Steam availability is a key resource and constraint in an ethylene plant and where turbines are used for energy optimization. A steam leak and steam trap maintenance program is an important part of the steam management and availability as it translates into lost energy and system inefficiencies through failed-open and improper trap operation. Additionally, improperly designed or poorly operating systems can lead to several system integrity problems for plant personnel such as internal erosion from two phase flow, water hammer from improper header sizing, and liquid trapped in the line inducing water hammer, and water hammer by other root causes which can damage equipment. The BASF TOTAL Port Arthur site has recognized several issues and opportunities from analysis of the steam system for energy savings, improved reliability, and safer operation.
Through the recognition of potential energy losses the BASF TOTAL Port Arthur facility annually performs steam trap maintenance. These efforts have recognized a significant savings over the last 6 years. Additionally, these efforts have uncovered design issues that increase uptime, add to process efficiencies, and make the operational units safer to operate. These efforts represent a partnership between the site and steam trap subject matter experts to uncover opportunities and provide solutions to recover otherwise lost condensate and conserve energy. This experience offers a model for developing a steam trap maintenance program and design review.
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