Improving oil refinery in Russia
9 March 2012
The Skolkovo Foundation has approved the establishment of a centre to involve Imperial, the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, and BP, which will focus on making oil refining in Russia more efficient and environmentally sustainable.
Researchers at the Centre of Applied Research on Energy Efficient Heat Exchange and Catalysis will run the £9.3 million UNIHEAT project, which aims to increase energy efficiency and reduce heat loss in oil refining by up to 15 per cent through improved refining operations, enhanced oil production processes, and reduced CO2 emissions. The Centre will be funded by the Skolkovo Foundation and BP Russia.
Imperial will play a key role in the consortium, carrying out research to find ways of reducing heat loss by improving the design of heat exchange equipment and energy recovery networks within refineries.
One of the major problems that consortium partners will focus on is crude oil fouling – the largest cause of heat loss in the refining process. This happens when oil impurities are deposited in piping, causing corrosion and wear, and leading to oil production losses and additional fuel being burnt in the refining process. Fouling also causes increases in CO2 emissions, and significant operational and safety problems, with large economic impact.
Professor Sandro Macchietto, Chair of the UNIHEAT Steering Committee and Joint Project Director (Chemical Engineering), said: “Imperial has a strong track record of working with industry around the world to find innovative solutions to make the refining process more efficient and sustainable. This is one of the first projects of this kind in Russia to kick off. We hope it will lead to real efficiencies in the sector and help us to make the refining process as environmentally friendly as possible.”
— Colin Smith, Communications and Development