Engineers at work in front of oil and gas tanks

Fouling inhibitor programmes increase production in petrochemical plants.

In petrochemical plants, there are many locations, where fouling is observed. Fouling deposits can come from contaminants in process streams or chemical reactions. They are the result of undesired oxidation, polymerisation, sedimentation and condensation processes. Reactive compounds are ethylene, acetylene, propylene, butadiene, styrene or other unsaturated components. Trace amounts of oxygen or oxygen-containing compounds promote the formation of gums and polymers. Fouling can be severe when monomers convert to polymers like the formation of „popcorn polymers“ from butadiene fouling. The most prevalent areas for polymerisation fouling are ethylene and styrene plants.

At high temperatures, the coking of hydrocarbons causes thermal fouling. Steam cracking furnaces mainly suffer from coke fouling. Heavy polynuclear aromatics (PNA) can precipitate onto the tube walls of the cracking furnaces. The PNA´s will dehydrogenate to form coke.  In petrochemical plants, the use of sulfur components is well established to control coke fouling. The injection of a sulfiding agent is the historical method for coke reduction. The sulfiding agent is typically applied to the dilution steam of steam cracker furnaces. DMS or DMDS are proven sulfiding agents for steam cracking operations. Both additives have several drawbacks. Kurita´s Cut Coke Technology is an alternative to that sulfiding products. We have many years of practical experience with the injection of polysulfides in petrochemical plants. Our polymeric sulfur formulation offers a safer and easier-to-use handling. It improves the run length of your cracking furnaces. This helps to increase your ethylene production.

Chemical fouling is caused by free radical polymerisation, Aldol condensation or Diels Alder condensation reactions. All these reactions can form insoluble fouling reaction products. Free radical polymerisation can happen at many different petrochemical processes. The most prevalent areas for polymerisation fouling are ethylene and styrene plants. The nature of the fouling deposits can be quite complex. To improve the ethylene production high-performing antifoulant programmes are required. The polymerisation can be controlled in the propagation and termination phase. Kurita´s antifoulant programmes terminate free radical reactions. They stop the chain transfer of hydrogen radicals or other reactive components. This will stop the polymerisation.

During ethylene production fouling in the raw gas, compression is an omnipresent thread. It reduces the performance of the cracked gas compressor and may lead to vibrations. Based on decades of experience Kurita developed a treatment concept, especially for raw gas compressors. The applied antioxidants and antipolymerants show excellent results. They do not cause a formation of hazardous nitrated dienes in the cold part of ethylene units.

Kurita adapts the antifoulant treatment concepts individually to your needs.  We combine the products and monitoring tools in compliance with your tasks and requirements:

  • Radical catchers (scavengers)
  • Dispersants
  • Oxygen scavengers
  • Stabilizers
  • Antioxidants
  • Metal deactivators

Do you need support? Our qualified experts will be glad to advise you personally and individually.

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