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Around 1,750 mechanical traps at KNPC’s Shauiba Refinery in Kuwait have been converted to Thermal Energy International’s GEM Venturi orifice design.

This enables KNPC to keep on top of the constant challenge of repairing and replacing thousands of mechanical steam traps.

In addition, the company – a subsidiary of the Kuwait Petroleum Association – has seen the HP hot condensate header pressure drop from highs of 175psig to 90psig.

The Shuaiba Refinery, located some 50km south of Kuwait City, produces approximately 30 types of light, medium and heavy petroleum products.

These consist of gas, ordinary naphtha, various kinds of fuels such as high-octane gasoline, kerosene and ATK as well as automotive diesel, marine diesel, fuel oil and sulphur, which is a by-product of the industrial process.

Steam is the primary means of transporting energy from the numerous boilers and steam generators to the point of use and is used throughout the oil refinery for applications ranging from trace heating systems designed to keep the product at the correct viscosity to large re-boilers consuming many tonnes of steam per hour.

As the steam gives up its useful heat, it condenses to water.

The steam trap’s function is to remove this water and air from the steam pipework.

At the Shuaiba Refinery, the mechanical steam traps were failing at a rate of more than 10 per cent per annum.

Steam traps can fail in either the open position, resulting in the trap passing live steam, or the closed position, which prevents the discharge of condensate from the system.

When Thermal Energy International was first approached by KNPC, failed mechanical traps had caused the condensate return pressure to rise to 175psig, preventing the 150psig steam stem from being able to discharge.

During a recent unplanned boiler outage, the refinery was able to run on just two boilers, which, prior to the installation of the GEM Venturi orifice steam traps, would have resulted in a loss of steam pressure to the refinery’s extremities and affected production.

Habib M Atesh, engineering and maintenance manager at the Shuaiba Refinery, said: ‘The use of GEM traps has resulted in an 85psig reduction in the HP hot condensate header pressure as well as steam savings from the reduction in steam loss.

‘In addition, GEM traps are superior as only the strainers require maintenance,’ added Atesh.

Instead of utilising a valve mechanism to close off steam for maximum energy and water conservation, the GEM steam traps use the Venturi orifice design to effectively drain condensate from the steam system.

As the GEM steam traps have no moving parts to wedge open or fail, they provides excellent reliability, necessitating only minimal maintenance and requiring no spares, testing or monitoring equipment, according to Thermal Energy.

Available in a range of sizes for a variety of applications, the hardwearing GEM steam traps are manufactured from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and are guaranteed for 10 years, obviating the need for repair or replacement.

The GEM steam traps can provide a fast payback from reduced energy costs and increased equipment reliability owing to a reduction in damaging condensate in steam systems.

In addition, they are claimed to improve product processing by enhancing the quality of steam and also by reducing equipment repairs, downtime and replacement costs.

Thermal Energy International Inc is an innovative technology company providing custom energy and emission reduction solutions. Our award-winning energy recovery, conservation and bioenergy solutions provide significant financial and environmental benefits to our customers. Our experience and talent in waste energy recovery recycling and bio-energy conversion solutions are unrivalled. These solutions provide our clients with typical energy cost savings of 10 per cent to 35 per cent or more with commensurate reductions in greenhouse gases and other emissions.

We go beyond the realm of single application or product competitors and instead provide our clients with maximum opportunities to reduce energy and emissions. Through a unique mix of process, energy, environmental, financial and other expertise combined with the best technology solutions and financial offerings, our clients can expect compelling returns exceeding 30 per cent and solutions with an excellent track record of longevity, proven reliability and performance.

Thermal Energy's core business provides three primary client benefits:

  • Energy consumption and cost reduction
  • Commensurate greenhouse gas and emission reductions
  • Excellent financial returns

With energy cost trends projecting steady increases over the next several years, our solutions provide increasingly more attractive returns and a means for our clients to shield themselves against ever-increasing energy costs.

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