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Furnaces: Safe Operation & Optimization

Furnaces: Safe Operation & Optimization

4 days
This course is not scheduled.
Who should attend?


    • Operators, panel operators, supervisors and plant managers of refining, chemical and petrochemical plants, involved in furnace operation.
    • Engineers and supervisors concerned with safety, optimization and operating issues of furnaces.


  • Proficiency
  • This course provides in-depth knowledge of furnace operation in the petroleum and petrochemical industries. The course covers also the safety and reliability constraints.
Learning Objectives
  • Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:
  • recognize the main operating and material constraints for an optimal, safe and reliable furnace operation,
  • describe industrial combustion phenomena and calculate the air/fuel ratio for optimum combustion,
  • identify bad-quality combustion from flue gas analysis and flame study, and implement corrective steps,
  • list and apply the main steps of a furnace start-up procedure.
Course Content


0.5 day

  • Different types of furnace & Operating conditions. Scope and limitations for improving furnace efficiency.
  • Construction of heat exchange areas and refractory materials: tube bundle arrangement, insulation, type of material used and operating limits.


1.5 days

  • Combustion conditions: liquid and fuel gas characteristics, liquid spray.
  • Burners: fuel and air supply and mixture. Conventional and low NOx burners operation.
  • Combustion quality: analysis of the oxygen and the unburned material in the flue gases, control of combustion air flow rate and air/fuel ratio.
  • Combustion safety: flame detection, control and safety devices.
  • Air and flue gas circulation: natural draft, forced draft, pressure differential control, automatic safety devices. Damper or Induced draft fan role.
  • Application:
  • Natural and forced draft pressure profile drawing. Review of draft constraints.
  • Different types of burners and spraying systems.


2 days

  • Heat transfer to the tube coil: control parameters. Impact of internal or external fouling.
  • Heat control: process fluid outlet temperature, fuel flowrate control.
  • Most important furnace temperature and constraints: skin temperature, bridgewall temperature, limits and risk of overcoming.
  • Application: furnace temperature profile and heat recovery distribution as a function of fuel burned and combustion air excess.
  • On-stream furnace operations: monitoring of combustion and heating. Modifying operating conditions. Analysis of disturbances. Key points for safe operation.
  • Start-up and shutdown: preparation, safe ignition procedures, ignition after a short shutdown, normal shutdown, emergency shutdown.
  • Incidents: explosive atmosphere in the radiant section, tube rupture, unbalancing of the heat, etc.
  • Troubleshooting. Prevention.
  • Application:
  • Case study of furnace accidents.
  • Start-up procedure study.
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Ways & Means
  • Use of a dynamic simulator to understand the impact of operating conditions on thermal performance and furnace operation
  • Use of case studies and exercises based on industrial situations.
  • Special emphasis on safety issues and abnormal situations that can lead to accidents.
  • The course content can be tailored to different types of furnaces and includes specificities linked to some processing units such as the steam reformer or steam cracker.