Project Synopsis

Provide heat exchanger evaluation and design expertise to reduce used oil tank heating cycle times.

Project Summary


The client owns a chain of chemical recycling plants used primarily for the re-refining of used motor oil.  The client’s corporate office contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to rate heat exchangers to be used at multiple plants to provide heating for oil dewatering processes.  The goal was to decrease the dewatering cycle times. The existing processes utilized coils in large storage tanks with recirculating loops that were to contain the exchangers that provided heat to the loops.

To this end, PROCESS utilized its licensed commercial computer process simulation software (CHEMCAD) along with the heat exchanger rating/design package (CCTHERM) to execute the evaluations.  The results were as follows:

  • For two plant applications, the client was initially going to purchase “off the shelf” exchangers that PROCESS showed, through the utilization of CCTHERM, were not suitable for the respective applications.  PROCESS then designed exchangers with CCTHERM and offered alternate selections that the client ultimately purchased and implemented with the oil dewatering processes.  The exchangers are currently operating as designed.
  • For a third plant application, the client was originally going to install a heat exchanger that was available on the used equipment market, but PROCESS once again was able to show that the exchanger was not suitable for the application.  Based on an alternate exchanger design that was provided to the client by PROCESS, the client was able to locate a suitable exchanger at one of its other plants.  The exchanger is currently operating as designed.

Previous cycle times to sufficiently heat the tanks were on the order of 24 hours. Using the recommended heat exchanger systems reduced this time down to 2-3 hours.

Industry Type

  • Oil Recycling
  • Waste Recycling

Utilized Skills

  • Heat exchanger evaluation

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