Save energy and prevent injury with improved insulation

Nov. 24, 2015
Improving insulation and adding refractory are low-hanging fruits and should be implemented immediately.


I spend a significant amount of time in petrochemical plants, refineries and process plants. When I review the major on-site energy consumers at these sites, I find myself looking at steam generation and direct-fired process heaters. Depending on the specific plant, these two behemoths can use 70–80% of the total onsite energy. Thermal energy is the engine that drives our processes; plants can implement several energy conservation measures and best practices to optimize its use. Not only does this month’s column deal energy efficiency, but the topic also has a close connection to personnel safety.

Personnel safety is of prime importance and should not be compromised at any cost. We want to return home safe and sound to our families and friends every day. Every plant has a safety protocol and all of us abide by that protocol when on site. On a daily basis, it’s typical to find, in addition to plant personnel, several contractors on site, as well as other visitors. Our industry’s heavy dependence on thermal energy leads to extremely high temperatures in plants. Hence, we must ensure all high-temperature equipment, components, piping, instrumentation, etc. are properly insulated so their surface temperatures are such that no personnel can be injured if they accidentally or unknowingly happen to touch a hot surface. Note that process heaters, boilers, etc. have refractory on the inside and hot spots on the outside skin can pose a significant burn risk.

To learn more about insulation, read “Improve Insulation” from Chemical Processing.

Sponsored Recommendations

Arc Flash Prevention: What You Need to Know

March 28, 2024
Download to learn: how an arc flash forms and common causes, safety recommendations to help prevent arc flash exposure (including the use of lockout tagout and energy isolating...

Reduce engineering time by 50%

March 28, 2024
Learn how smart value chain applications are made possible by moving from manually-intensive CAD-based drafting packages to modern CAE software.

Filter Monitoring with Rittal's Blue e Air Conditioner

March 28, 2024
Steve Sullivan, Training Supervisor for Rittal North America, provides an overview of the filter monitoring capabilities of the Blue e line of industrial air conditioners.

Limitations of MERV Ratings for Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
It can be complicated and confusing to select the safest and most efficient dust collector filters for your facility. For the HVAC industry, MERV ratings are king. But MERV ratings...