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.
There are a number of systems in a large complex processing facility such as a refinery or chemical plant that are classified as "systems".  They cannot be looked at in isolation since they support multiple units within the entire complex. These include Instrumentation and Control; Electric Power; and Utility Systems as well as receipt and shipment.... Becht has specialists with experience in systems consulting for upstream and downstream facilities and can provide both project support and troubleshooting. More

Cooling Water Treatment: Benefits of a Cold Eyes Review

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The chemical treatment of a plant cooling water system is typically provided through a vendor who supplies both chemicals and service. The most common type of system in industrial plants is an open evaporative, recirculating  cooling water system (with a cooling tower performing the heat rejection) but closed loop systems and once through systems also require treatment.  The chemicals employed are generally proprietary and are specifically engineered to provide control of : Corrosion Mineral Scaling Debris Fouling Biological forms (algae, fungi, aerobic and anaerobic bacteria) The cost for chemical treatment and service is small compared to the cost of the equipment in a cooling system, on the order of a few percent. However, if plugging of a heat exchanger with mineral scale occurs, or a heat exchanger fails by pitting due to corrosion, the entire annual cost for the chemical treatment and service can be exceeded by a single incident in...
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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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Hurricane Harvey Recovery - Methodical Steps to Restart Your Plant

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I personally went through Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike during my career living in the Gulf Coast. Restarting our plants after these storms was challenging, home life was miserable without power for three weeks and traveling over 100 miles north to find gasoline, food and water for family and neighbors was time consuming and hazardous. However, this experience pales in comparison to the challenges faced by families and operating companies from Houston to Corpus Christ and beyond recovering from the unprecedented events cause by Hurricane Harvey. In this posting, I identify the challenges faced with our employees and plants as we restarted after these storms. Becht hopes this blog will help you and your companies through these trying times. Many of the personnel at Becht Engineering have been through hurricane recovery , plant restarts and emergency situations. Please contact us if we can help. These important points must be considered as...
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Systems Obsolescence Mitigation Strategy

Systems Obsolescence Mitigation Strategy
The majority of industrial plants around the world have long since deployed microprocessor-based systems to automate the monitoring, control and protection of their equipment and production processes.  These systems include programmable logic controllers (PLC), distributed control systems (DCS), safety instrument systems (SIS) and other digital systems ranging from tank gauging systems to motor operated valve networks to electrical substation automation.  Technically, systems could also include field instrumentation and control valves.  Owner/Operators have been enjoying the benefits of the digital revolution since the mid-1970s – longer equipment life, extended run length between turnarounds, increased plant throughput, higher profit margins, reduced manpower, improved operations and personnel safety and easier compliance with government regulations.  By and large these systems have delivered reliable operation over the years and become an almost forgotten part of a plant’s critical infrastructure. Unfortunately, many of these microprocessor-based systems are beginning to show signs of age and failing to meet...
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