Dry Ice Blasting for Tower Fin Fan Tubes in Petrochemical & Refinery Applications

Keeping cooling tower fin fan tubes clean and efficient is no small feat in the petrochemical and refinery industries. These essential components are constantly exposed to the elements, making them prone to grime and buildup that can hinder their performance.

Polar Clean specializes in dry ice blasting solutions that effectively address these challenges, ensuring your equipment operates at peak performance.

The Importance of Cleaning Fin Fan Tubes

Fin fan tubes are typically found atop large racks of fans, with the tubes themselves situated underneath. These tubes carry hot fluids, and the fans work to cool the tubes by drawing in ambient air.

Given their outdoor location — often on rooftops — these tubes are exposed to various environmental contaminants, leading to significant dirt and grime buildup that can severely impair the heat transfer efficiency of the finned tubes.

Fin Fan Tubes

Conventional Cleaning Methods & Their Limitations

Cleaning fin fan tubes in a refinery or petrochemical plant presents unique challenges: tight spaces, delicate equipment, and limited opportunities for shutdowns often result in long intervals between cleanings. Eventually, an accumulation of buildup will cause problems like overheating or poor heat transfer, and facility managers will seek a solution that can get the job done without significant collateral complications.

Traditional cleaning methods, such as foaming or pressure washing, have significant drawbacks:

  • Water-Based Blasting: This method risks corrosion and requires recapturing and disposing of contaminated water and media. It also can’t effectively reach into tight spaces or around elaborate configurations of tubes and piping. Buildup also begins accumulating more quickly on surfaces that are wet at start-up.
  • Hand Cleaning: While potentially effective, hand cleaning is impractically time-consuming and limited to accessible areas.

The Polar Clean Advantage: Dry Ice Blasting

Polar Clean offers a superior alternative with dry ice blasting, a method that provides several key advantages for cleaning fin fan tubes:

Dry Ice Blasting Advantages
Non-Abrasive Cleaning Dry ice blasting uses solid carbon dioxide (CO₂) pellets that sublimate upon impact, turning from solid to gas without leaving any residue. Low-pressure blasting and fragmented ice make the process gentle enough for thin aluminum fins, preventing damage while effectively removing dirt and contaminants.
No Secondary Waste Unlike traditional methods that use water or chemicals, dry ice blasting leaves no secondary waste. This makes the process cleaner and reduces the need for additional cleanup.
Improved Heat Transfer Efficiency By thoroughly cleaning the finned tubes, dry ice blasting restores their optimal heat transfer efficiency, leading to better cooling performance and energy savings.
Reduced Downtime Dry ice blasting is a quick and efficient cleaning method, minimizing the downtime required for maintenance. This means your operations can resume faster, with less disruption.

Safety & Accessibility

Cleaning fin fan tubes often requires working in confined spaces and elevated scaffolding or catwalks for rooftop access. Polar Clean ensures that our technicians are trained in confined space safety, including the use of gas monitors, supplied air, and escape packs. Whether accessed from the top down or through scaffolded platforms, our team is equipped to handle the unique challenges of each site.

Applications in Petrochemical & Refinery Industries

Polar Clean’s dry ice blasting services are tailored for various applications within the petrochemical and refinery sectors, including:

Convection Sections

Convection Sections

These sections transfer heat to process products inside the tubes, which can be either finned or smooth

Radiant Sections

Radiant Sections

Tubes in these sections often accumulate scale and other adherents that need to be removed for inspections

Fin Fan/Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Tubes

Fin Fan/Air Cooled Heat Exchanger Tubes

Maintaining these components is critical for efficient heat exchange and overall system performance



Cleaning ensures optimal operation and reduces the risk of contamination

The Polar Clean Difference

By choosing Polar Clean for your fin fan tube cleaning needs, you’re investing in a solution that enhances efficiency, reduces maintenance costs, and prolongs the lifespan of your equipment.

For more information about our dry ice blasting services and how they can benefit your operations, contact us today.

Learn more about dry ice blasting for fin fan tubes