Innovative corrosion monitoring solutions enhance process optimization

Sensors now can provide data on both general and localized corrosion that allow corrosion to be treated as a real-time process variable. Using such data effectively can play an important role in optimizing plant operations.

By Dawn C Eden, David A Eden and Russell D Kane, InterCorr International, Inc., Houston, Texas

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The value of data can only be truly realized at the point it becomes information that can be acted upon directly.  The benefits to the plant of achieving this include increased unit runtime, also realizing cost savings from decreased inspection and maintenance.  By correlating corrosion data with relevant process variables (e.g. temperature, chemical feed rates) and according to the same time base, it becomes possible to establish the root cause(s) of the corrosion.  This affords the Plant Operator the possibility of mitigating or avoiding the corrosion by implementing the appropriate process controls.  Ultimately, then, corrosion information requires to enter the process control domain in order to become a component of unified plant asset management.  The key to a successful systems integration is in providing data at the right level of complexity and according to the desired communications protocols - this enables a direct transfer of data to control systems and the possibility of rapid decision-making by either automated or human response.

• Corrosion measurement and monitoring techniques exist that have field experience for more than twenty years, and include off-line retrospective methods as well as on-line, real-time techniques
• A key objective for any corrosion management or mitigation program is to detect and resolve corrosion problems before significant equipment damage occurs
• The more advanced corrosion management programs are able to utilize on-line, real-time electrochemical corrosion monitoring to help correlate corrosion with processes and operations
• These newer technologies (e.g. SmartCET®) are proven in monitoring corrosion behavior in real time, even in the harsh world of chemical and petrochemical plants and hydrocarbon pipelines
• The technology works equally well in primarily organic process streams with low water content as with predominantly aqueous streams, although probe design is key to successful monitoring
• By integrating on-line, real-time with process information management systems, Operators and Engineers can view corrosion data in real-time along with the other important process parameters like flow rates, temperatures, pressures, and liquid levels
• The real value proposition lies in achieving sustained process performance optimization by keeping corrosion to a minimum while maximizing equipment uptime, production rates, product yield and plant safety

1. "Real-time Corrosion Monitoring for Improved Process Control:  A Real and Timely Alternative to Upgrading of Materials of Construction", Eden, D. C. Eden & Kintz, J. D., Paper #04238, NACE Corrosion 2004, New Orleans, March 28-April 1, 2004.
2. "Real-time, On-line and On-board: The Use of Computers, Enabling Corrosion Monitoring to Optimize Process Control", Eden, D. A. Eden & Srinivasan, S. Paper #04059, NACE Corrosion 2004, New Orleans, March 28-April 1, 2004.
3. "Electrochemical Noise:  The First Two Octaves", Eden, D.A., Paper #98386, NACE Corrosion 1998, San Diego
4. U.S. Patent No: 6,264,824 "Assessment of Corrosion", Reid, S.A. and Eden, D.A.
5. "Making Credible Corrosion Measurements - Real Corrosion, Real Time", Eden, D.C., Cayard, M.S., Kintz, J.D.,  Schrecengost, R.A., Breen, B.P. and Kramer, E., NACE Corrosion 2003, San Diego, April 7-11 2003.

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