Sour water units suffer from hydrocarbon and particulate fouling, tower instability and hydrocarbon carryover to the sulfur plant. Refinery sour water streams contain free and emulsified hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are difficult to settle out, despite 3-5 day residence time tanks. As a result, refineries are faced with heat exchanger fouling, energy costs caused by inadequate heat exchange, tower fouling, hydrocarbon ingress to the sulfur plants, and increased oxygen demand in the sulfur plant. Development of advanced media and element technology that allows the removal of hydrocarbon dispersions, without incurring high costs due to particulate contamination is critical to solving this problem. The elimination of the critical fouling agents before they enter the system, results in a dramatic impact on operating profitability.
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