KLAY EnerSol installed our propriety I-Cover insulation cover on 336 tubes that were protruding from the roof of a Methanol Reformer furnace. Due to the design of the furnace, these tubes would expand upwards when the unit was started up and on load. Due to the significant movement of the tubes between the cold and hot positions, an innovative and flexible insulation system had to be applied to ensure the tubes would remain insulated even when the tube would expand.
During shutdowns and maintenance, the furnace would be cold and the tubes protruding from the furnace tubes would retract to just below the furnace roof. Insulating these tubes using conventional insulation during a shutdown is not possible as there are hardly any exposed surfaces then. Once the unit starts up, the pipes expand and protrude out of the furnace roof and the exposed tubes radiate heat with surface temperatures in excess of 400°C. This leads to a heightened overall ambient temperature in the roof area (unsafe working environment) and significant heat loss to the atmosphere. The insulation for this section needed to cover both the cold and hot positions as well as be easily removed for inspection. Other conventional insulation methods are rigid and wear off after a short period of time and are difficult to remove for inspection.
The client was pleased with the results as their criteria for the insulation on the roof tubes were met, installed within the specified duration, having a short payback time on investment and significant improvement in overall working conditions for their personnel, whilst being easy to remove for inspection if required. A similar solution is being prepared for implementation in the adjacent furnace on the next available opportunity.
KLAY EnerSol designed a custom I-Cover solution to insulate the roof tubes. The tight spacing between the tubes also meant that a high performance insulation material needed to be used to provide sufficient insulation. Aspen Aerogels’ Pyrogel XTE was used as the insulation material inside the I-Cover.
The I-Cover managed to meet all the challenges posed by the moving tubes and tight space which resulted in a significant reduction in ambient temperature during full furnace operation and a reduction in heat lost to atmosphere which resulted in a very short payback of less than 2 years on the overall cost of the project.
Due to the pre-fabricated nature of the I-Covers, all 366 tubes were insulated in under 1 week, comfortably fitting within a regular maintenance shutdown of the plant.