Main content area

Impact of ambient air temperature and heat load variation on the performance of air-cooled heat exchangers in propane cycles in LNG plants – Analytical approach

Fahmy, M.F.M., Nabih, H.I.
Energy conversion and management 2016 v.121 pp. 22-35
air, air flow, air temperature, ambient temperature, analytical methods, heat, heat exchangers, mass flow, natural gas, propane, summer, winter, Egypt
An analytical method is presented to evaluate the air flow rate required in an air-cooled heat exchanger used in a propane pre-cooling cycle operating in an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant. With variable ambient air inlet temperature, the air flow rate is to be increased or decreased so as to assure and maintain good performance of the operating air-cooled heat exchanger at the designed parameters and specifications. This analytical approach accounts for the variations in both heat load and ambient air inlet temperature. The ambient air inlet temperature is modeled analytically by simplified periodic relations. Thus, a complete analytical method is described so as to manage the problem of determining and accordingly regulate, either manually or automatically, the flow rate of air across the finned tubes of the air-cooled heat exchanger and thus, controls the process fluid outlet temperature required for the air-cooled heat exchangers for both cases of constant and varying heat loads and ambient air inlet temperatures. Numerical results are obtained showing the performance of the air-cooled heat exchanger of a propane cycle which cools both NG (natural gas) and MR (mixed refrigerant) streams in the LNG plant located at Damietta, Egypt. The inlet air temperature variation in the summer time has a considerable effect on the required air mass flow rate, while its influence becomes relatively less pronounced in winter.