Direct Fired Heaters

As a global market leader, BIH is a specialist in designing, engineering, supplying and manufacturing direct fired process heater systems to the downstream oil, gas and petrochemical industries. BIH provide high integrity solutions for a wide range of diverse applications that meet Client’s challenges with reliable, safe and cost-efficient solutions that have minimal environmental impact.

Direct Fired Heaters are designed to international standards such as API 560 or ISO13705 as a norm. In supplying heaters worldwide, BIH take into consideration the national standards of the country of installation; for example PED in Europe, ARH in Algeria, CU TR in Russia.

Direct Fired Heaters have historically been at the heart of refineries and BIH have supplied numerous crude and vacuum heaters for this purpose. The development into petrochemicals and gas has meant that BIH Fired Heaters are installed in many different processes including:

The type of Direct Fired Heaters supplied on these processes are diverse:

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Direct Fired Heaters

Designed with the engineering experience to provide the optimum solutions with quality and efficiency
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WHRUs

Onshore or Off-shore, we offer the solution to your Heat Recovery needs
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HRSGs

BIH specialise in the design and supply of Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs)
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Managing equipment delivery effectively saving you engineering, logistical and installation costs
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Reboiling Process

Direct Fired Heater Reboiling refers to the provision of heat to the bottom of industrial distillation columns, boiling the liquid from the bottom of a distillation column to generate vapors which are returned to the column to drive the distillation separation. The heat supplied to the column by the reboiler at the bottom of the column is removed by the condenser at the top of the column. Proper reboiling operation is vital to effective distillation. In a typical classical distillation column, all the vapor driving the separation comes from the reboiler. The direct fired heater reboiler receives a liquid stream from the column bottom and may partially or completely vaporize that stream. Steam usually provides the heat required for the vaporization. BIH supply reboiler furnaces used in such application.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium (IV) oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula TiO2. Generally, it is sourced from ilmenite, rutile and anatase. It has a wide range of applications, including paint, sunscreen and food colouring. It has been estimated that titanium dioxide is used in two-thirds of all pigments. BIH supply furnaces used in the production of Titanium Dioxide.

Solvent Deasphalting

Solvent deasphalting (SDA) is a separation process in which residues are selectively separated by molecular type by mixing with paraffinic solvents and precipitating out of solution asphaltenes and other residue heavy components. SDA produces a low-contaminant, relatively high hydrogen deasphalted oil product (DAO) and a pitch product that contains the majority of the residue’s contaminants (metals, asphaltenes, CCR). Depending on the DAO quality, it can be used for lubes base oil feedstock, for vacuum gas oil conversion feedstock or for residue hydrocracking feedstock. The pitch product is typically used for delayed coking feedstock, as a fuel oil blending component, gasifier feed, or in some cases can be blended into asphalts. Solvents range from propane for lubes applications through pentane for residue hydrocracking applications. BIH supply furnaces for processes utilising both the DAO as well as the pitch product.

Steam Methane Reforming

Steam reforming or steam methane reforming is a chemical synthesis for producing syngas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide) from hydrocarbons such as natural gas. This is achieved in a reformer which reacts steam at high temperature and pressure with methane in the presence of a nickel catalyst. The steam methane reformer is widely used in industry to make hydrogen.

Dehydrogenation

Propane dehydrogenation (PDH) converts propane into propene and by-product hydrogen. The propene from propane yield is about 85 m%. Reaction by-products (mainly hydrogen) are usually used as fuel for the propane dehydrogenation reaction. As a result, propene tends to be the only product, unless local demand exists for hydrogen. This route is popular in regions, such as the Middle East, where there is an abundance of propane from oil/gas operations. Numerous plants dedicated to propane dehydrogenation are currently under construction around the world.

Dehydrogenation is a chemical reaction that involves the removal of hydrogen from an organic molecule. It is the reverse of hydrogenation. Dehydrogenation is an important reaction because it converts alkanes, which are relatively inert and thus low-valued, to olefins (including alkenes), which are reactive and thus more valuable. Alkenes are precursors to aldehydes, alcohols, polymers, and aromatics. Dehydrogenation processes are used extensively to produce aromatics and styrene in the petrochemical industry. Such processes are highly endothermic and require temperatures of 500 °C and above.

Propane dehydrogenation is of growing importance in the petrochemical industry as end users and producers take advantage of the cheap Propane feedstock that is a by-product of the refining and LNG industries, and converts this to higher value products. There are already five licensed technologies. The propane dehydrogenation process may be accomplished through different commercial technologies. The main differences between each of them concerns the catalyst employed, design of the reactor and strategies to achieve higher conversion rates.

Other uses of dehydrogenation reactions include production of styrene by the dehydrogenation of ethylbenzene.

Propane

Propane is produced as a by-product of two other processes, natural gas processing and petroleum refining. The processing of natural gas involves removal of butane, propane, and large amounts of ethane from the raw gas, in order to prevent condensation of these volatiles in natural gas pipelines. Additionally, oil refineries produce some propane as a by-product of cracking petroleum into gasoline or heating oil.

The supply of propane cannot easily be adjusted to meet increased demand, because of the by-product nature of propane production, hence the resurgence in demand for PDH plants as a result of the increase in LNG production, to process this feedstock into propylene and thence polypropylene.

Propylene

Propene (propylene) is a by-product of oil refining and natural gas processing. During oil refining, ethene (ethylene), propene, and other compounds are produced as a result of cracking larger hydrocarbons. A major source of propene is naphtha cracking intended to produce ethene (ethylene), but it also results from refinery cracking producing other products. Propene can be separated by fractional distillation from hydrocarbon mixtures obtained from cracking and other refining processes; refinery-grade propene is about 50 to 70%.

Conversion: In the Phillips Triolefin or Olefin conversion technology propylene is interconverted with ethene (ethylene) and 2-butenes. Rhenium and molybdenum catalysts are used:

CH2=CH2 + CH3CH=CHCH3 → 2 CH2=CHCH3

The technology is founded on an olefin metathesis reaction discovered at Phillips Petroleum Company. Propene yields of about 90 wt% are achieved.

LAB

Linear Alkyl Benzene is an aromatic compound used in the production of detergents, solvents and industrial cleaners. Large scale production of LAB utilises several different processes many of which utilise BIF fired heaters.

Gas to Liquids

Gas-to-liquids technology is aimed at bringing the cleanest of all hydrocarbons, Methane, to the value chain that would otherwise be made from crude oil, including transport fuels, motor oils and downstream petrochemical products. The use of GTL technology is less impactful on the environment than conventional crude products as it contains less impurities specifically Sulphur and aromatic compounds. Natural gas (Methane) and other gaseous hydrocarbons are converted via a series of processes to longer chain hydrocarbons to produce liquid synthetic fuels. The process not only produces cleaner fuels but makes the product easier to transport (Methane has to be cryogenically treated and transported which is expensive).

Naphtha Reforming

Naphtha reforming is the catalytic conversion of low octane Naphthas, distilled from crude oil, to high octane liquid products (reformates) which are then blended into the gasoline pool to increase the Octane rating and hence value. This is done through a catalytic process usually based on Platinum. In addition reformate is the main source of Aromatic precursor bulk chemicals used for conversion to plastics.

Hydrodesulfurization

Hydrodesulfurization is a catalytic process of removing sulphurous compounds from hydrocarbons the purpose of which is to reduce subsequent harmful emissions in downstream products Produced Sulphur goes on to make elemental Sulphur or Sulfuric acid for industry. The process is based on the Hydrogen displacement of Sulphur (by breaking the Carbon-Sulphur bond) at elevated temperatures and pressures in a catalytic bed usually based on Molybdenum and Cobalt. The vast majority of refineries with have a HDS unit sometimes known as a Hydrotreater a BIH fired heater upstream of the HDS unit conditions the stream for the catalytic process.

Isomerisation

Isomerisation is a ”bottom of the barrel” process of molecular conversion of a hydrocarbon into its more useful Isomer (equal molecular weight, quantitative and qualitative composition, but with different physical and chemical characteristics). It is usually intended to convert low Octane oil fractions containing straight-chain alkanes into high Octane gasoline components comprising branched-chain alkanes, through structural change of the Carbon skeleton or spatial and configurational change. This change takes place in the presence of a catalyst which depending on the change required could be finely dispersed platinum on an aluminium oxide catalyst, chlorinated Alumina or sulphated metal oxide. These isomeric compounds can be blended into gasoline to improve its octane rating and increase its value. BIH supply fired heaters to pre-heat the feed going into the isomerisation unit.

Thermal Cracking

Thermal cracking is a refining process in which heat and pressure are used to break down, rearrange, or combine hydrocarbon molecules. It is an extraction process in which hydrocarbons such as crude oil are heated to a high temperature to break the molecular bonds. It’s almost completely replaced by catalytic cracking nowadays.

LNG

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane, C2H6) that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport. It takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state (at standard conditions for temperature and pressure). It is odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. The liquefaction process involves the removal of certain components, such as dust, acid gases, helium, water, and heavy hydrocarbons, which could cause difficulty downstream. The natural gas is then condensed into a liquid at close to atmospheric pressure by cooling it to approximately −162 °C, maximum transport pressure is set at around 25 kPa (4 psi). Touted as a cleaner form of fuel as compared with the traditional fossil fuels, LNG is principally used for transporting natural gas to markets, where it is regasified and distributed as pipeline natural gas.

Hydrocracking

Hydrocracking is a process that breaks down complex hydrocarbon molecules into simpler ones by using a catalyst and an elevated partial pressure of hydrogen gas. This is an established and reliable method for transforming low-value heavy oil fractions into higher-value products. This is generally a more demanding hydrotreating process but is rapidly emerging as the principle conversion technology to maximize diesel yield due to its ability to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD). Hydrocracking is normally facilitated by a bifunctional catalyst capable of rearranging and breaking hydrocarbon chains as well as adding hydrogen to aromatics and olefins to produce naphthenes and alkanes. Major products from hydrocracking are jet fuel, diesel, relatively high-octane rating gasoline fractions and LPG. All of these products have a low content of sulfur and contaminants.

Visbreaking

Visbreaking is thermal cracking when the vacuum residue is less viscous and it can then be used to produce valuable products. A visbreaker is a processing unit in an oil refinery whose purpose is to reduce the quantity of residual oil produced in the distillation of crude oil and to increase the yield of more valuable middle distillates (heating oil and diesel) by the refinery. A visbreaker thermally cracks large hydrocarbon molecules in the oil by heating in a furnace to reduce its viscosity and to produce small quantities of light hydrocarbons (LPG and gasoline). The process name of “visbreaker” refers to the fact that the process reduces (or breaks) the viscosity of the residual oil. The process is non-catalytic.

Hydrotreating

Hydrotreating is a process widely used in the petroleum industry for producing high-quality fuels and as part of a scheme for upgrading heavy crude oil by reducing sulfur, nitrogen and/or metal content. It is the reaction of organic compounds with hydrogen, in the presence of a catalyst, to remove unwanted impurities such as sulfur, nitrogen and metals. Hydrotreating units are needed in the refinery to clean streams from material harmful to the catalysts. That is why they are located before the reformer, hydrocracker and FCC, etc. They are also needed to adjust the final product specification for various streams, such as light naphtha, kerosene and low sulphur fuel oils. Some typical hydrotreating processes are naphtha hydrotreating, kerosene hydrotreating, diesel hydrotreating and vacuum gas oil (VGO) hydrotreating. BIH supply furnaces for all of these applications.

Thermal Crackers

Thermal cracking is a process in which hydrocarbons present in crude oil are subject to high heat and temperature to break the molecular bonds and breaking down long-chained, higher-boiling hydrocarbons into shorter-chained, lower-boiling hydrocarbons. Thermal cracking is often used to upgrade very heavy fractions or to produce light fractions or distillates, burner fuel and/or petroleum coke. Two extremes of the thermal cracking in terms of product range are represented by the high-temperature process called “steam cracking” or pyrolysis (ca. 750 °C to 900 °C or higher) which produces valuable ethylene and other feedstocks for the petrochemical industry, and the milder-temperature delayed coking (ca. 500 °C) which can produce, under the right conditions, valuable needle coke, a highly crystalline petroleum coke used in the production of electrodes for the steel and aluminium industries. More and more, thermal cracking is being replaced by catalytic cracking as this produces end products with a higher octane rating and therefore more economic value.

 

Reformers

The purpose of the reformer is to upgrade heavy naphtha into a high-value gasoline blend stock by raising its octane. The primary product of the reformer is reformate, which is also the primary source of aromatics (such as benzene, toluene, and xylene) that are used as petrochemicals feedstocks. However, it also generates large amounts of hydrogen that can be used in the hydrotreaters and hydrocrackers. Reformer is also known as platformer, hydroskimmer, CRU, CCR, SCR, powerformer, ultraformer, magnaformer, rhenifomer. Reformers are split into two main types of technologies:

Natural Gas Heaters

Natural gas heaters are part of onshore gas processing facilities used to impart energy to treat the sour, rich wellhead gas to remove contaminants, such as metals and sulphur, and further extract natural gas liquids: ethane for petrochemical processes, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for domestic heating and cooking and condensates as a feedstock for refineries.

Regeneration Gas Heaters

Natural gas flowing from production wells or underground storage requires dehydration to protect the distribution system from corrosion and hydrate formation. In the commonly used solid desiccant absorption dehydration process, wet gas flows through a pressure vessel tower filled with solid desiccant. The moisture is absorbed on to the surface of the desiccant and the gas leaves the tower dry. When the desiccant is saturated with moisture, the gas flow is switched to another tower having dry desiccant. A regeneration gas heater is used to heat regeneration gas for drying out the desiccant in the wet tower. This process usually occurs cyclically or repetitively.

Crackers

Catalytic cracking is widely used to convert the high-boiling, high-molecular weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils into more valuable gasoline, olefinic gases, and other products. Cracking of petroleum hydrocarbons was originally done by thermal cracking, which has been almost completely replaced by catalytic cracking because it produces more gasoline with a higher octane rating. It also produces byproduct gases that have more carbon-carbon double bonds (i.e. more olefins), and hence more economic value, than those produced by thermal cracking.

The feedstock to FCC is usually that portion of the crude oil that has an initial boiling point of 340 °C or higher at atmospheric pressure and an average molecular weight ranging from about 200 to 600 or higher. This portion of crude oil is often referred to as heavy gas oil or vacuum gas oil (HVGO). In the FCC process, the feedstock is heated to a high temperature and moderate pressure, and brought into contact with a hot, powdered catalyst. The catalyst breaks the long-chain molecules of the high-boiling hydrocarbon liquids into much shorter molecules, which are collected as a vapor.

Oxygen Heaters

These furnaces are used for the production of Titanium Dioxide which has a wide range of applications including paint, sunscreen and food colouring, it is estimated that titanium dioxide is used in two thirds of all pigments. These furnaces are used in the Chloride process which converts ilmenite or other titanium sources to Titanium tetrachloride via reaction with elemental chlorine, which is then purified by distillation, and reacted with oxygen at high temperature to regenerate chlorine and produce the Titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide pigment can also be produced from higher titanium content feedstocks such as upgraded slag, rutile and leucoxene via a chloride acid process

TiCl4 Furnaces

These furnaces are used for the production of Titanium Dioxide which has a wide range of applications including paint, sunscreen and food colouring, it is estimated that titanium dioxide is used in two thirds of all pigments. These furnaces are used in the Chloride process which converts ilmenite or other titanium sources to Titanium tetrachloride via reaction with elemental chlorine, which is then purified by distillation, and reacted with oxygen at high temperature to regenerate chlorine and produce the Titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide pigment can also be produced from higher titanium content feedstocks such as upgraded slag, rutile and leucoxene via a chloride acid process.

Aromatic Furnaces

Aromatic furnaces are a generic term for furnaces used in the production of BTX (Benzene, Toluene, Xylene). In the catalytic reforming process a mixture of hydrocarbons with boiling points between 60–200 °C is blended with hydrogen gas, passed through the furnace to achieve a temperature of 500–525 °C and then exposed to a bifunctional platinum chloride or rhenium chloride catalyst at pressures ranging from 8–50 atm. Under these conditions, aliphatic hydrocarbons form rings and lose hydrogen to become aromatic hydrocarbons. The aromatic products of the reaction are then separated from the reaction mixture (or reformate) by extraction with any one of a number of solvents, including diethylene glycol or sulfolane.

Hot Oil Heaters

Hot oil heaters are process units that heat a fluid (typically a thermal oil) which is subsequently used to heat other processes within a refinery/processing plant. This ‘indirect heating’ is used when the fluid to be heated would be adversely affected by direct heat or when precise control of the heating temperature is needed. Examples of the former include regeneration of glycol (from dehydration units), regeneration of amine (from CO2 and sulphur removal processes) and oil stabilisation. Examples of the latter include heating for reboilers in the fractionation of NGL’s (Natural Gas Liquids) either as a standalone process or as part of the LNG process.

Steam Superheaters

This section is under construction

Arbor Tube Heaters

This section is under construction

Platformers

This section is under construction

Charge Heaters

This section is under construction

Reboiler Heaters

This section is under construction

Visbreakers

This section is under construction

Hydrocrackers

This section is under construction

Cokers

This section is under construction

Crude Heaters

This section is under construction

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