With increasing regulation on total emissions and with the current cost of natural gas, plants are looking for ways to increase thermal efficiency. As the primary reformer accounts for a significant portion of a plant’s energy consumption, reformer revamps have the potential for a substantial reduction in fuel use and thus, operating costs. Depending on a plant’s current operation and furnace design, the addition of a feed gas saturator coil may be an alternative to the ubiquitous air preheater for absorbing additional heat from the cooler flue gas present at the end of the convection section.
Typically, in a Steam Reformers hot process steam is added to preheated natural gas. With the inclusion of a feed gas saturator cold coil, cold process condensate can be recycled, mixed with natural gas feed, and used to absorb heat, otherwise unavailable, at the cold end of the convection section. In providing water via cold condensate, the demand for hot process steam is reduced, decreasing the firing required in the Steam Reformers and/or boilers elsewhere in the plant. As an additional benefit, a feed gas saturator coil, by reducing the steam requirement, can aid in capacity increases where a plant would otherwise be capped on steam production.