Controlling the temperature and amount of pressure in a distillation column is imperative; it dictates the type and quality of products a plant is able to manufacture.
The Shell Chemical plant in Geismar, LA was having trouble keeping the temperature in their distillation columns resulting from flash cooling during rainstorms. The conventional insulation being used had been working as a thermal battery, essentially storing heat around the column. When it rained, it flash cooled the jacketing around the insulation and heat quickly escaped, needing time for the thermal battery to charge back up after the rain passed.
Shell looked to Mascoat for a resolution; Mascoat’s Industrial-DTI coating doesn’t hold heat, it reflects it back into the unit. By using DTI, the unit would not need as much time to come back to temperature after it rained as the convention insulation did, and was the ideal solution. The plant ran a test. The coating was applied at a thickness of 140 mils to one distillation column. To show comparative real-world results, 2” of previous Perlite insulation remained in the column right next to the Mascoat coated column, and for good measure, they left the third column completely un-insulated.
Mascoat outperformed the other two columns. After the first rainstorm cleared, the tower coated with Mascoat Industrial-DTI went back to optimal temperature quickly, while the other two towers took a significant amount of time to return to their original temperatures.
Soon after the test, Shell coated the other two distillation columns with DTI as well and has been pleased with the coating’s superior thermal insulation performance and personnel protection; its protection against CUI has been an added benefit.