In February, Valero Refining Co.'s Corpus Christi refinery commissioned the world's highest horsepower FCC hot gas expander, built by Conmec Inc., pictured above. A new compressor was also installed.The world's most powerful fluid-catalytic cracking (FCC) power recovery train, according to its designer and builder, has been installed at Valero Refining Co.'s Corpus Christi, Tex., refinery.
The expander and compressor were installed during an FCC unit turnaround in February 1999.
The new FCC hot gas expander is Conmec's model FEX-142 single-stage expander. It produces a record 50,000 hp (37.3 MW) at 3,600 rpm. This expander has about 40% more power than Valero's existing unit.
The new expander is rated for 1,400° F. (760° C.). Conmec said the design pressure ratio of 3.4 is the highest ratio in the industry for a single-stage expander. The entire unit assembled on a baseplate weighs over 70,000 lb and stands over 20 ft high.
The expander drives a new Conmec AX3713-7 axial-flow compressor and motor/generator. The 13 stage AX3713-7 is a "drop-in" replacement unit for an existing 12-stage axial compressor.
Conmec custom-designed the compressor to increase the compressor's flow capacity, minimizing changes to the existing infrastructure. The new compressor has the same bearing-to-bearing centerline distance as Valero's existing compressor.
The compressor is rated at 340,000 icfm (intake cfm), and is capable of 30% more flow than the older one.
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