Longer oil lifetime, reliable operation

The heat transfer media used in heat transfer systems are usually mineral oil-based lubricants applicable up to 300-340°C. Due to high temperature and the presence of air, these oils manifest continuous aging, their properties change slowly, or sometimes in a jump-like fashion. After some time, such changes may result in operating issues. In the new natural gas cleaning system operated by Rikopet Ltd., in a short while after the first filling, operating problems were observed. Oil diagnostic tests demonstrated the degradation of the heat transfer fluid. Company and MOL-LUB experts teamed up to find the underlying reasons. Following implementation of the proposed solution measures, the system has since operated without fault for years.

“The technical consultation session held with the participation of MOL-LUB application technology experts revealed that the root cause of our operating problems is inadequate system set-up. Using the jointly developed solution, our system has operated without breakdown for five years.”

Dr. Dániel Magyari, technical leader

The natural, slowly occurring degradation of heat transfer fluids may take place a lot faster, in one jump, in the case of operating problems. Apart from quality, the lifetime of heat transfer fluids largely depends on the system itself. A poorly designed and unsuitably maintained system rapidly destroys even the best quality oil, considerably reducing its lifetime.

In the new natural gas cleaning system operated by Rikopet Ltd. – specialising in natural gas field operation and energetics consulting – shortly after start-up, operating problems were observed. In fact, laboratory tests proved the degradation of lubricant filling. The experts of the two companies set out to discover the cause of short lifetime and the associated operating problems together.

System review shed light on several design issues. The boiler was placed at great distance from the system. The connecting pipes ran under the road, and thus after oil change the remaining oil in the system caused the fresh oil to circulate with used properties. Oil aging was also accelerated because right after unit start-up – due to the failure of a heat exchanger – low-boiling-point condensate seeped out into the heating system and mixed with the new filling. The third critical event was that the hot oil flowed through the expansion tank in continuous contact with air. Consequently, oxidation processes were highly accelerated, contributing to rapid oil degradation.

Once the above defects were known, the plant moved the boiler to another location, eliminated the below-the-ground pipes, refitted the expansion tank, and filled up the system with clean oil after cleaning it. Over the 5 years that passed since then, the samples sent annually to the LubCheck laboratory of MOL-LUB confirmed the suitable conditions of the oil and the system – thanks to the close cooperation of the operator and the lubricant manufacturer.

Data sheet

Company:

Rikopet Ltd., Csikvánd

Industry:

Natural gas production and transmission

Application:

Heat transfer system

Product:

MOL Thermol 46

Ask our experts!
Róbertné Nagy

Lubricants Expert
Specialization: industrial lubricants, lubricating greases

rnenagy@mol.hu
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