Ethylene Cracking Furnace operators are under continuing pressure to increase furnace efficiency. Fuel costs, environmental concerns and reduced maintenance budgets demand that unit reliability and efficiency be kept at a high level. Our paper will discuss an operational problem common to high temperature furnaces: the restriction of cold air entry into the furnace through shell penetrations. Properly designed and installed furnace penetration seals will reduce tramp air ingress, thereby providing improved heat distribution and hot gas flow, reduced NOx emissions, and enhanced furnace efficiency. Additional benefits include reduced heat loss, protection of adjacent steel structure, and personnel safety enhancement. Using a case history of an installation at a major Mid-West olefins plant, we will show how sealing systems can improve operational performance and efficiencies. We will also show how renewal of an aged refractory lining can have a positive effect on furnace performance through more even heat distribution in the radiant box.
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