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Ethylene column overhead condenser / Plate-fin in vessel

In ethylene plant and some other chemical plants, there are a lot of columns, like stripper columns and distillation columns.  At the request of heat transfer and mass transfer, process needs to set at the top of column a condenser to provide a return flow and at the bottom of column a reboiler to provide upward gas. In many columns we also set in the middle of the column a reboiler.



Zhongtai’s column overhead condenser use a structure with plate-fin heat exchanger in side a stainless steel cylinder, to be called PFV (plate-fin in vessel).  The gas (warm stream) enters heat exchanger through nozzle and inlet header, and transfer heat with the cold stream, to be cooled and condensed and becomes vapor-liquid two-phase, then goes out of column overhead condenser  through outlet header and nozzle.  The vapor-liquid two-phase stream enters into a separator to separate vapor and liquid.  Liquid as a return flow goes back to the column top and vapor goes out of the top of separator to be sent to the next equipment. Refrigerant is arranged in the vessel and the plate-fin heat exchanger will be submerged wholly or partly inside the refrigerant.


PFV is a kind of built-in type thermosiphon heat exchanger, could be placed vertically, as well as horizontally.


PFV is a typical example that plate-fin heat exchanger replaces shell-tube heat exchanger.  Before the advent of the PFV,  ethylene plant condensers and reboilers are generally shell and tube heat exchangers.  Because of the relatively small heat transfer area in a unit volume, the size of equipment becomes bigger.  After using PFV, just replace the bundle of tubes with plate - fin heat exchanger core and modify the equipment casing properly, the same footprint, we can make the device capacity more than 2 times. With the large - scale development of the plant, the device dimensions have increased much, the use of shell-tube heat exchangers often needs large space, thus at the moment, many  new plants start to use PFVs.


The overhead condenser we supplied for Huajin Chemical 460kt/y ethylene plant is a typical vertical PFV. The  demethanizing column condenser we supplied for Petro-china Liaoyang Petrochemical is a typical horizontal PFV.  Our PFV is also operating well in Petro-china Lanzhou Petrochemical's plant.