candidate heat exchanger network retrofit measures. The interview-based approach developed in this work can be applied to other case studies for further confirmation of the results.