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Engineering Encyclopedia

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards

CALCULATING PROCESS HEATER


THERMAL EFFICIENCY

Note: The source of the technical material in this volume is the Professional
Engineering Development Program (PEDP) of Engineering Services.
Warning: The material contained in this document was developed for Saudi
Aramco and is intended for the exclusive use of Saudi Aramco’s employees.
Any material contained in this document which is not already in the public
domain may not be copied, reproduced, sold, given, or disclosed to third
parties, or otherwise used in whole, or in part, without the written permission
of the Vice President, Engineering Services, Saudi Aramco.

Chapter : Mechanical For additional information on this subject, contact


File Reference: MEX-105.04 PEDD Coordinator on 874-6556
Engineering Encyclopedia Inroduction to Process Heaters

Calculating Process Heater Thermal Efficiency

Section Page

INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 4

Thermal efficiency ................................................................................................ 4

CALCULATING THERMAL EFFICIENCY USING


THE INPUT/OUTPUT OR DIRECT METHOD................................................................. 5

Example Problem 1 .............................................................................................. 6

CALCULATING THERMAL EFFICIENCY USING THE HEAT LOSS METHOD ............. 7

Excess Air/Oxygen ............................................................................................... 7

Example Problem 2 .............................................................................................. 8

Stack (Flue Gas) Temperature ........................................................................... 11

Heater Efficiency Calculation.............................................................................. 13

Heat Available Charts .............................................................................. 13

Example Problem 3 ............................................................................................ 14

Simplified Equation .................................................................................. 15

Thermal Efficiency Improvement ........................................................................ 16

Example Problem 4 ............................................................................................ 17

Reduce Excess Air................................................................................... 20

Reduce Stack Temperature ..................................................................... 22

Reduce Other Losses .............................................................................. 22

EFFECTS OF FIRING RATE ON THERMAL EFFICIENCY.......................................... 23

WORK AID 1: RESOURCES USED TO CALCULATE THERMAL


EFFICIENCY USING THE INPUT/OUTPUT METHOD......................... 24

WORK AID 2: RESOURCES USED TO CALCULATE THERMAL


EFFICIENCY USING THE HEAT LOSS METHOD............................... 25

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Work Aid 2A: Short Cut Equations To Calculate Excess Air


and Thermal Efficiency ................................................................ 25

Work Aid 2B: Steps to Calculate Furnace Efficiency by Heat Loss Method....... 26

Work Aid 2C: Chart to Check Excess Air Calculation ........................................ 28

Work Aid 2D: Heat Available from the Combustion of Refinery Gas.................. 29

Work Aid 2D: Heat Available from the Combustion of Refinery Gas.................. 30

Work Aid 2E: Heat Available from the Combustion of Fuel Oil .......................... 31

Work Aid 2E: Heat Available from the Combustion of Fuel Oil .......................... 32

Work Aid 2E: Heat Available from the Combustion of Fuel Oil .......................... 33

GLOSSARY .................................................................................................................. 34

ADDENDUM ................................................................................................................. 35

API - RP - 532 PROCEDURE ....................................................................................... 36

REFERENCES.............................................................................................................. 56

List of Figures

Figure 1. Flue Gas Oxygen Versus Excess Air .............................................................. 9

Figure 2. Typical Aspirating (High Velocity) Thermocouple.......................................... 12

Figure 3. Combustion Heat Available to Process ......................................................... 13

Figure 4. Furnace Air Leaks ......................................................................................... 21

Figure 5. Flue Gas Oxygen Versus Excess Air ............................................................ 28

Figure 6. Heat Available from the Combustion of 1000 Btu/ft3 Refinery Gas ............... 29

Figure 7. Heat Available from the Combustion of 1600 Btu/ft3 Refinery Gas ............... 30

Figure 8. Heat Available from the Combustion of 5°API Fuel Oil ................................. 31

Figure 9. Heat Available from the Combustion of 10°API Fuel Oil ............................... 32

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Figure 10. Heat Available from the Combustion of 15ºAPI Fuel Oil.............................. 33

Figure 1A. Typical Heater Arrangement ....................................................................... 36

Figure 2A. Vapor Pressure of Water ............................................................................ 39

Figure 3A. Enthalpy of Flue Gas Components ............................................................. 40

Figure 4A. Enthalpy of Flue Gas Components ............................................................. 41

Figure 5A. Sample Combustion Work Sheet................................................................ 46

Figure 6A. Sample Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet .............................. 47

Figure 7A. Sample Stack Loss Work Sheet ................................................................. 49

Figure 8A. Combustion Work Sheet ............................................................................. 52

Figure 9A. Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet ........................................... 53

Figure 10A. Stack Loss Work Sheet............................................................................. 55

List of Tables

Table 1. Excess Oxygen ................................................................................................ 7

Table 2. Furnace Fuel Savings .................................................................................... 18

Table 3. Furnace Fuel Savings Calculations ................................................................ 19

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Calculating Process Heater Thermal Efficiency

INTRODUCTION

Thermal efficiency
Thermal efficiency is defined as the percentage of the absorbed
energy to the total energy input. Calculation of thermal efficiency
is based on an energy balance around the process heater.

Factors that increase the losses will decrease the thermal


efficiency. For example, operating with too much excess air
reduces the thermal efficiency by increasing the stack heat loss
because the excess air is heated from ambient to stack gas
temperature.

The thermal efficiency for which a process heater is designed is


an economic evaluation involving the cost of fuel and the cost of
equipment to reduce the losses. Examples of economic
analyses include: (1) the amount of insulation or refractory used
to reduce heat losses to the atmosphere, (2) the amount of heat
transfer surface provided in the radiant and convection sections
to reduce the stack temperature, (3) use of a preheater to
reduce the stack gas temperature and (4) types of burners used
which determines minimum excess air requirement.

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CALCULATING THERMAL EFFICIENCY USING THE INPUT/OUTPUT


OR DIRECT METHOD
The thermal efficiency can be calculated using either the higher
heating value (HHV) or the lower heating value (LHV). The LHV
is a better measure of achievable thermal efficiency since the
latent heat of vaporization of the water in the flue gas cannot be
recovered. The HHV efficiency is several percentage points
lower than the LHV efficiency. It is common practice in the
furnace industry to use the LHV in calculations while the boiler
industry uses the HHV efficiency.

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Calculating Process Heater Thermal Efficiency

Example Problem 1
A heater is heating a 20º API oil from 410ºF to 620ºF for use as
a hot oil heating media for reboil heat to distillation columns in
the plant. The flow of oil is 150,000 Bbl/D. The oil is not
vaporized in the heater and its specific heat is 0.40 Btu/lb-ºF.
The heater is firing 895 Bbl/D of 5º API fuel oil with a lower
heating value of 17,000 Btu/lb. Calculate the heater efficiency.

Solution:
Heat Absorbed, Qa

 1415
.   141.5 
Specific Gravity = SG =   =   = 0.934
 1315
. + ° API  131.5 + 20 

350
Mass rate = m = 150,000 X 0.934 X = 2,043,125 lb/hr
24

Qa = m Cp ∆t = 2,043,125 X 0.40 X (620 - 410) = 171.6 X 106 Btu/hr


Heat released, Qr

 1415
.   141.5 
SG =   =   = 1.0366
 1315
. + ° API  131.5 + 5 

350
Mass rate = m = 895 X 1.0366 X = 13,530 lb/hr
24
Qr = 13,530 X 17,000 = 230 X 106 Btu/hr
Heater Efficiency, E

 Q  171.6
E =  a  = = 74.6%
 Qr  230

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CALCULATING THERMAL EFFICIENCY USING THE HEAT LOSS


METHOD
The heat loss method calculation is used when the heat
absorbed cannot be readily calculated such as most process
heaters. The heat absorbed can be calculated by subtracting
the heat losses from the heat fired. In a boiler or process heater
the primary heat loss is that lost to the stack gas. The heat loss
in the stack is a function of the stack temperature, the amount of
excess air and the carbon and hydrogen ratio in the fuel. A
material and energy balance can be calculated knowing the
above parameters.

Excess Air/Oxygen
The amount of excess air is defined as a percentage of the air in
the flue gas to the air that is required for complete combustion.
Excess air and excess oxygen are numerically equivalent
because the numerator and denominator are both multiplied by
the same constant to convert from one to the other.
Analysis from the lab will always be on a dry basis. Stack gas
analyzers that sample the stack gas will dry the stack gas
before analysis. Stack gas analyzers that are in the stack
measure on a wet basis but may be calibrated to report on a dry
basis.
The calculation based on a dry flue gas analysis is outlined in
and detailed in Example Problem 2.
Normally there is no correction for incomplete combustion
shown in step 3 of because the carbon monoxide (CO)
concentration is usually negligible (10-50 ppm).

1. Obtain flue gas analyses CO2, CO, O2, N2.


2. From the percent N2, calculate the total O2 into the furnace.
3. Reduce the free O2 by the amount required to burn the CO to CO2.
The remaining free O2 is excess. (CO is usually negligible)
4. O2 required = (total in) less (excess)

5. Percent excess O2 =
(excess O2 ) x100 = (excess ) x100
(required O2 ) total - excess

Table 1. Excess Oxygen

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Example Problem 2
Calculation Of Excess Oxygen

Lab Flue gas analysis: CO2 9.5

CO 1.8
O2 2.0

N2 86.7

100.0
Air composition: 21% O2, 79% N2

0.21
O 2 into furnace = 86.7 x = 23.0 moles / 100 moles flue gas
0.79

1.8 CO + 0.9 O 2 
→ 1.8CO2

(Note: Usually CO is in parts per million and this correction can be ignored)
Net O2 = 2.0 - 0.9 = 1.1 moles/100 moles flue gas

Percent excess O2 = 1.1 x 100 = 5.02%


(23 − 1.1)
If there were no CO in the stack gas, the above analysis would have 11.3% CO2 and
the percent excess O2 would have been:

2.0 (100 )
Percent excess O 2 = = 9.5%
(23 − 2.0)

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Figure 1 (Work Aid 2C) can also be used to calculate excess air
(oxygen) once the oxygen has been adjusted for complete
combustion. For 1.1% O2 Figure 1 gives an excess air of 5%.
For 2.0% O2 Figure 1 gives an excess air of 9%. This checks
our previous calculations.

Figure 1. Flue Gas Oxygen Versus Excess Air

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Excess air and excess oxygen are numerically equal, because


both numerator and denominator are multiplied by the same
constant to convert between the two. % O2 in flue gas is not %
excess O2. Considering these equal is a common error.
The following shortcut equations can also be used to estimate
percent excess air. These equations assume complete
combustion and a nominal carbon to hydrogen ratio.

When the flue gas analysis is on a wet basis:


111.4 x %O2
Excess Air =
20.95 - %O2

where: %O2 = Percent oxygen in the flue gas


For 2% O2 in the stack gas:

Excess Air = 111.4 x 2 = 222.8 = 11.8%


20.95 - 2 18.95
When the flue gas analysis is on a dry basis:
91.2 x %O2
Excess Air =
20.95 - %O2

For 2% O2 in the stack gas:

Excess Air = 91.2 x 2 = 182.4 = 9.6%


20.95 -2 18.95
Lab analysis is always on a dry basis because the water drops
out as the gas sample cools. When the oxygen analyzer is
located in the stack, the oxygen is measured on the wet basis
but the analyzer may be calibrated using lab results so that it
reports on a dry basis. When the flue gas is extracted from the
stack and is transported to an analyzer that is located some
distance away, the analysis is on the dry basis.
The precise relationship between oxygen content and excess air
is a function of the hydrogen-to-carbon ratio of the fuel.
However, there is very little change in this relationship over a
wide range of fuels at low excess air rates as shown in Figure 1
(Work Aid 2C).

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Stack (Flue Gas) Temperature


Another potential source of error in all efficiency calculations is
an error in stack temperature measurements. Ordinary stack
temperature thermocouples can read low by as much as 100°F,
depending upon their location and the flue gas temperature
being measured. If the thermocouple can "see" cold
surroundings, such as the top of the convection section or the
sky, the indicator will likely read low. The higher the actual stack
temperature, the higher the radiation losses and thus, the higher
the error. The aspirating thermocouples shown in Figure 2
minimizes any error due to radiation.

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1. = Thermocouple junction.
2. = Thermocouple wires to temperature-indicating instrument.
3. = Outer thin-wall 310 stainless steel tube.
4. = Middle thin-wall 310 stainless steel tube.
5. = Center thin-wall 310 stainless steel tube.
6. = Centering tripods.
7. = Air or steam at 10 lb/sq in. gage or more in increments of 10 lb/sq in. until
stable.
8. = Hot gas eductor.
From Furnace Operations, Third Edition by Robert Reed. Copyright © 1981 by Gulf Publishing Company, Houston,
Texas. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Figure 2. Typical Aspirating (High Velocity) Thermocouple

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Heater Efficiency Calculation


API RP 532 specifies a detailed procedure for calculating the
thermal efficiency. This procedure is long and requires an
analysis of the fuel composition. This procedure is included in
the Addendum with an example problem and blank calculation
sheets.
The API RP 532 procedure is a detailed heat balance on the
combustion side of the furnace to determine the amount of heat
lost up the stack.

Heat Available Charts


The API material and heat balance has been solved for a
number of cases and these cases plotted as heat available
charts to simplify the calculations. These charts are attached as
Work Aids 2D and 2E. Work Aid 2D has charts for 1000 Btu/ft3
gas, and 1600 Btu/ft3 gas. Work Aid 2E has charts for 5º API,
10º API, and 15º API fuel oils. All charts have the general
relationship shown in Figure 3. Figure 3 shows that the heat
available to the process is reduced as excess air is increased
and a stack gas temperature is increased. Heat available charts
shown in Work Aids 2D and 2E are useful in furnace design and
calculating furnace efficiency.

Figure 3. Combustion Heat Available to Process

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Example Problem 3 illustrates the use of these charts in


calculating thermal efficiency.

Example Problem 3
In this calculation we will assume that the excess air is that we
have already calculated in Example Problem 2. The heat
absorbed in this heater has been calculated as 353 X 106 Btu/hr
and the stack temperature is 600ºF. The heater has a normal
heat loss of 2% through the refractory.
Process heat absorbed = QA = 353 MBtu/hr (Given)
Stack temperature = 600ºF (from stack TI) (Given)
Percent excess air = 5% (from flue gas analysis and calculations of Example
Problem 2)
Fuel = 1000 Btu/ft3 fuel gas (Given)
19,700 Btu/lb LHV (from refinery utilities coordinator) (Given)
From Heat Available Curve (Work Aid 2D for 1000 Btu/ft3 refinery gas)
HA = 17,100 Btu/lb fuel at 600ºF and 5% excess air

Q A 353 x 10 6 Btu / hr
Net fuel = FN = = = 20,643 lb / hr
HA 17,100 Btu / lb

Assume furnace box losses are 2%. (Usually 1.5 - 2.5%)


Gross fuel = FG = 1.02 x 20,643 = 21,056 lb/hr
Heat fired = QF = 21,056 x 19,700 Btu/lb = 414.8 x 106 Btu/hr

heat absorbed Q A 353x10 6


LHV efficiency = = = x 100 = 85.1%
heat fired QF 414.8x10 6

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Simplified Equation
A simplified (shortcut) equation can also be used to estimate
LHV thermal efficiency. The simplified equation assumes a
nominal heating value of the fuel (carbon to hydrogen ratio) of
1000 Btu/ft3 or 19,700 Btu/lb.

 100 
% efficiency = [100-(0.0237 + 0.000189EA) (TST – TA)]  
 100 + Q L 

where: EA = Percent excess air.


TST = Stack temperature, ºF.

TA = Ambient air temperature, ºF.

QL = Casing heat loss, %.

For Example Problem 3 conditions and assuming that the


atmospheric temperature is 80ºF, the furnace efficiency
calculated by the shortcut formula is as follows:
 100 
% efficiency = [100-(0.023 + 0.000189x5)(600-80)]  
 100 + 2 
% efficiency = [100-(0.0246) (520)] (0.9804) = 85.5

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Thermal Efficiency Improvement


The thermal efficiency of a heater can be improved primarily by
reducing the heat loss out of the stack. Increasing heat transfer
surfaces or adding a new heat recovery can reduce stack
temperature. An example of adding heat recovery is a waste
steam generator as is done at Ras Tanura at the crude unit and
reformer heaters.

Another way of reducing heat loss out of the stack is to add an


air preheater. An air preheater exchanges hot flue gas with cold
air to the burners improving the heat recovery in the furnace and
thereby increasing the thermal efficiency. Lower limits on flue
gas temperature and upper limits on air to the burners that must
be met in design of air preheaters.

Another means of reducing the heat loss out of the stack is


reducing the excess air. Each burner design has a minimum
excess air for a design fuel. The excess air should operate near
the minimum for the burner design. Consideration can be given
to replacing burners with a more efficient burner that will permit
operation at a lower excess air.

Example problem 5 illustrates the increase in efficiency and the


fuel savings that can be attained with a reduction of the stack
temperature of 50ºF and a reduction of 10% in excess air.

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Example Problem 4
A heater is operating with a stack temperature of 600ºF and an
excess air of 20%. The heat absorbed has been calculated at
310.13 X 106 Btu/hr. There is normal 2% heat loss from the
heater. The LHV efficiency is 84.5% with a net gross fuel
consumption of 18,914 lb/hr of fuel gas with a LHV of 19,400
Btu/lb. Calculate the change in fuel consumption and efficiency
by reducing the stack temperature 50ºF and the excess air from
20 to 10%.
Heat absorbed QA = 310.13 MBtu/hr
Heat loss (Given) = 2%
Fuel LHV (Given) = 19,400

Heat available = 16,725 at 600°F Stack and 20% excess air (Work Aid 2D
for 1600 Btu/ft3 refinery gas)

310.13 X 10 6
Net fuel = = 18,543 lb / hr
16,725 Btu / lb

Gross fuel = 1.02 x 18,543 = 18,914


Heat fired = 18,914 x 19,400 = 366.93 MBtu/hr

310.13 X 10 6
LHV Efficiency = X 100 = 84.5%
366.93 X 10 6

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To Increase Efficiency:
• Lower stack temperature.
– Add more surface to convection.
– Add more surface to convection section and preheat another process stream. A
50ºF reduction in stack temperature would increase efficiency from 84.5% to
85.9%.
– The 50°F reduction in stack temperature reduces the fuel consumption 1.62%.
• Reduce percent excess air.
– A reduction of excess air from 20% to 10% increases efficiency from 84.5% to
85.4%.
– The reduction of excess air from 20% to 10% reduces the fuel consumption by
1.04%.
As shown by Table 2, the improvements are all of the same order of magnitude. Which
one (or all) is used depends on the specific furnace under consideration.

Lower Stack
Case Base Reduce Excess Air
Temp.

Heat absorbed, MBtu/hr 310.13 310.13 310.13


Stack temperature, ºF 600 550 600
Excess air, percent 20 20 10
Furnace efficiency, percent 84.5 85.91 85.40
Fuel savings, percent Base 1.62 1.04

Table 2. Furnace Fuel Savings

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Calculation for efficiency Improvement:

Case 1 2 3
Base Lower Stack Reduce %
Temp. Excess Air

Heat absorbed 310.13 310.13 310.13


Stack 600 550 600
Percent excess air 20 20 10
Heat loss 2% 2% 2%
Fuel LHV 19,400 19,400 19,400
Heat avail.* 16,725 17,000 16,900

Net fuel 18,543 18,243 18,351


Gross fuel 18,914 18,608 18,718
Heat fired 366.93 360.99 363.13

LHV, percent eff. 84.52 85.91 85.40

Fuel savings Base 1.62% 1.04%

*Refer to Work Aid 2D for 1600 Btu/ft3 fuel gas

Table 3. Furnace Fuel Savings Calculations

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Reduce Excess Air

All the air that enters a boiler or furnace is ultimately discharged


to the atmosphere at the stack temperature, and the energy it
contains is lost. The primary objective of efficient boiler and
furnace operations is to minimize airflow beyond that required
for good combustion. The air required for combustion should
enter only through the burners. The following steps can be
taken to reduce excess air:
1. Seal air leaks. This is particularly important in furnaces,
which operate with a draft (negative pressure) throughout
the furnace. These furnaces are more susceptible to air
infiltration. shows typical sources of air leaks into a furnace.
2. Fire all burners at the same rate (close off idle burners).
3. Control furnace draft.
4. Determine excess air targets for each furnace through a
series of plant tests. These targets are the minimum excess
air rates that are necessary for good combustion. Since no
two furnaces are exactly the same, there can be different
targets for each boiler and furnace in the plant.
5. Add improved combustion control systems.
− Automatic draft control and process heaters.
− Use closed loop oxygen and/or CO trim control.
6. Replace oversized burners. It is difficult to operate oversized
burners efficiently at the high turndown rates desired without
excessive excess air.
7. Use high-capacity, high-intensity, or axial flow forced-draft
burners for improved, low excess air combustion.
8. Use low NOX burners for reduced emissions and low excess
air.

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Figure 4. Furnace Air Leaks

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Reduce Stack
Temperature
Fouling of the convection section tubes is the primary cause of
stack temperatures exceeding design. The extent of fouling can
be determined by visual inspection of the tubes or by observing
an increase in stack temperature over time. A 40ºF increase in
stack temperature typically represents a loss of 1% in thermal
efficiency.

Fouling can be reduced by operating sootblowers in furnaces.


Sootblowers should be provided for all furnaces where heavy
liquid fuels are fired. Units without sootblowers should be
periodically cleaned during turnarounds. Fuel oil additives can
be used to reduce deposits.

Reducing the stack temperature of a furnace that is operating


satisfactorily usually requires the addition of heat transfer
surface. The following are means of reducing stack
temperature:

• Add heat transfer surface in convection section of process


heaters.

• Add waste heat boiler to convection section.

• Add combustion air preheaters. Air preheaters can transfer


heat from the flue gas leaving the stack, to the air used for
combustion. Depending upon the flue gas temperature, the
incoming air can be heated to a maximum of 65ºC (150ºF)
as specified by SAES-F-001. The flue gas temperature
should be kept above about 300ºF to prevent corrosion of
the heat exchanger due to sulfuric acid.

Reduce Other Losses

Although less important than excess air and stack temperature,


heat losses out of the heater can be reduced improving the
insulation.

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EFFECTS OF FIRING RATE ON THERMAL EFFICIENCY


As the firing rate is increased the loss to the stack increases
primarily because the heat transfer area is fixed. The increase in
heat loss is not necessarily proportional to the increase in firing
rate. Increased loss will reduce thermal efficiency. Similarly a
decrease in firing will slightly improve thermal efficiency. At very
low firing rates the heat losses to the atmosphere become
significant and the thermal efficiency may decrease.

Overfiring a process heater will reduce thermal efficiency.

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WORK AID 1: RESOURCES USED TO CALCULATE THERMAL


EFFICIENCY USING THE INPUT/OUTPUT METHOD

Step 1. Calculate heat absorbed (QA) by a heat balance.

Step 2. Calculate heat released from fuel combustion (QF)


by using the fuel rate and the heat of combustion.
Step 3. Calculate thermal efficiency.

QA
Eff . =
QF
(100 )

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WORK AID 2: RESOURCES USED TO CALCULATE THERMAL


EFFICIENCY USING THE HEAT LOSS METHOD
The Work Aids to follow illustrates various methods for
calculating thermal efficiencies.

Work Aid 2A: Short Cut Equations To Calculate Excess Air and
Thermal Efficiency

Excess Air, EA
Dry Basis, O2 in stack gas

91.2 x % O 2
Excess Air =
20.95 - % O 2

Wet Basis, O2 in stack gas

111.4 x % O 2
Excess Air =
20.95 - % O 2

Thermal Efficiency

 100 
[
LHV efficiency = 100 − (0.0237 + 0.000189EA ) ( TST − TA )  ] 
 100 + QL 

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Work Aid 2B: Steps to Calculate Furnace Efficiency by Heat Loss


Method

To determine a furnace thermal efficiency, follow the steps listed below:


Step 1: Calculate oxygen to furnace, using the formula:

 moles N2  moles O2 
  
 100 moles flue gas   100 moles of air 
O 2 to furnace/100 moles flue gas =
 moles N2 
 
 100 moles of air 
 moles N2 
  ( 21)
 100 moles flue gas 
=
79
Step 2: Calculate percent excess oxygen (air), using the formula:


 moles O 2 from furace  100
( )
 100 moles flue gas 
Percent excess O2 =
 moles O2 to furnace   moles O2 from furace 
  − 
 100 moles flue gas   100 moles flue gas 

Percent excess O2 = percent excess air.

Step 3: Determine heat available (HA) per lb of fuel from Work Aid 2D or 2E.

Step 4: Calculate net fuel fired, FN (If fuel consumption desired):

QA
FN =
HA

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Step 5: Calculate gross fuel fired, FG (If fuel consumption desired):

Step 6: Calculate heat fired, QF, Btu/hr (If fuel consumption desired):.

QF = (FG) (LHV fuel)

Step 7: Calculate furnace efficiency:

Q A (100) HA
% efficiency = =
QF (LHV fuel) (1+ HL )

LHV fuel from combustion efficiency chart.

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Work Aid 2C: Chart to Check Excess Air Calculation

Figure 5. Flue Gas Oxygen Versus Excess Air

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Work Aid 2D: Heat Available from the Combustion of Refinery Gas

Source: Maxwell, Data Book on Hydrocarbon, page 184.

Figure 6. Heat Available from the Combustion of 1000 Btu/ft3 Refinery Gas

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Work Aid 2D: Heat Available from the Combustion of Refinery Gas

Source: Maxwell, Data Book on Hydrocarbon, page 185.


3
Figure 7. Heat Available from the Combustion of 1600 Btu/ft Refinery Gas

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Work Aid 2E: Heat Available from the Combustion of Fuel Oil

Source: Maxwell, Data Book on Hydrocarbon, page 186.

Figure 8. Heat Available from the Combustion of 5°API Fuel Oil

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Work Aid 2E: Heat Available from the Combustion of Fuel Oil

Source: Maxwell, Data Book on Hydrocarbon, page 187.

Figure 9. Heat Available from the Combustion of 10°API Fuel Oil

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Work Aid 2E: Heat Available from the Combustion of Fuel Oil

Source: Maxwell, Data Book on Hydrocarbon, page 188.

Figure 10. Heat Available from the Combustion of 15ºAPI Fuel Oil

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GLOSSARY

blowdown Water removed from the boiler to control the level of


dissolved impurities in the boiler water.
economizer A device for transferring heat from the flue gas to the
boiler feedwater (BFW) before the BFW enters the boiler
drum.
excess air The percentage of air in excess of the stoichiometric
amount required for combustion.
flue gas Gaseous products from the combustion of fuel.
higher heating value (HHV) The amount of heat released during complete
combustion of fuel when the water formed is considered
as a liquid (credit is taken for its heat of condensation.)
Also called gross heating value.
lower heating value (LHV) The amount of heat released during complete
combustion of fuel when no credit is taken for heat of
condensation of water in the flue gas. Also called net
heating value.
radiation heat loss A defined percentage of the net heat of combustion of
the fuel to account for heat losses through the boiler or
furnace walls to the atmosphere.
stack heat loss The total sensible heat of the flue gas components, at
the temperature of flue gas, when it leaves the last heat
exchange surface.
Stack temperature The temperature of the flue gas when it leaves the last
heat exchange surface.
Thermal efficiency The total heat absorbed divided by the total heat input.
Usually expressed in percent.
total heat absorbed The total heat input minus the total heat losses.
total heat losses The sum of the radiation heat loss and the stack heat
loss.

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ADDENDUM
API - RP - 532 PROCEDURE

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API - RP - 532 PROCEDURE


The API RP 532 procedure is a detailed version of the stack loss method. In addition to
the data required by the Simple Efficiency Equation, an analysis of the fuel composition
is required.
All sources of heat inputs and losses need to be included to make a precise efficiency
calculation. These sources are illustrated in Figure 1A. This calculation requires the
following additional data.
• Relative humidity of the air.
• Temperature and specific heat of the fuel.
• Temperature and rate of atomizing steam when liquid fuel is fired.
If not known, it is usually satisfactory to estimate these data, based on typical local
conditions.

Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process
Heaters, 1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

Figure 1A. Typical Heater Arrangement

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The work sheets required for the RP 532 procedure are attached. An example of how it
is used to calculate the efficiency of a gas-fired furnace is attached.
This procedure consists of the following steps:
1. Using the Lower Heating Value Work Sheet, determine the lower heating value of
liquid fuel (if required). If the fuel is gas, or if typical liquid fuel properties are
known, it is not necessary to complete this work sheet.
2. Using the Combustion Work Sheet, determine flue gas properties for stoichiometric
combustion conditions.
3. Using the Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet, determine the amount of
water vapor in the flue gas. The vapor pressure of water at the ambient
temperature can be determined from steam tables on Figure 2A.
4. Using the Stack Loss Work Sheet, determine the stack heat losses. The enthalpy
of the flue gas components can be determined from Figures 3A and 4A.
5. The thermal efficiency can then be determined by the following equation:

100(QsQr )
e = 100 -
LHV + Ha + Hf + Hm
(Eqn. 4)

where: Cp = Specific heat, Btu/lb-°F


e = Net thermal efficiency, % (LHV)
Ha = Air sensible heat correction, Btu/lb of fuel
= Cp(air)(Ta - Td)(pounds of air per pound of fuel).
LHV = Lower heating value of the fuel, Btu/lb of fuel
Hf = Fuel sensible heat correction, Btu/lb of fuel
= Cp(fuel)(Tf - Td)
hs = Enthalpy of atomizing steam, Btu/lb
Hm = Atomizing medium (usually steam) sensible heat correction,
Btu/lb of fuel
= Cp(medium)(Tm - Td)(pounds of medium per pound of fuel).
Hm = If steam, Hm = (Enthalpy difference)(lb of steam/lb of fuel).
= (hs - 1087.7)(lb of steam/lb of fuel).
Qr = Radiation heat losses, Btu/lb of fuel

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Qs = Calculated stack heat losses (from Stack Loss Work Sheet),


Btu/lb of fuel.
Ta = Ambient air temperature, °F
Td = Reference (or datum) temperature, °F (usually 60°F).
Tf = Temperature of fuel, °F
Tm = Temperature of atomizing medium, °F

6. The gross thermal efficiency can be determined by the following equation:

100(Q s + latent heat)


egross = 100 −
HHV + Ha + Hf + Hm

where: egross = Gross thermal efficiency, % (HHV).

Latent heat = (H2( formed by combustion of fuel) x 1059.7


7. The firing rate can be calculated, based on the heat absorbed in the boiler or
furnace, as follows:

Qa
Qf =
e / 100
(Eqn. 6 )
where: Qf = Heat fired, MBtu/hr (LHV)

Qa = Heat absorbed, MBtu/hr

e = Net thermal efficiency, %

This procedure calculates the efficiency of heaters by both the Input/Output and Stack
Loss methods. It uses the HHV of the fuel and can be used for coal-fired heaters, as
well as gas- and oil-fired units. The forms for this procedure are attached. Line items on
these forms that do not apply to Saudi Aramco heaters have been crossed out.
Sample Calculation - RP 532 Procedure
The following sample calculation illustrates the use of the RP 532 calculation procedure
to determine thermal efficiency. (Based on Par. 3.2.2 of RP 532.)

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Source: Data taken from Steam Tables.

Figure 2A. Vapor Pressure of Water

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Source: Maxwell, Data Book on Hydrocarbon, page 182.

Figure 3A. Enthalpy of Flue Gas Components

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Source: Maxwell, Data Book on Hydrocarbon, page 183.

Figure 4A. Enthalpy of Flue Gas Components

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Sample Problem:
Given:

Stack temperature TST = 300°F

Air temperature Ta = 28°F

Specific heat of air Cp(air) = 0.24 Btu/lb- °F


Relative humidity = 50 %
Oxygen content of flue gas = 3.5 % (wet basis)
Radiation losses Qr = 2.5 % of lower heating value of fuel

Fuel temperature Tf = 100°F

Fuel specific heat Cp(fuel) = 0.525 Btu/lb- °F


Fuel composition:
Methane = 75.41 vol. %
Ethane = 2.33
Ethylene = 5.08
Propane = 1.54
Propylene = 1.86
Nitrogen = 9.96
Hydrogen = 3.82

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Solution:
1. Complete the following work sheets attached (completed copies attached).
Combustion Work Sheet.
Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet.
Stack Loss Work Sheet.
2. Determine Net Thermal Efficiency, as follows:

From Combustion Work Sheet, LHV = 18,120 Btu/lb


Radiation Loss Qr = 18,120 x 0.025

= 453.0 Btu/lb of fuel


From Stack Loss Work Sheet, Qs = 1162.1 Btu/lb of fuel
Data extracted from API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired
Process Heaters, 1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

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Sensible heat corrections:


Pounds of air/pound of fuel is obtained by adding the total from column 7 of the
Combustion Work Sheet with the pounds of dry excess air per pound of fuel from
the Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet.

Air: Ha = p(air) (Ta - Td)(pounds of air/pound of fuel)

= 0.24 (28 - 60)(14.322 + 3.191)


= -134.5 Btu/lb of fuel
Fuel: Hf = p(fuel) (Tf - Td)

= 0.525 (100 - 60)


= 21.0 Btu/lb of fuel
Atomizing medium Hm = 0 (no atomizing steam required)

Using Eqn. 4:

e = 100−
(
100 Qs + Qr )
LHV + Ha + Hf + Hm
(
100 1162.1 + 453.0 ) = 91.03 % LHV
e = 100− ( )
(18120 − 134.5 + 210)

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3. Determine Gross thermal efficiency, as follows:


From Combustion Work Sheet, H2O formed = 1.784 lb/lb of fuel.

Latent heat = H2O formed x 1059.7

= 1.784 x 1059.7
= 1890.5 Btu/lb of fuel
HHV = LHV + latent heat
= 18120 + 1890.5 = 20010 Btu/lb.
Using Eqn. 5:

egross = 100 −
(
100 Q s + Q r + latent heat )
HHV + H a + H f + H m
(
100 1062.1 + 453.0 + 1890.5 ) = 82.83%
egross = 100 −
20010 -134.5 + 21.0
(HHV )
Data extracted from API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the
Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process Heaters, 1st Edition, August 1982.
Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired
Process Heaters, 1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum
Institute.

Figure 5A. Sample Combustion Work Sheet

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process Heaters, 1st
Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

Figure 6A. Sample Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process Heaters,
1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

Figure 6A. Sample Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet (cont’d)

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process Heaters,
1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

Figure 7A. Sample Stack Loss Work Sheet

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Calculate the thermal efficiency of a boiler or furnace, using the Stack Loss Method.
Attached are calculation sheets you may require.

1. Determine Net Thermal Efficiency.


LHV = ________________Btu/lb
Radiation Loss Qr = LHV x %Qr/100

= (_______)(_______) = ________ Btu/lb of fuel


Qs = _________Btu/lb of fuel

Air required = ____________(lb of air/lb of fuel)


Excess air = ____________(lb of air/lb of fuel)
Total air rate = ____________(lb of air/lb of fuel)

Sensible heat corrections:

Air: Ha = Cp(air) (Ta - Td)(total lb of air/lb of fuel)

= ___________(________ - 60)(___________)
= ___________Btu/lb of fuel
Fuel: Hf = Cp(fuel) (Tf - Td)

___________(___________ - 60)
___________Btu/lb of fuel
Atomizing medium Hm = Cp(medium) (Tm - Td)(lb of medium/lb of fuel)

If steam is used: Hm = (Enthalpy difference)(lb of steam/lb of fuel)

= (hs - 1087.7)(lb of steam/lb of fuel)

Atomizing steam temperature = ___________˚°F


Steam enthalpy hs = ___________Btu/lb

Hm = (__________ - 1087.7)(___________)

= ___________Btu/lb of fuel

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Thermal efficiency

(
100 Q s + Qr )
e = 100 −
LHV + Ha + H f + Hm

= 100 −
100 ( + )
( + + + )

e= (
% LHV )
2. H2O formed = ___________lb/lb of fuel

Latent heat = H2O formed x 1059.7

= (_________) x 1059.7
= __________Btu/lb of fuel

HHV = LHV + latent heat


= (_________) + (_________) ____________Btu/lb
100 Qs + Q r latent heat
egross = 100 −
HHV + Ha + H f + Hm

= 100 - 100 ( + + )
(_______ + ______ + ______ + ______)
= egross = ___________% (HHV)

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process Heaters,
1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

Figure 8A. Combustion Work Sheet

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process Heaters,
1st Edition,

Figure 9A. Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process
Heaters, 1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

Figure 9A. Excess Air and Relative Humidity Work Sheet (cont’d)

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Source: API Recommended Practice 532, Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of Fired Process Heaters,
1st Edition, August 1982. Reprinted courtesy of the American Petroleum Institute.

Figure 10A. Stack Loss Work Sheet

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REFERENCES
SAES-F-001 Process Fired Heaters
API-RP-532 Measurement of the Thermal Efficiency of
Fired Process Heaters (RP = Recommended
Practice)

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