Process heaters probably suffer more wear and tear than any other item of equipment in a refinery. Because they are at the front end of most processes in refineries and petrochemical processing facilities, optimal functioning of process heaters is essential to ensure adequate production.
However, environmental regulations for the refining industry are getting tighter and more difficult to achieve without compromising operations. The implementation of environmental controls, either at the combustion source or post-combustion, have many undesirable limitations that impose considerable economic costs, primarily related to the reduction in nominal furnace capacity. ClearSign has calculated that potential gains in refinery profitability could be $12 – $28 million per year for an average 100,000 bpd refinery. These savings can be achieved by eliminating the bottlenecks caused by conventional NOx control technology in crude heaters alone.