Operational Problems of Ethylene Transport by LPG Gas Carriers

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Abstract

Ethylene is one of the basic raw materials of the petrochemical industry used for the production of plastics, mainly plastic packaging. The USA is the largest producer of this compound. The enormous increase in demand for Ethylene has been observed in recent years in China as well as in the Middle and Far East. This caused an unprecedented increase in the demand for transport of this cargo by sea. Ethylene carriers for its transport are special construction LPG vessels, having a cascade cycle with Propylene medium (less often the refrigerant R 404 A). They have been designed in such a way as to withstand a working pressure of up to 5.4 bar, and the minimum temperature of the transported load is minus 104°C for fully cooled Ethylene. This cargo is explosive in the mixture with air (within concentrations of 2.75-2.6%) and during heating under elevation pressure. Therefore, it is required to transport Ethylene in with an inert gas, most often Nitrogen. During the operation of LPG carriers carrying Ethylene, processes of aeration, inerting, gassing-up, cooling tanks and a cargo are repeatedly carried out. The most problematic to carry is gassing-up operation, because it is associated with significant amounts of Ethylene loss, this causes large financial losses. In the article, the authors attempted to diagnose the most serious problems during carrying out the most important for cargo loss the cargo handling operations.

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