Quiet fan technology cuts costs and noise at oil refinery
Innovative and award winning noise control technology developed by the Industrial Noise and Vibration Centre (INVC) has been used to reduce the drone from industrial fans at an oil refinery in the USA at 20% of the cost of conventional silencers (a saving estimated to be around $1 million) – and with reduced running costs.
INVC’s quiet fan technology – which employs innovative aerodynamic tehniques to reduce fan noise at source - has recently been installed at a refinery in the USA, helping to reduce fan noise without the impact on fan efficiency which can often be experienced with traditional silencers.
Noise control consultant Walter Strong had looked for ways to reduce the drone from five large 1.4MW fans which was causing nuisance over a large area. After researching silencers and other solutions, he contracted the INVC to solve the problem.
Peter Wilson, INVC’s Technical Director, said: ‘The drone from these fans – each the size of a house – was causing serious complaints from the local community. While the company had looked into the possibility of using traditional silencers, they were aware that these can reduce the fan efficiency. As they also incur high capital and installation costs and extensive down-time for installation, they were keen to find a better alternative. ‘
‘Not only were they impressed by the energy efficiency of our technology compared with silencers, but it also reduced their capital costs by around 80% and was installed in a fraction of the time.’
‘Our technology also allowed us to manage the project remotely from our UK office, using Superior Engineering’s team in the USA to conduct the field tests and to develop detailed installation plans. This reduced the programme time still further as we were able to dispense with site visits to provide the client with additional cost savings.’
Mr Strong said: ‘The modifications reduced the blade-pass pulsation tone from each fan by a factor of 30 (15dB), virtually elliminating complaints about the noise from the nearby community.’
INVC’s quiet fan technology has been successfully installed across the world, including recent projects at a power station in New Hampshire, USA, and work with Corus in the UK. In the latter case, applying the technology to three 4MW fans reduced the company’s capital costs by an estimated £800,000 and provided a saving of around £200,000 per annum in running costs compared with conventional silencing.
Mr Wilson said: ‘Our technology differs from silencers as it eliminates the noise at source. This means that, in many cases, clients can dispense with conventional silencers, enclosures and lagging.’