Large ethylene plants present unique design, construction challenges

The design and manufacture of equipment in ethane crackers with more than 1 million tonnes/year (tpy) of ethylene production create many problems during engineering, procurement, construction, and start-up. Current technology constraints due to the exclusive use of centrifugal compressors limit ethane cracker capacity to 1.4 million tpy of ethylene in a single compression line.Other considerations, however—such as suitable location, feedstock availability, downstream unit reliability, turndown ratio requirements, consequences of furnace and plant outages—will take precedence over the design and construction problems when investors determine the capacity of new plants.As with o...

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