Water, Steam, Electricity, Air, Nitrogen are important utilities in chemical plant

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I will explain the utility of chemical plants.

Although utilities are not a major concern for plant engineers, they are very necessary for plant operations.

This is a similar story to how in the life of an ordinary household, if there is no water or electricity, you will be in trouble for a moment, and only then will you realize how important it is.

Utility is actually related to the essence of plant design, such as plant layout.

We have summarized the roles of utilities that chemical plant operators and engineers should be aware of.

After reading this article, you will realize that utility is important! You will be able to know this again.

Water is the basis of factory utility.

Water is handled in large quantities in chemical plants.

The variety is also quite large.

industrial water

Industrial water refers to the water used in factories in general.

Water is simply drawn from a nearby river and stored in a pool within the factory.

We store enough water to use in large quantities and use it for various purposes.

  • Emergency cooling of reactor
  • Source of water for multiple uses
  • Cleaning outside equipment
  • Exhaust gas treatment
  • Dilution

In Japan, we have an environment where we can use more water than in other countries, so some factories may not be interested in recycling rates.

If industrial water alone is not enough, seawater must be used, but this really varies from factory to factory.

I don’t want to use seawater as much as possible because of the problem of corrosion, but it’s probably unavoidable.

Industrial water is just ordinary water such as river water, so it is very dirty .

Lines are drawn using iron piping such as SGP, but it gives an image of water full of mud and rust.

Industrial water itself has many uses, but there are also many types of water derived from it.

fire extinguishing water

Firefighting water is, as the name suggests, water used to supply fire extinguishing equipment .

It is used in large quantities just like industrial water.

Industrial water itself has the purpose of emergency cooling of equipment, but firefighting water can be thought of as specialized water for cooling and extinguishing fires.

In terms of equipment configuration, we just added fire extinguishing equipment from industrial water, but there is no difference in terms of water quality.

No special treatment will be taken.

Legally, it is required to have a pool that can cover the required amount of water (amount used x time), so some factories may manage it together with industrial water.

cold water

Chilled water is water that has been cooled by a refrigerator.

It may also be referred to as chiller water.

The water is about 7 degrees Celsius.

  • Reactor cooling
  • Cooling for distillation condensers such as heat exchangers

Used to suppress reaction temperature with low temperature water.

Industrial water is filtered to remove dust and cooled using a refrigerator.

Cold water has a lower temperature, so it has more dissolved oxygen.

If you only use carbon steel materials such as SS400 to remove dust and filtrate the equipment, it will eventually corrode.

It is important to upgrade the material and control water quality using chemicals.

cooling tower circulating water

As the name suggests, cold water tower circulating water is water that is circulated in a cooling tower.

If industrial water is used for dripping, the amount of waste water will be very large, so it is recycled and reused.

Even in summer, the water temperature is around 32 to 37 degrees Celsius.

  • Industrial water alternative
  • Refrigerator cooling water
  • compressor cooling water

As with cold water, water quality management is required.

This is because we use equipment called a cooling water tower.

Cold water towers are common in cities, but as long as they are facilities, they require a certain amount of management.

hot water

Hot water is water with a temperature of about 60℃ or higher.

  • Reactor temperature control
  • Piping temperature adjustment

It is often made using a combination of steam and water.

It is used not only for temperature control in reaction vessels, but also for temperature control (tracing) of piping.

filtered water

Filtered water is industrial water that has been filtered through an appropriate filter.

Industrial water is full of mud and rust, but this is water that has had this removed.

Just because visible foreign substances have been removed does not mean that dissolved substances have also been removed.

For example, the water in SGP piping contains iron rust.

Filtered water is used when the iron itself has a negative effect on the reaction or clogs the pipes.

Make the filter and filter outlet piping made of rust-free material such as SUS304.

Water supply

Clean water is treated the same as tap water.

Some factories bring in tap water from the factory area, while others process their own water to the level of tap water.

Processing includes filtration and disinfection.

Since water undergoes several treatments before being used as clean water, it is also possible to use the water at intermediate stages for purposes other than clean water.

  • drinking water
  • face wash water
  • brewing water
  • boiler water

Boiler water is a typical example.

If the water is not quality-controlled, problems will occur in the boiler.

You can think of brewed water as having been treated more strongly than filtered water.

It will be used in pharmaceutical factories .

Let’s think of steam as a factory utility.

Steam is very valuable as a heating source.

Water is a cooling source , while steam is a heating source.

One way to think of this is to include water and steam and group them together as water-based utilities.

  • Heating the reactor
  • Piping temperature adjustment
  • Equipment cleaning
  • vacuum source

Steam can be generated using a boiler or brought in from outside the factory.

It is used as saturated steam divided into several pressure levels. We also manage grades such as high pressure, medium pressure, and low pressure.

If steam is used in the reactor, the reactor may be considered a pressure vessel.

Also useful for cleaning equipment.

Also used as a steam ejector as a vacuum source.

Electricity is also essential for factory utilities.

Electricity is used for many purposes including equipment.

It is treated as a basic utility, just like water.

  • Chemical equipment power equipment
  • illumination
  • For office equipment and home appliances
  • Various electrical products
  • For instrumentation signals

In chemical plants, things are powered by electricity and monitored and controlled using electricity, so if there is no electricity, you will be out of business.

If there is a power outage, the factory will shut down immediately.

For this purpose, we also conduct emergency response training.

We also have a backup system with an emergency generator.

Let’s think of air as a factory utility.

Air is for instrumentation.

Controls automatic valves, etc. using air pressure.

Just like electricity, if air stops, the factory immediately stops.

It’s not as noticeable as electricity, but it’s an important utility.

Nitrogen is also included in factory utilities.

Nitrogen also counts as a utility.

It is very important in chemical plants.

It is mainly used to prevent the formation of an explosive atmosphere due to organic solvents.

You can put it into a reaction tank, use it for pressure adjustment, let it flow around seals, use it for blowing piping…

One operation in the factory uses nitrogen.

In that sense, it is a great utility.

It may also be used for emergency cooling.


Although utilities are a focus of attention during plant construction, they are unlikely to become a problem during the operation stage.

It is a natural understanding that everyone other than the department that operates and manages utilities should be there.

In the unlikely event that the utilities stop, the factory will shut down.

Utilities are the backbone of plants, and anyone involved in plant design should be aware of them.

created by Rinker
¥3,850 (2024/04/19 01:49:59時点 Amazon調べ-詳細)


We explained the five major utilities of chemical plants.

Five things are very important: water, steam, electricity, air, and nitrogen.

If these supplies stop, the factory will immediately shut down.

This is a part that is also related to the essence of the plant layout.

Although it may not be noticeable, it is a very important element when remodeling.

Please feel free to post any concerns, questions, or concerns you may have regarding the design, maintenance, and operation of chemical plants in the comments section. (The comment section is at the bottom of this article.)

*We will read all comments received and respond seriously.