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Ethylene treater improvement CFD 190826

CFD Can Protect Your Ethylene Treaters

Ethylene treating often involves injecting high pressure supercritical ethylene into a catalyst bed. While the pressure drop should be kept minimal, the erosion caused by high velocity jet impingement at the center of the bed is a concern. The objective is to redistribute the flow, such that a uniform profile enters the bed.

Flow Improvement in Ethylene Treaters

KHE was contracted to assess the flow distribution in an ethylene treater and recommend a solution to improve the longevity of the packed bed. The reformer consisted of a straight nozzle pipe entering a tall vertical vessel at an angle, and discharging supercritical ethylene onto the packed bed which was collected downstream. CFD can be used to readily model the salient features of such flow. Analysts should account for gravitational effects due to the high density of supercritical ethylene. Some other pitfalls include the appropriate choice of turbulence model and a double precision solution to account for media features. CFD results in this case identified a non-uniform skewed flow distribution.
Significant improvements can be realized by merely modifying the nozzle pipe size and adding a flow distributor insert to expand and decelerate the impinging jet from the nozzle. This fix is relatively inexpensive and protects the vessel from destructive high-speed jets. KHE has extensive experience is designing customized Intra-body Flow Diverters (IFDs) in order to meet your process requirement. These nozzles are individually designed and validated using high-fidelity CFD simulations to reduce erosion, coking, fouling, improve pressure drop, and disperse the flow uniformly.

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