(60am) Impact of Drag Reducing Agents in Product Fuels on Filtration Performance | AIChE

(60am) Impact of Drag Reducing Agents in Product Fuels on Filtration Performance


Yuan, Y., Pentair
Rodano, E., Pentair
Lusk, J., Pentair
Drag reducing agents (DRA) are commonly used polymeric chemicals in the process and pipeline industry. The unique properties of DRA allow for the reduction in friction and turbulence at the pipe wall. This reduces pumping and transportation costs for both raw crude and refined products. Although DRA is added intentionally, it can easily become a contaminant that causes issues downstream if it persists in product fuels after reaching the terminal. Generally, most of the DRA that is injected into product pipelines is assumed to be sheared into small molecules via turbulence induced polymer chain scission. However, unsheared or partially sheared DRA often remain in fuels after transport, which may cause problems for end-users. DRA has been cited as the culprit for issues with clogging of fuel injectors and fuel filters for end-users of diesel and other hydrocarbon fuel products. As a result, it is sometimes preferable for refiners and fuel wholesalers to ensure that their products have minimal to no persisting DRA contamination prior to sale.

Given that DRA contamination in product fuels is still an emerging issue, very few studies on the best removal and treatment methods currently exist in the literature. To this end, a study was conducted to investigate the effectiveness of using filtration technology to remove DRA from a product diesel fuel. A custom filtration test apparatus was utilized to perform laboratory testing to evaluate filter performance, and a new rapid method to characterize the level of DRA contamination in product fuel was developed and utilized to benchmark the performance of a media filter. The method shows promise for rapid, qualitative determination of the DRA contamination in product fuels. The impacts of DRA on filter life and removal efficiency are discussed from an industrial perspective. Data from field pilot testing at a Midwestern fuel distribution terminal is also presented to further supported the laboratory data.