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RE: refineries

I think you got some good response on your P2 question for 
refineries. I would like to offer some of my thoughts on the subject 
having been an operator for 10 years in two different oil refineries. 
Below are some low tech things you can ask about and do some research 
on that you may be able to help the company with.

Steam traps-invariably broken or clogged; are many times bypassed 
because they are faulty and are huge resource hogs-on the power 
plant, corrosion chemical use, and operator and mechanics labor. 
Flow controllers are many times rigged up to prevent faulty readings 
on high viscosity side streams (especially in colder environments) 
and many times the operators will just run a steam line up there, 
crank it open a bit and then forget about it.  A good O&M program for 
steam trap maintenance can save lots a bucks for  a plant.

Heat exchangers and energy covered pretty well, but talk to the 
process operators-are the exchangers being utilized fully-are the 
bypasses around the exchangers leaking or open for temperature 
control?  Common problem and many times used for temperature control 
instead of optimizing the other operations.  Sometimes it's necessary-
the tower trays may be screwed up, fouled or upset. Corrosion and 
fouling weren't big problems for us and we ran some of the worst sour 
crude feedstock-but if it is a problem, I'd say talk to the engineers-
because some antifouling chemicals have been known to wreck havoc 
with other operations, such as desalting operations and cooling tower 
maintenance. Heat exchangers are intricately tied into the process 
operations and although they can offer tremendous energy recoup, 
you'll really need to know alot about the processes....

Heaters:  heater offer a huge opportunity for energy savings.  Look 
for flame inpingement, even burner distribution  (and use) if a lot 
of burners have been taken out for repair on a frequent basis, then 
they ought to look at the corrosivity of the fuel gas or metallurgy 
in the burner tips.  Preheaters on heaters (heat the air used) and  
need to be optimized, and also excess air.  Many operators will run 
with excess air way up around 4-7% so that they can take a bounce in 
the process (ie: if the feedstock cools and the heater controller 
tells the fuel gas to open there better be excess air there or you 
could go O2 deficient-not a good thing and that's why they'll crank 
the air up. Usually see this after daylight shift when operators get 
a little more lax--check through control charts or ask operators for 
a record of their excess air (it's tracked) and then talk to engineer 
about recommended levels).  Depending on the heater, excess air 
should be minimal but requires more operator attention to prevent a 
hazardous situation from developing.   

Pump efficiency: are operators pinching mechanical valves (suction) 
to unload the pump or discharge valve to raise the discharge pressure 
for some reason?  Is there a check valve leaking on the back up pump 

The are many, many other "little things" to look at:
Cooling towers
cooling water flows
water use for cleaning
detergent use for cleaning
compressed air use
I would work with engineer and head operators at each unit.  Ask the 
operators where they see excess waste and energy use.  Good Luck!
Please feel free to call me if you'd like more info.
sherry davis

Sherry J. Davis, CHMM
Industrial P2 Specialist
133 Ward Hall,KSU
Manhattan, KS  66506-2508
Fax: 785-532-6952
Phone: 1-800-578-8898