Fouling of catalyst beds causes unwanted pressure drop increases that limit the performance of many hydroprocessing units. The resultant issues can include short run lengths, unplanned downtime costs, unused catalyst activity, increased maintenance and lost revenue. How long a run length should you expect? One year? Two years or more?

Experience-based solutions to help improve your operations and margin

Shell Global Solutions has successfully developed and implemented innovative techniques for identifying the causes of fouling and its abatement solutions to address a broad range of fouling issues across a wide variety of units. We can work with you to provide performance improvements for the following units:

  • straight-run and coker naphtha hydrotreaters;
  • distillate hydrotreaters with increased pressure drop after a unit upset or with a slow pressure drop build-up;
  • catalytic feed hydrotreaters that process coker and synthetic crude feeds;
  • residue hydrotreaters; and
  • hydrocrackers.

A comprehensive approach to fouling abatement

Shell Global Solutions has developed a three-tiered approach to fouling abatement strategies, which can be tailored for your refinery operations. The fouling abatement team will help you to look behind the apparent issue to identify and address the root cause of fouling.

Reactor internals for fouling abatement

Shell Global Solutions has a portfolio of reactor internals to help address fouling issues. Depending on the results of fouling analysis, we can offer the following options: 

  • Scale-catching tray - For physical separation (by gravity) of particles and fluid when fouling analysis concludes that most of the particles are large.
  • Fast tray – V-Wire filter elements on the filter tray, using surface filtration to retain particles with the advantage of a higher storage volume on the tray, as well as easier cleaning.
  • Filter tray with easy-to-open filter elements – For more severe fouling duties, this top-bed filter tray for trick-flow units, enables filtration of the smallest size particles and significantly reduces tray cleaning and maintenance time.

Critical questions to ask when evaluating fouling abatement

  • Have your fouling abatement solutions relied on trial and error without applying science or testing? Are you limited to grading options rather than innovative hardware solutions?
  • Has sampling been ineffective or impossible and resulted in inconclusive or misleading results? Have you been unable to learn and improve upon past fouling abatement solutions because of lost information on unloading the reactor?
  • Do you fear that adding to or changing the bed grading in your reactor will fail and lead to worse conditions? Do you need comprehensive understanding that grading changes will directly mitigate fouling?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Shell Global Solutions would like to discuss with you how to help improve your operations and boost your margin. Contact us.

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About Reactor internals

Shell’s latest-generation reactor internals technology is applied to grass-roots units and is used for replacing lower-performing trays in revamps. Shell has over 25 years of operational experience with reactor internals.