Client Styrene plant

Location Gulf Coast, USA

Sectors Petrochemical and refining

The challenge

Dehumidified cool air needed for reactors during turnaround

A Gulf Coast styrene producer wanted to prevent ‘caking’ of its styrene metal oxide catalyst during an upcoming turnaround. Yet removing it from the reactor was tricky. If exposed to water, the catalyst would deactivate and yields would suffer. 

The producer knew what was needed. Specifically, a continuous stream of dehumidified, conditioned air that could pass through its reactors and heat exchangers to ‘blanket’ the equipment and protect the catalyst. And they knew who could deliver on these exact needs.


Project fact file

10 days

Time of turnaround


Dew point


Relative humidity


Dry bulb temperatures

The solution

Specific humidity and temperature ranges maintained for 10 days

We sized up the situation. We designed a system to provide a steady stream of air at 7°F to 30°F (-14°C to -1°C) dew point, 10 to 15 per cent relative humidity, and dry bulb temperatures of 85°F to 90°F (29.5°C to 32°C). These specific ranges were maintained throughout the 10-day process of removing the catalyst.

In phase two of the project, we lowered the volume of air flow while the refinery carried out inspections, repairs and new catalyst loading. We also provided air conditioning for the 13 man-ways that were left open during the process.


the aggreko difference

We know how important it is to meet strict targets for heating and cooling, even during maintenance.

The impact

Catalyst protected by blanket of conditioned air

The styrene producer proceeded with the turnaround without fear of damaging the styrene metal oxide catalyst. Thanks to the blanket of conditioned air that we channeled over the reactors, exchangers and piping, yields were maintained and the project ran smoothly. 

Aggreko Process Services worked closely with the producer at every step of the way. They clearly trusted our expertise, helping us position our equipment where it was needed to get the job done. It was a great team effort.


“This was a numbers game. With such narrow ranges for temperature and humidity, it was incredibly important to have the right equipment, at the right times and in the right places.”

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