Once a plant is built and operations has
pushed its performance envelope, the next logical step for
increased capacities is incremental debottlenecking.
Maximizing your existing plant’s capacity with little capital
expenditure can greatly increase profitability since fixed
costs stay relatively constant while income increases. Usually
an existing plant can be debottlenecked much cheaper than new
facilities can be built. Some plants have been debottlenecked
several times so that their actual capacity is several times
their original design capacity! Some inexpensive
debottlenecking items that can lead to large capacity
- Optimize the process flow and tower
feed and draw locations.
- Install extended surface tubes on
shell and tube exchangers. Remember to account for the
smaller tube ID’s and hence higher pressure drops.
- Consider de-passing exchangers to
alleviate high pressure drops. This can many times be done
very inexpensively, but the exchangers should be modeled
before changes are made.
- Replace 1" exchanger tubes with ¾"
tubes for more surface area.
- Install high capacity trays or
packing in highly loaded zones.
- Install feed preheat on heat limited
or towers that are flooding in the bottom section.
- Reduce feed preheat on towers limited
by flooding in the top section.
- Consider using idle or used equipment