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A Gulf Coast refinery experienced high silicon antifoam usage approxi-mately 1 lb [0.5 kg] of silicon per thousand barrels) at the coker while using 60,000 cSt antifoam. This usage rate was well above the refining group’s other locations, which used approximately 0.25 lb of silicon per thousand barrels. As a result, a higher than desired amount of silicon was being carried over into the coker naphtha. In addition, high concen-trations of silicon were also found in the coker scrubber slop streams that were reprocessed at the pipestills.

The silicon carryover reduced the catalyst life at the ultraformer to less than a year versus a three-year plan. The refinery estimated the cost of catalyst replace-ment, lost production, and naphtha downgrade at $3.6 million USD per year.

Representatives from Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), were asked to collaborate with the refinery staff to review the system and then recommend a plan to reduce the carryover. After the joint analysis, it was agreed that BHGE’s FOAMSTOP™ low catalyst impact (LCI) antifoam, a new, patented product, would be evaluated.

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Challenges & Results


  • Silicon carryover into coker naphtha
  • Reduced catalyst life


  • Reduced silicon carryover approximately 75%
  • Decreased silicon defoamer usage by 70%
  • Improved refinery operations
  • Extended catalyst life
  • Maintained coke drum foam control