Heater Safety Practice in Hydroprocessing Operations
Installation of emergency isolation equipment at the outlet of hydroprocessing reactor charge heaters is recommended on a case-by-case basis in the event of a tube rupture. The decision to install check valves or actuators at reactor charge heater outlets depends on a range of factors, including the unit’s design configuration.
Other important factors were discussed at the most recent AFPM Q&A and Technology Forum. It was noted during the discussion that installation of a check valve would require the valve to be placed on a periodic inspection and test program due to its designation as a “safety critical device.” As many refiners are aware, the decision to install a check valve at the heater outlet would also depend on the layers of protection required for safe operations, based on the volume of process throughput, pressure requirements (i.e., hydroprocessing operating pressures are generally increasing), type of feedstock , etc. A layer of protection analysis (LOPA) may indeed show the need for a check valve.