RTC Update: Continued investments extend research capabilities

New testing capabilities, research unit improvements, and expanded staff increase our range of operation at the RTC.

Author
Mike Creagor, Associate Vice President, Research & Technology Center & Facilities Operations
Date
August 1, 2016
High Temperature
Fouling Unit 2

New testing capabilities, research unit improvements, and expanded staff have increased our range of operation at the RTC, allowing us to obtain more data in less time.

HTRI’s fouling research program continues to grow. We commissioned our third research unit, the High Temperature Fouling Unit 2 (HTFU-2), dedicated to identifying the fouling characteristics of fluids such as gas oils and crude oils. Once the unit was installed, we completed calibrations, verified a much-improved heat balance, and immediately began testing crude oil.

High Temperature Fouling Unit

We also completed a total rebuild of the original High Temperature Fouling Unit (HTFU-1), enabling it to flash crude in-house, and improved the piping, insulation, and data acquisition system.

On the Rotating Fouling Unit (RFU), we tested a hydraulic pressurization system, which eliminates the need for nitrogen injection into the system to pressurize the unit above the test fluid boiling point. We also installed this system design on the HTFU-1 for future testing. In addition, we automated the RFU startup procedures and added fire suppression so the unit could remain in operation 24/7.

Prototype Test Unit

The Prototype Test Unit (PTU) is used to develop and validate thermal design methods for industrial-sized reboilers, condensers, or general purpose exchangers. We have modified the PTU piping and completed calibrations for turndown testing of the thermosiphon reboiler, currently underway. We also modified the piping and have completed single-phase and boiling tests with a plate-and-shell exchanger.

Three new staff members have joined our team: Lance Bishop, Test Engineer; Jason Jolly, Research Technician; and Chris (Coupe) Deville, Research Technician. With three test engineers and eight technicians, we can now handle a greater volume of tests.