Significant Energy Savings Achievable Even at "Smaller" Refineries

By Robert F. Dubil

Carmagen Engineering, Inc. (CEI) provided fired heater support to a team of process and equipment specialists performing energy assessments at two “smaller” refineries that were located near each other. The team’s mission was to identify major energy losses, quantify their costs, and to advise the client on ways to reduce or eliminate these losses. In several cases, these energy losses could be reduced through relatively low-cost means.

Although the refineries are relatively small (20-22 kB/SD), the team identified a total of over $3M per year combined potential energy savings for both refineries (about 20% of their total energy cost) at an investment of about $3.5M. However, about 70% of the total energy savings could be realized at no or low cost.

The total energy savings attributed to the fired heater area alone were estimated to be approximately $450k/yr at effectively no or low investment cost. These include some basic instrumentation (locations) to allow more efficient firing, as well as reducing furnace casing leakage. In other cases, significant savings can be achieved by operational/procedural changes and energy-focused operator training.

The total engineering effort expended by CEI on this study from beginning to end was less than two weeks! Thus, there was a fantastic return on the engineering cost expended.