Refineries, gas processing, petrochemical and chemical producers continually strive to maximize their production volume at minimum investment cost. Generally, this is done in the form of revamps where existing columns are retrofitted with high performance internals. This paper will focus on recent advances in tray technology to meet these needs.
Column design focuses on the ability of the internals to simultaneously process both the vapor and liquid streams. As a result, tray research and development centers mainly on two areas – development of tray deck design for higher vapor handling capacity while maintaining good tray efficiency, and optimization of downcomers for higher liquid loads while maximizing the tray active area.
One of the unique features of Sulzer trays is the rectangular or trapezoidal shape of their deck orifices. These orifices shapes, by definition, release vapor preferentially to the sides of the orifices above the tray deck, perpendicular to the main liquid flow. This release pattern creates a different interaction of the vapor and liquid streams between the valves. Research on these interactions has shown that the capacity of Sulzer’s high performance trays can be further enhanced with better utilization of the vapor flow throughout the tray active area.
The paper discusses the development and testing of trays with enhanced tray design features, which improve vapor distribution with optimized valve layout and enhanced aeration. Pertinent test data will be shown to confirm the tray performance increases.