Hydrotreater Efficiency Increase During Turnaround

Hydrotreater Efficiency

Hydrotreaters play a crucial role in refining by removing impurities and improving the quality of petroleum products. However, various factors can compromise their efficiency, including ageing refractory linings and suboptimal heat transfer. This is where high-emissivity ceramic coating comes into play, offering a cutting-edge solution to boost performance and increase capacity.

Hydrotreater in the Need for Enhancing Radiant Efficiency

In 2022, a refinery tackled a unique challenge during a turnaround project: enhancing the efficiency of a hydrotreater with a distinctive convection section configuration. Unlike typical hydrotreaters, this unit’s convection section was dedicated solely to boiler feed water heating, without any process coils. This unique setup presented an opportunity to maximize the processing efficiency in the radiant section, unhindered by potential losses in the convection section.

The Fired Heater Configuration

The hydrotreater’s fired heater featured a double-fired design with a single row of horizontal radiant tubes. Its refractory lining consisted of insulating firebrick (IFB) in the lower burner zone and ceramic fiber blanket in the upper wall and roof areas. The drawing below provides a detailed illustration of the fired heater configuration.

Hydrotreater Efficiency Increase

Embracing Heater Efficiency with Cetek Coating Technology

To optimize the radiant heat transfer efficiency from the refractory surfaces to the radiant tubes, we applied Cetek high-emissivity ceramic coatings. Over two days, the entire radiant section transformed, converting it into a near-blackbody enclosure. This cutting-edge coating technology ensures optimal radiant heat transfer, improving overall performance.

The Results: Thermal Efficiency Improvements

The implementation of high-emissivity ceramic coating technology yielded impressive results, demonstrating its effectiveness in boosting hydrotreater efficiency and capacity while reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

1. Fuel Savings: The refinery achieved a 1.9% reduction in fuel consumption, translating into significant cost savings and improved operational efficiency.

2. CO2 Emissions Reduction: Directly linked to fuel savings, the refinery experienced a 1.9% decrease in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly operation.

3. NOx Emissions Reduction: Calculations indicate a substantial 4.1% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, further enhancing the refinery’s commitment to minimizing its environmental impact.

The results can be seen in the following Table 1:


Heat Transfer Optimization

As the demand for cleaner and more efficient operations continues to rise, CETEK coating technology helps refineries worldwide. By optimizing heat transfer and reducing emissions, this innovative solution not only improves operational efficiency but also aligns with sustainability goals and regulatory requirements.

Moreover, the success of this case study has opened doors for further applications in other hydrotreaters with similar configurations. As refineries strive to optimize their operations, embracing cutting-edge technologies like ceramic coatings becomes essential for staying ahead of the curve.


Implementing CETEK coating technology in this hydrotreater scenario has demonstrated solid results, paving the way for refineries to boost efficiency, increase capacity, and reduce emissions simultaneously. By leveraging innovative solutions, refineries can meet the ever-increasing demand for cleaner and more sustainable operations, ensuring a brighter future for the industry and the planet.


I’m here to help

Larry Emch

IGS Subject Matter Expert


Fired Heater