Equipment and technology improvements can be sound investments.
by Dave DePasquale, Siemens Industry, Inc.

Success Breeds More Success

With the proven success of the CCU’s motors and drives, in October 2010, the refinery decided to upgrading an existing gas flare recovery system. Like all flare stacks, the ones at the refinery are used to eliminate waste gas (and sometimes liquid), which otherwise cannot be used or transported. Most important, this recovery system is a safety stop-gap, reducing strain on equipment due to high pressure and protecting employees and facilities during an emergency situation.

A motor/drive combination, with VFDs, feature a cell bypass that ensures automatic bypass of a failed power cell, which provides uninterrupted operation, easy access to drive components and reduced repair time in the field.

The refinery installed four air-cooled drives and four medium-voltage motors to the flare gas recovery system. Working together, these motors and drives ensured that pressure relief valves on the equipment operated efficiently and vented during over-pressure situations. Because a small amount of gas was continuously released, similar to a pilot light on a stove, the VFD’s capabilities reduced costs by operating at low speeds or high speeds based on demand.

Operational Savings, Increased Production and No Shutdowns

With the new products on-board, the refinery has:

  • Increased production
  • Decreased operational and maintenance costs
  • Had no unscheduled shutdowns of the CCUs

The refinery will process higher sulfur content crude oils more cost effectively than sweeter, lighter oils. This helps to reduce costs. Because no new refineries have been built in the U.S. during the past 30 years and demand for petroleum products is rising at a steady rate, upgrades to equipment and technologies at existing refineries are sound investments.