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Client Oil Refinery

Location Houston, Texas

Sectors Petrochemical and refining

The challenge

Achieve reliable cooling for wastewater bio-treatment

Reconstruction of a new wastewater treatment system to support the northern half of a large Texas refinery was well underway. However, the work could not be completed in time due to a number of logistical issues.

Meanwhile, because of the very hot Houston summertime weather, the wastewater return temperature rose to a level that would threaten the efficiency of biological waste treatment.

This created an urgent need for a temporary cooling solution to enable the wastewater feed to their biological treatment facility, and be sent at a safe temperature to ensure bioreactor efficiency. The risk of not achieving the desired bio-treatment efficiency was high. Avoiding regulatory fines throughout the summer became an extremely high priority.

Project fact file

6 Shell & tube

heat exchangers


Cooling towers

0 $

Fines incurred

The solution

A design based on first principles engineering

In order to solve the problem, our expert engineers from Aggreko Process Services (APS) and Aggreko Cooling Tower Services (ACTS) consulted closely with the client.

The team engineered a cooling design that fit within a confined area and also provided the flexibility to deal with higher wastewater flow volumes. This system would remain in place until the permanent facilities could be built.

Our solution consisted of six, refinery grade, shell and tube heat exchangers, four massive cooling towers, pumps piping.

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The impact

Temperature at the bioreactor inlet sump remained at a safe level

Thanks to the much reduced wastewater feed temperature enabled by this project, the customer's refining and chemical facilities (and also two nested, non-affiliated chemical companies) were able to maintain peak summertime production rates.

The customer could operate the bioreactors consistently and well within the normal operating range. This eliminated entirely the risk of costly violations of the emission rules set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and also the Federal Environmental Protection Agency.

“There’s a lot of knowledge that goes into engineering a cooling design that would fit within a confined area for refining and chemical facilities. At Aggreko, we’ve got this knowledge in spades.”

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