Crude Preheat Exchanger


A client in the Oil & Gas industry had problems with decreasing performance due to high fouling rates in a crude preheat exchanger in one of its refineries in Europe. They also needed to respond to a drive for energy saving and CO2 reduction.

Applied solution

EMbaffle installed a retrofit three-pass exchanger bundle incorporating EMbaffle® technology in the existing crude preheat exchanger shell. The change from a standard segmental baffle to the EMbaffle® design eliminated stagnant zones and reduced the fouling factor by up to four times, resulting in enhanced heat transfer and extended run times. Improved energy use was achieved through higher furnace inlet temperatures and lower pump power consumption, as a direct result of lower pressure drop.

Due to the higher furnace inlet temperature, less firing of the furnace was needed resulting in lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions.

The client is currently undertaking studies to replace other crude preheat train exchangers with this innovative design.


  • Increased performance
  • CO2 reduction
  • Longer run-times
  • Increased throughput
  • Energy savings of €1 million per annum
  • Payback of total project cost was achieved in five months

fouling segmental bundleembaffle bundle

Bundle cage

Performance benefits

The resulting high performance heat exchanger offers the following potential benefits:

  • Elimination of damaging flow-induced tube vibration
  • Lower pressure drop on the shell side
  • Improved heat transfer capabilities
  • Lower fouling rates
  • Lower energy consumption and reduced emissions
  • Competitive manufacturing costs