Published in Hydrocarbon Processing (June 2019)
Authors: THOMAS GRIMAUD, Executive Vice President, Engineering and Solutions; and NIAZ MUSTAFA, Global Commercial Director, Process Furnaces, Engineering and Solutions.
Whether it is heating process fluids to achieve enough temperature in crude atmospheric and vacuum distillation units, or reaction temperatures inside furnace tubes to produce ethylene, vinyl chloride monomer, synthetic gas and continuous catalytic reformer reactors, or simple process heating (thermal fluid), process furnaces play a critical role in refineries and petrochemical complexes. Process furnaces are mostly qualified as long-lead items or critical items in tenders, so they are often ordered in the early phases of a project.
Over the past few decades, the market for process furnaces has experienced tremendous changes. Mostly driven by efficiency and total cost of ownership (TCO), the process furnace market is strongly influenced by the need for refineries and petrochemical assets to comply with ever tighter environmental standards (e.g., fuels and emissions) and by the growth of petrochemical demand.