Bronswerk Heat Transfer - Smart engineering

With fluctuating costs and tightening regulations, oil and gas companies are under pressure to improve the efficiency of their operations. Bronswerk Heat Transfer has four solutions that can offer companies significant technical and financial improvements.

The oil and gas market faces enormous challenges: demands are ever increasing, new resources are more difficult to reach, prices fluctuate because of political instability and environmental interests conflict with economic interests. EU regulations on CO2 emissions, meanwhile, force industries to become 2% more energy-efficient every year.

Fortunately, oil and gas processes do indeed offer room for efficiency improvement, in terms of energy, maintenance, amount of material used and process design. The following four solutions may help companies perform better technically and financially.

1. Less material: the compact header

Shell-and-tube heat exchangers with extreme high pressure on the tube side require voluminous and exceptionally strong construction using up a lot of material. This all adds up to volume, energy and raw materials - reasons for Bronswerk to develop a special design known as the compact header, which needs only a fraction of the material normally required. This translates into substantial weight reductions for the superstructures of offshore rigs and floating platforms.

Managing director Sjaak Remmerswaal says: "We supplied Petrobras with this solution and by doing so not only saved weight (and energy) but also made the maintenance process a lot safer and simpler, since the compact header heat exchangers are easier to clean."

2. Fouling prevention in the tubes: Klarex

If fouling occurs inside the tubes, this can be prevented by the Klarex heat exchanger, thanks to small metal particles injected at the flow inlet and removed at the flow outlet, causing turbulence in the tubes. Less fouling means less maintenance in terms of costs and chemicals, but in some applications the Klarex heat exchanger can also lead to enormous energy savings. When, for instance, crude oil is to be heated, the second heat exchanger can be switched to a Klarex heat exchanger. This creates energy savings because the steam, originally needed to heat the crude oil in the fouled second heat exchanger, can be reduced by half, as the Klarex heat exchanger stays clean.

3. Energy saving and noise reduction: the Whizz-Wheel

The Whizz-Wheel ultra-low-noise and ultra-high-efficiency fans were specially developed using the most sophisticated airflow-simulation software, with the goal of decreasing the acoustic load on the surroundings. They have also led to more than 50% energy savings, resulting directly in large CO2 emissions reductions.

Jeroen van Ruitenbeek, sales engineer, says: "For our client Technip, I calculated how much they would be saving in energy costs in ten years. They installed our Whizz-Wheel fan system in February 2012."

4. Process optimisation

The designer, and the operator and/or owner of a plant are the experts in the process layout of that plant. It is common practice in the oil business for these experts to define operations and processes in great detail.

Chief design engineer Johan van der Kamps says: "This means that companies like Bronswerk, who are experienced designers of components and systems, are only allowed to quote and build what the process expert has decided and 'unalterably' specified. Feedback of our know-how and experience is hardly ever allowed to take place."

In businesses other than oil, Bronswerk has shown that it can optimise the process, with great benefits for the owner of the plant. Thanks to Bronswerk, oil industry clients could save a significant part of the investment and operating costs if they would allow more feedback. Such process optimisation know-how could even double operational profits.

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