Typically, an Air Cooled Heat Exchangers for process use consists of a finned-tube bundle with rectangular box headers on both ends of the tubes. Cooling air is provided by one or more fans. Usually, the air blows upwards through a horizontal tube bundle. In Air Cooled Heat Exchangers the fans can be either forced or induced draft, depending on whether the air is pushed or pulled through the tube bundle. The space between the fan(s) and the tube bundle is enclosed by a plenum chamber which directs the air. The whole assembly is usually mounted on legs or a pipe rack.
The fans are usually driven be electric motors through some type of speed reducer. The speed reducers are usually V-belts, HTD drives, or right angle gears. The fan drive assembly is supported by a steel mechanical drive support system. They usually include a vibration switch on each fan to automatically shut down a fan which has become imbalanced for some reason.Water shortage and increasing costs, together with more recent concerns about water pollution and cooling tower plumes, have greatly reduced industry’s use of water cooled heat exchangers. Consequently, when further heat integration within the plant is not possible, it is now usual to reject heat directly to the atmosphere, and a large proportion of the process cooling in refineries and chemical plants takes place in Air Cooled Heat Exchangers.There is also increasing use of Air Cooled Condensers for power stations.
- Natural gas processing (acid gas removal, dehydration, NGL recovery, mercury removal, fractionation, sweetening)
- Hydrocarbon processing
- Petrochemical processing
- Engine cooling
- Gas compression (stage cooling)
- Lube oil cooling
- Refrigerant condensing
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
- Duplex stainless steel
- Copper nickel
- Inconel® and Incoloy®
- Hastelloy® and other proprietary alloys