Becht Engineering Blog

In this section of the site contributing authors submit interesting articles relating to the various services, industries and research & development efforts of Becht Engineering.

Becht Engineering has senior process specialists covering all refining and many petrochemical and chemical processes. These include alkylation (HF and sulfuric), aromatics recovery and purification, olefins production and polymer feed pretreatment, catalytic cracking, delayed coking, fluid coking, flexicoking, gas treating, hydrotreating,...

Becht Engineering has senior process specialists covering all refining and many petrochemical and chemical processes. These include alkylation (HF and sulfuric), aromatics recovery and purification, olefins production and polymer feed pretreatment, catalytic cracking, delayed coking, fluid coking, flexicoking, gas treating, hydrotreating, hydrocracking, reforming including CCR, lubes, sulfur recovery, sour water treating, product and water treatment.

Becht also has specialists in the chemical engineering technology disciplines such as crude oil characterization, mixing, heat transfer, fractionation and separations.

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Cooling Towers: Benefits of a Cold Eyes Review

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One key decision that often needs to be made is repair vs. replace. When has a cooling tower arrived at the point where a new tower should be considered? Maintenance costs, overall tower condition, environmental constraints, and performance optimization are all factors that need to be evaluated. If a new cooling tower is justified, how are the specifications for performance selected? What range, fan horsepower, approach to wet bulb, and water flow rate should be specified to best match plant requirements? The range is the difference between the hot water (return) temperature and the cold water (supply) temperature. The approach to wet bulb is due to the fact that, if the cooling tower were infinite in size, the cold water temperature would be at the wet bulb temperature. However, just like a shell and tube heat exchanger with a temperature difference between two streams, a finite cooling tower results in some...
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Cooling Water Systems - 4 Good Reasons Why A Cold Eyes Review Could Be Essential

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An independent (3 rd party) assessment of your Cooling Water System by a Becht SME is highly recommended. There are several key Business Objectives that are addressed by this type of review. 1.  Is There a Plan In Place To Insure Equipment Is Not On The Verge Of Catastrophic Failure?  There are many documented instances of Cooling Towers collapsing from biological (fungal) attack on wood members or excessive weight due to ice, scale, or mud. Fiberglas towers have failed due to improper erection techniques. Frequent inspections are necessary to detect and avoid these conditions. Underground piping may corrode and cathodic protection systems may no longer provide adequate protection. Two common modes of failure on heat exchangers are pitting or stress corrosion cracking (SCC). In this last case, (failure by SCC), Becht worked with a client to retrofit the heat exchanger in place to insure that SCC would not re-occur.   2.  Have...
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Fatal Distractions: Refinery Chloride Contamination – Are You Looking for the Source of Chlorides in the Right Place?

L1011-aircraft Eastern Airlines L1011 Aircraft
On December 29, 1972 one the Nation’s worst airline accidents occurred as Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crashed into the Florida Everglades killing 101 of the passengers and crew.   A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation attributed the cause of the crash to crew distraction.  While on approach, the crew noted that a landing gear indicator light was not functioning.  While the entire crew was preoccupied with troubleshooting the burnt-out landing gear indicator light, they failed to notice that the autopilot had inadvertently been disconnected and, as a result, the aircraft gradually lost altitude and ultimately crashed. All too often when attempting to solve a problem we suffer from tunnel vision.    A probable root cause to the problem is suggested and we spend all of energy and resources attempting to fix the suggested root cause while ignoring the indications that the actual root cause is something else or that more...
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CalOSHA Update – Damage Mechanism Reviews (DMR)

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On May 18, 2017, the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Occupational Safety and Health Standards (CalOSHA) board approved a new regulation that changes how Process Safety Management (PSM) is handled for oil refineries within the state of California.  This regulation was approved in response to high-profile industry incidents in the state of California in the last 5 to 10 years.  The new regulation introduces a “refinery safety order” that will be enforced by the PSM unit within CalOSHA ( CLICK HERE for the regulation ).  Some key elements introduced in this regulation are: Damage Mechanism Reviews (DMR's) – Reviews that consider where corrosion, mechanical damage, environmental cracking, etc. are identified for process equipment; Hierarchy of Hazard Controls Analysis – A review to identify appropriate the most appropriate means for managing hazards; Human Factors Program – Analysis of personnel related factors such as employee fatigue, staffing levels, shift turnover, and training; Management...
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