FFC-Merichem Company


Introduced in 1974, the FIBER FILM® Contactor is the foundation for a variety of caustic, amine and acid treating processes. Merichem processes using FIBER FILM Contactors have been licensed worldwide and successfully applied to treating problems throughout the hydrocarbon processing industries. One of the most common applications of FIBER FILM Contactor technology is in caustic treatment, an essential part of hydrocarbon processing for impurity removal. Merichem’s FIBER FILM Contactor technology achieves non-dispersive phase contact without the problems inherent in conventional dispersive mixing devices.

In a FIBER FILM Contactor, the aqueous phase adheres to (wets) the metal fibers and is continually renewed as it flows down the length of the fiber via a combination of gravity and interfacial drag between the two immiscible phases. Hydrocarbon also flows through the cylinder cocurrently and in between the aqueous-wetted fibers. The large surface area and tight packing of the metal fibers bring ultra-thin falling films of the aqueous phase into intimate contact with the hydrocarbon phase. The interfacial surface area produced is orders of magnitude larger than in conventional devices allowing impurities to easily diffuse between phases.

FIBER FILM Contactor Technology Offers Numerous Advantages

Effective treating results — Achieves maximum removal of impurities from the hydrocarbon to meet today’s stringent standards.

High mass transfer eciency — The large interfacial surface area, the microscopic diffusion distance, and the continuous renewal of the aqueous phase combine to yield mass transfer efficiencies far greater than possible with conventional treatment.

Elimination of carryover — Because the aqueous phase adheres to the fibers in the FIBER FILM Contactor rather than being dispersed into the hydrocarbon phase, carryover is virtually eliminated.

Elimination of emulsion formation — Since effective phase contact occurs without dispersion, stable emulsions will not form in the FIBER FILM Contactor unit.

Reduced equipment size and cost — Since the FIBER FILM Contactor system does not depend on gravity settling or emulsion coalescence, processing vessels can be much smaller. In most cases, expensive downstream coalescers and other cleanup equipment are not required. With fewer pieces of smaller equipment, plant space is more efficiently utilized.

Simplified, easily operated equipment — By eliminating the clean-up stages, FIBER FILM Contactor systems are much simpler to operate and maintain than conventional treating equipment. In addition, Merichem’s straightforward designs make automation and control easy.

Lower operating costs — High caustic strength and recycle capability reduces use of fresh caustic disposal as well as providing excellent turndown capability.

Flexible, Adaptable System Design

Adaptable to Client needs — Merichem’s FIBER FILM Contactor units are custom-designed to integrate with existing equipment to cost-effectively increase treating capacity and significantly reduce project schedules. These revamps typically increase capacity by 50–300%.

Future expansion capability — To meet projected expansion needs, FIBER FILM Contactor systems can be designed for economical capacity increase.

Modularized system availability — FIBER FILM Contactor systems can be modularized to reduce field fabrication and installation costs. This option also offers quicker implementation of grassroots systems, while Merichem’s pre-shipment checkout significantly reduces start-up problems.