Dry Ice Blasting & Cleaning Blog

Dry Ice Blasting for Petrochemical & Refinery Cleaning Challenges

Petrochemical Facility

There’s no easy way to clean a refinery or petrochemical plant: tight spaces, delicate equipment, and limited opportunities for shutting down means these facilities often go a long time between cleaning, if they get cleaned at all.

Eventually an accumulation of buildup will cause problems like overheating or poor heat transfer and facility managers go looking for a solution that can get the job done without a lot of collateral complications.

“These tubes often get so fouled up, it’s like a layer of concrete sitting on top,” says Polar Clean Director of Operations Sean Simpson.

Abrasive, water-based blasting creates additional trouble, from the risk of corrosion to the need to recapture and properly dispose of all that contaminated water and media. Hydroblasting equipment also can’t reach into tight spaces or around elaborately configured tubes and piping.

Hand cleaning may work but is impractically time-consuming and, like other alternatives, is limited to what you can reach.

That’s why so many facility managers have switched to dry ice blasting, after years of either putting up with the dirt and buildup or learning the disadvantages of other cleaning methods the hard way.

An Industrial Cleaning Solution

Professional dry ice blasting delivers effective cleaning and numerous other advantages:

  • Water and chemical-free process
  • Dry ice pellets sublimate on contact, leaving no collateral debris
  • Non-conductive
  • Fast and effective
  • Proprietary nozzles that enable adjustment of pressure for delicate equipment including convection sections, fin fan tubes, tube ids, radiant tubes, smooth tubes, reactive vessels, walls, screens, and scallops
  • Ability to reach into and around elaborate configurations at heights and in confined spaces

Improved Heat Transfer for a Chemical Supplier

Dry ice blasting for a leading chemical supplier began with a common problem: the facility had never been cleaned before and extensive buildup on the equipment had led to a drop in heat transfer and overheating in the convection section.

Plant officials reached out to their equipment manufacturer for answers and were give options that included sonic cleaning, nitrogen cleaning, and dry ice blasting. The first was going to be very expensive and achieve only superficial results. The second option was slow and also not terribly effective.

The company got a few recommendations for dry ice blasting and landed on Polar Clean. The results included an immediate and significant improvement in heat transfer.

Today, the plant calls on Polar Clean whenever they’ve got a scheduled shutdown. And while that first job involved a single section, our next call was to “come back and do the whole thing,” Simpson said.

Solutions for Your Facility Cleaning Challenges

Polar Clean offers decades of experience solving the most challenging cleaning problems for refineries, petrochemical plants and others with predictable execution and logistical support for fast and reliable turnaround work.

Our solutions are backed by the expertise of a certified and highly trained team using proprietary equipment and proven processes for complex cleaning jobs. We are certified to work at heights, in confined spaces, and with the use of respiratory equipment. Engineered solutions for containment and disposal are available when necessary.

Speak to a dry ice blasting expert today for an to learn how to put your cleaning challenges behind you.

Contact us to learn more about dry ice blasting