Upgrading Steam Flow Measurement at Major Shell Chemicals Ethylene Plant

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 10/26/2005, Location: Europe

Vortex flowmeters have improved the reliability of steam measurement for the Shell Chemicals ethylene plant in the Netherlands. The 8800CD dual vortex meters provide two flow measurements on the main steam lines, one for plant process control plus another separated measurement for the plant safety instrumented system (SIS).

For Shell, the vortex metering technology delivers more reliable steam flow measurement, enabling better operation and helping to increase plant uptime. Further, the plant operators have a better, more accurate steam flow measurement which allows them to optimize production performance.

Shell Chemicals at Moerdijk has one of the largest ethylene plants in Europe. This naphtha cracker process mixes accurate proportions of Light Distillate Feedstock (LDF) — such as naphtha or ethane — and steam, and heats these to a high temperature in a furnace; this cracks the LDF into basic feedstocks like ethylene for use in downstream processes, but also creates some carbon and coke deposits which are recirculated with the process water.

Such particles, when recycled in the steam, had created a maintenance requirement for the previous DP based steam flow measurement systems, by blocking the impulse lines to the transmitters. A monthly schedule of cleaning each flowmeter had been established to overcome this problem, to remove these deposits to ensure measurement reliability. The 8800CD vortex meter sensor has an all-welded body design, with no crevices, process seals or pockets where particles might collect. In addition, as a dual sensor unit, the 8800CD provides two separate flow measurements, enabling one sensor to provide the process control signal, and the other to be used in the SIS loops, based on the FMEDA assessment of the vortex sensor technology.

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