New online tool vital to address overwhelming heat exchanger choice in oil and gas market

Heat transfer specialist Alfa Laval is addressing the challenge of overwhelming choice in the oil and gas industry’s heat exchanger market with a key appointment to its energy division and the launch of its new online design and specification tool, HEXpert.

Recent market reports have suggested the global heat exchanger market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 6% from 2022-2031, reaching $34.24bn, demonstrating the technology’s continued critical role in oil and gas applications.

Given this pronounced growth, equipment specifiers will be under increasing pressure to identify the correct solution as differing designs and solutions flood the market, to ensure their plant remains as reliable, sustainable and efficient as possible.

According to Dmitry Emelianov, the newly appointed Energy Process Manager at Alfa Laval UK&I, this overwhelming level of choice and customisation means tools such as HEXpert will become critical to company decision-making over vital heat exchanger equipment.

Dmitry, who joined Alfa Laval earlier this year after 12 years’ experience in various processing industries, will be spearheading a new company team dedicated to optimising plant operations in new and established industries. He believes ensuring availability of key performance information is crucial to choosing effective solutions for specific oil and gas plant applications, and online resources have a key role to play in this.

“Because of the ongoing energy crisis and strain on global supply chains, oil and gas sector professionals are under increasing pressure to do more with less,” he explained. “If refineries are like a body, heat exchangers are the backbone – vital to almost everything, and if all is well, they function unnoticed. Given this, their incorrect specification can lead to major issues for these stakeholders, who are under pressure from volatile energy pricing and the need to reduce emissions in line with the ongoing energy transition. Inefficient, ill-suited components may hugely impact facility performance, further exacerbating these issues and making short- to long-term sustainability goals harder to achieve.

“Yet to find the optimal heat transfer solution for a particular process application and facility design, there are always lots of factors to consider and options to weigh. Given these current, strained circumstances, key stakeholders are increasingly time-poor and simply don’t have the capacity to sift through reams of information or a complicated purchase process. This is why we developed the HEXpert online tool – to make these time-consuming tasks simpler.”

Using HEXpert, specifiers enter information about their operations and heat transfer requirements in a four-step process, starting with adding information about the exchanger position. Further steps involve providing specific details on design parameters and application demands through a question-and-answer format, before providing a full and detailed product recommendation. As Dmitry was keen to emphasise, the tool will be invaluable to busy processing professionals looking to streamline the first step of the specification process.

 “We’ve already seen people using HEXpert have a previous idea of the type of heat exchanger they need, only to discover within five minutes that an alternative model was more suitable to their requirements,” he concluded. “As providers of the widest and most complete portfolio of heat exchanger equipment, we would always advise that, alongside engaging with online tools, equipment decisionmakers should also discuss their requirements with technical experts.

“Indeed, considering many manufacturers only offer one or two types of exchanger technologies, gathering further information on the full breadth of what is available will be key to ensuring the eventual specified solution offers the best match for its application and position. We would therefore encourage oil and gas sector professionals to make use of HEXpert and get in contact if they have further questions.”