Crude oil has a complex nature, and the refinery process is complicated as it makes equipment used in refineries highly prone to fouling. It is challenging to achieve an efficient operating process due to the issues caused by fouling. Besides, it impedes the cost-efficiency of production processes as frequent stoppages for maintenance and cleaning of fouled equipment increase both maintenance and utility costs.

In some cases, chemical cleaning is required to remove fouling altogether, yet this approach has a negative impact not only on the environment but also on employees’ safety. It is a rather pricey method due to extended maintenance stoppages required, and therefore it is typically used for cleaning equipment filled with heavy and complex fouling.

Finding a suitable chemical that can remove both organic and inorganic fouling can be challenging in as much as creating a practical method for evenly distributing enough solvent to complex internal geometry. As a result, such a cleaning approach is often insufficient, which, again, decreases process efficiency and increases the frequency of stoppages.

Benefits of using Altum's software-guided power ultrasound


  • Gaining longer run-length by reducing shutdowns required for removal of fouling.
  • Saving costs in utility, if preheat train can run more efficiently without getting fouled.
  • Saving maintenance and cleaning costs by reducing the frequency of cleaning.
  • Reducing the negative environmental impact by using fewer chemicals for cleaning and running the process on a more optimal level.

Refinery operators are regularly using high costs and resources to monitor, prevent, and remove fouling. The costs can raise up to several billion. This can only be improved if the equipment in the crude distillation process would not get fouled as often as it usually does.

This is the reason why global refinery operators and research institutes are continually searching for ways to prevent and remove fouling from refinery processes more efficiently. Altum’s software-guided power ultrasound solution is starting to prove its effectiveness in fouling prevention and removal.

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