A new plant was started up recently and instead of getting ethane recoveries in the mid 90% range as expected, recoveries were in the mid 80% range. RCE engineers assisting with start-up quickly noticed that the inlet gas that was flowing through the Side Reboiler was only being cooled 1-2F, clearly indicating that the Side Reboiler was not working properly. The likely cause was a screen on the tower side was plugged which was inhibiting flow. The plant was shutdown and the screen was pulled and it was covered in what looked like insulation mastic. A new screen was installed and the plant re-started and now is achieving the expected recovery levels. Quickly identifying problems is one way we add value to our client’s bottom line.
See before and after performance in the graph below. The shutdown was early April.