How eight Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers saved €1,647,000 a year

When a Russian oil company acquired a new refinery in 1999, modernization and cost control topped the agenda. A key concern was the high cost of maintenance for the heat exchangers used in the visbreaking process at the new plant. Alfa Laval was asked to prove that their spiral heat exchangers could solve the problem. Alfa Laval delivered that proof – along with some impressive savings.

DATE 2023-11-28

It’s well known that in oil refineries, many processes are subject to problems with heavy fouling that affect overall plant performance and profitability. Operating costs associated with fouling in refinery heat exchangers include increased fuel needs and pumping power, increased CO2 emissions, and excessive maintenance costs and downtime.

The company saved €1,647,000 per year on maintenance alone thanks to Alfa Laval’s spiral heat exchangers. But there are other savings as well. For example, heat-transfer efficiency is up to four times higher now, safety has increased and throughput and production are more stable and more profitable.

Alfa Laval spiral heat exchangers

Les échangeurs de chaleur spiralé Alfa Laval sont conçus pour faire face aux défis de transfert de chaleur les plus difficiles, tels que l'encrassement fréquent des fluides sales ou les limitations dues à la perte de charge et à l'espace au sol.

En savoir plus sur les échangeurs spiralés 


  • Maintenance costs dropped from €1,650,000yearly to €3000
  • One year payback period
  • Insignificant fouling since commissioning
  • More stable and profitable throughput and production
  • Better heat-transfer efficiency
  • Increased safety 


  • The customer acquired a new refinery in 1999
  • The new refinery was plagued by extremely high maintenance costs – €1,650,000 yearly – for the shell and tube heat exchangers used in heavily fouling visbreaking bottom cooling duties 


  • Two spiral heat exchangers installed in 2001
  • Six more spiral heat exchangers installed in 2002
  • In all, eight spiral heat exchangers replaced 12 shell and tube heat exchangers
  • The entire visbreaking bottom cooling duty is now handled by spiral heat exchangers