Oiltanking Antwerp Gas Terminal NV

Safer, reliable and efficient

Induss helps to reduce biofouling in the cooling circuits

Antwerp Gas Terminal is the largest independent gas terminal in Western Europe. The company is located in the port of Antwerp, the second largest in Europe, and acts as a storage and production unit for liquefied gases for various large petrochemical complexes in the port of Antwerp.

The terminal can receive gas tankers with a capacity of 80,000 cubic meters. The storage space in pressurized and cooled tanks amounts to more than 140,000 cubic meters. The infrastructure comprises a network of pipelines, from where gas leaves for numerous chemical companies and sometimes comes back.

The challenge

Precisely because of its location in the port of Antwerp, Antwerp Gas Terminal recently pumped up drinking water to use it as cooling water for its cooling installations. The cooling water served to store the various types of gases in the correct form.

Although it concerns a once-through system - in which the water is pumped up, guided through the circuit and then discharged - biofouling quickly occurred in the heat exchangers or in the pipes of the cooling circuit. This caused problems with heat transfer. The consequences were unreliable operations, high maintenance costs and unexpected shutdowns.

To clarify: with biofouling we mean fouling - algae formation or the presence of bacteria or mucus, the so-called microfouling, or the growth of larger organisms, such as shells and mussels, what we call macrofouling.

The solution

It was clear that there was room for optimization at Antwerp Gas Terminal. Induss then decided to approach the situation with an open mind and to install a test station on the site. In order to achieve quick results, the necessary equipment was put in a container and the situation was monitored for six months. The intention was to find an efficient solution to combat the fouling problem, but also - and perhaps especially - to introduce an environmentally friendly method with better antifouling results, so that the entire approach would also result in a significant efficiency improvement for Antwerp Gas Terminal.

Based on the detailed data from the test, Induss has modified the used test facility to optimize it, taking into account the most stringent environmental requirements.

To bring these challenges to a good end, you must use your common sense and first get to know the 'enemy'. Only when you know your enemy then you know how to defeat him. By first analyzing and mapping biofouling at Antwerp Gas Terminal, we have reached this specialized water treatment process.