Skip to main content

Resolving Gasoline rundown cooling constraints amid Summer heatwave

Client: Major Oil Refinery

Location: Kawasaki, Japan

Sectors: Petrochemical and refining

The Challenge

Reduce base oil temperature in extreme seasonal heat and avoid production losses

Summers in Japan can be blazing hot with temperatures rising to 38 ℃. A major refiner in Kawasaki, Japan experienced significantly higher cooling water temperature (>28 ℃) from its existing aged cooling tower system during the summer of 2020.

This led to higher gasoline rundown temperature. The higher gasoline base oil temperature reduced the refiner’s blending flexibility, resulting in economic losses from lower octane and smaller gasoline pools.

Maintaining production levels within challenging market conditions was crucial for the refinery to maximise its revenue in a thin margin environment - reducing throughput or gasoline production was not an option.

Tight deadlines meant that approving the release of CAPEX for a new cooling system wasn’t feasible. The customer needed fresh thinking to a problem that threatened to ruin yearly targets.

Project fact file

Achieved cooled water temperature 38 to 22
Summer ambient temperature 38°C
To deploy, install and commission 7days
Total Cooling Capacity 875kW

The solution

Bespoke cooling package to maintain precise temperature for meticulous refinery processes

The customer approached Aggreko to enquire about our capabilities and how we could help them adapt to their pressing cooling concerns. We had helped supported with their Turnaround activities and contingency projects, so we were ideally placed to partner with them to find the right answer.

Every project is unique in its requirement, calling for a customised approach to project design to formulate the eventual engineered solution.

While the refinery’s engineering team had a good idea on the type of solution required to resolve their cooling limitations, the joint efforts of Aggreko’s cross regional teams and experts from local engineering, global engineering division and Aggreko Process Services (APS) offered valuable advice and alternative perspectives for varying operational components during the planning phase, including:

  • Supplementary services for hose management for cost optimisation
  • Resolution of site plot space constraints
  • Risk mitigation of tainted water flowing into chillers due to corroded heat exchangers, by implementing detectors on buffer tanks to monitor potential leakage.
  • Guidance on water flow rate optimisation to maintain constant gasoline rundown temperature during project tenure.

Our thorough approach led to an integrated turnkey Process Enhancement solution, comprising of air-cooled chillers which were deployed around a shell-and-tube heat exchanger provided by the customer, supplying 875 kW of cooling capacity to reduce the temperature of gasoline rundown from the reactor section to 22 ℃.

The impact

Consistent temperatures, losses avoided, and plans laid in advance for next summer

Aggreko’s customised cooling solution helped the refinery gain flexibility to blend in different gasoline components while maintaining the final tank temperature at the required levels.

The economic benefits of this project proved to be attractive enough for the customer to submit an operational expense (OPEX) request internally. That ensured they were ready for the same job to be repeated next summer even before the project tenure ended.