SIMTEC simulated the flow of heavy fuel oil, transferred from tanker ships to the power generation plant of a Greek island through a submarine pipe. The goal of this study was to examine if the pipe needed any insulation, to prevent the solidification of the fuel during wintertime. Initially, the pipe is occupied by sea water at a temperature of 10oC. The fuel enters the pipe at an elevated temperature of 50oC, while solidification happens at 30oC. The pipe consisted of two parts: (a) the flexible rubber part was attached on the ship and was perpendicular to the ground and (b) the permanent steel part that lied on the sea bottom and had a small inclination towards the island shore. Both parts have no insulation, except from a thin protective cement coating for the steel part.

The CFD model calculated the flow inside the pipe for the mixture of sea water and heavy fuel oil. Multiphase modelling was employed, to study the pattern of solidification and the subsequent melting. The results confirmed that for the given flow rate and feeding temperature, the complete solidification of the fuel was avoided. Even though small pockets of solidified heavy fuel oil were created occasionally, no obstructions were found for the functionality of the pipe. The use of CFD helped the engineers of Public Power Corporation SA, to ensure that there was no need for insulation, thus avoided unnecessary costs.


Customer:      Public Power Corporation