Waste Heat Recovery with Vahterus PSHE - A Path to Carbon Neutrality

The petrochemical and refining industry is a very energy intensive field and is under constant pressure to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. Waste-heat recovery is essential for modern manufacturing, especially with the current energy situation in Europe.

A prime example of a heat-recovery project is one that Vahterus delivered to a refinery in Europe last year. In that project, Vahterus supplied 10 heat exchangers, together comprising 20 MW of heat. In the refinery, residual heat was utilised from the desulphurisation plant, diesel production units and vacuum distillation to heat a hot-water circuit, from where the heat further transferred to the district-heating network.

Vahterus' PSHE technology efficiently channels refinery product heat into the district-heating water, tailored for cases demanding precise temperature profiles and high mass flows. One notable installation featured two PSHE 5HH.736/2/2 models, serially connected, each consisting of two 368 plate packs.

The external piping arrangement for the heat exchanged directly matched the customer’s piping system. The distillation product was cooled by 80°C in the heat exchanger to provide water of 60°C. The capacity of the installation was 4 MW.

This waste heat recovery initiative directly supplies warmth to approximately 150 industrial structures through the district heating network, resulting in an annual reduction of 21,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. In essence, this equates to an 85% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to figures from a decade ago, underscoring a noteworthy leap towards environmentally friendly district heating.

Vahterus' earlier involvement in a comparable European project a decade ago stands as a testament to its enduring efficiency and reliability. The initial phase saw the establishment of a 40 MW heat recovery system, followed by the creation of a 50 MW system from various process streams five years later. These combined efforts warmed over 40,000 homes with industrial waste heat, preventing around 100,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Simultaneously, the refinery's energy efficiency surged by 5%, while the district heating company achieved cost stability and independence from primary energy price fluctuations.

These successes exemplify how the industry, with the aid of environmentally friendly district heating, can play a pivotal role in steering towards a lower-carbon future.

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