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Chemical and Process Engineering Resources

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Category: Heat Transfer Technology
Question: What type of heat exchangers are most commonly used for a large scale plant cooling loop using sea water as the utility?
Keywords: secondary,cooling,loop,sea,water,strainer,automatic,backflush
Answer: Commonly known as a "secondary cooling loop" or SECOOL, a closed loop water system is circulated through a processing plant near a sea. Process heat is transferred into the closed loop water and then this water is circulated through heat exchangers to transfer (reject) the heat to seawater.This is a hallmark plate and frame heat exchanger application. The higher heat transfer coefficients that are available in plate and frames exchangers (PHEs) will minimize the installed cost because the material of construction of choice it Grade 1 Titanium (higher U-value means lower area). To combat pluggage the the narrow passages in the exchangers, the seawater is typically run through large automatic backflush strainers designed especially for seawater. Periodically, these strainers will reverse flow and "blowdown" debris to clear the strainer. This method has been used for many years with great success.