Titanium Process Pumps Titanium, Fighting Against Corrosion: Pumps for the Refinery Industry

Editor: Dominik Stephan

API610 process pumps for one of the biggest and most modern refineries in Russia — Delivering pumps for the petrochemical industry is no easy task for suppliers: Not only, that compliance with international standards is required, the used materials have to be handled according to the highest demands. Especially, when materials like titanium are in needed.

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In demand: Apollo is one of the few manufacturers to produce process pumps made of corrosion-resistant titanium.
In demand: Apollo is one of the few manufacturers to produce process pumps made of corrosion-resistant titanium.
(Source: Apollo Gößnitz; ©concept w - stock.adobe.de)

Difficult conditions and special requirements are not unusual in plant construction projects. However, the delivery of 150 pump units with NACE-compliant materials for the most modern refinery in Russia is enough to make a supplier sweat. After all, the requirements are stringent: Materials used in refineries or gas and oil extraction are specified in the American standards according to API, ASME, ASTM and the European EN and ISO standards.

Additional requirements may arise from the NACE (National Association of Corrsion Engineers) or the NORSOK regulations. In addition to ferritic and austenitic cast steel, duplex, super duplex and titanium are also used for pump production. Titanium in particular is sought after, as it has a high corrosion resistance against extremely aggressive media — but unfortunately the material is very expensive. In addition, the transition metal represents a real challenge in terms of material procurement and casting technology.

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Apollo from Gößnitz, Germany, is one of the few companies that also makes titanium pumps according to Norsok specifications. The moment, the Russian operator placed its order set off an ongoing engineering quest, as sophisticated special constructions were required. The scope of delivery contained process pumps according to API610 of the types BB 1, BB 2, BB 3, BB 5, OH 2, OH 3, VS 1 and VS 4. Auxiliaries and special piping, including sound protection hoods, were also part of the scope.

Titanium Pumps for Water and Hydrocarbons

These pumps are typically used to transfer a variety of products in the refinery and petrochemical industries, such as:

  • naphtha
  • sour water
  • diesel
  • hydrocarbons
  • propane/LPG.

The pumps are designed for temperatures from -46 °C to + 350 °C. It was necessary to supplement the single-stage, radially split process pump series ZPR by several sizes. So the housing design could be adapted according to the customer needs. In addition, all material versions including required material tests could be offered. OH 2 pumps of the apollo type KRH (L) were made of titanium or Ni-resist cast iron in accordance with NACE and are used for media containing hydrogen sulphide and amines.

Pumping Hot or Corrosive Media Without Corrosion

Another challenge was the supply of a vertical VS 4 pump with a suspension of 3.4 m. Apollo's KRHV series is used to convey 120 °C hot, corrosive caustic soda. Some sold VS 1 pumps are used for tank emptying. In this case, media, such as 350 °C hot hydrocarbons with sulfur must be transferred. The HPVX series uses materials such as S-8 or S-6 according to NACE. In this case, special attention was paid to the rotating parts, especially the gap dimensions, in order to absorb the temperature fluctuations. The replacement pump is connected and kept warm to be integrated immediately in case of failure of the main pump. This minimizes downtime and maintenance.

The largest pump delivered is a multi-stage BB 5 high pressure pump. The maximum casing pressure of this barrel pump is 235 bar and the drive power is 2.1 MW. Particularly noteworthy is the use of BB 5 pumps with different drive concept: a steam turbine pump with additional lubricating oil unit and a motor-driven pump, which is used as a replacement in case of failure of the turbine pump. The steam is collected and reused to drive the turbine pump. The energy savings achieved in this way are extremely profitable for the customer. With fast and flexible engineering, every sector of the refinery could be served. DST