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The ZHB® Distribution Baffle is used within a separator where there is a high solids loading, the crude oil is waxy, or there is a possibility that fouling will occur. The ZHB® Distribution Baffle assembly is fitted downstream of the inlet device in a two-phase gas/liquid, or three-phase, horizontal separator, to complete the inlet processing zone.

The bulk liquids from the inlet device settle under gravity, into the inlet processing zone, bounded by the ZHB® Distribution Baffle. Distributing the liquid flow evenly, prior to entry into the liquid/liquid separation region, maximises liquid/liquid separation.

In most designs, the baffle will occupy the whole cross-sectional area of the vessel. This gives it an extremely important role in improving the gas distribution through the separator, helping to minimise mal-distribution effects on the downstream demisting equipment and maximising the efficiency of the gas / liquid separation process.

Where necessary, ZVB® Calming Baffles are included downstream of the inlet processing zone in order to improve the flow distribution still further and reduce the effects of any motion or waves on the liquid surface.

Advantages of ZHB® Distribution Baffles:

  • Distribute and calm the fluids
  • Do not suffer from fouling or blockage
  • Handle slugs and surges
  • Enhance interface level control
  • Provide minimal pressure drop
  • Enhance gas distribution on any downstream equipment
  • Reduce or eliminate re-entrainment of liquid from liquid surface
  • Increase gas / liquid separation efficiency
  • Enhance liquid distribution on downstream equipment
  • Reduce turbulence and re-circulation within the liquid section, promoting gravity separation
  • Increase liquid / liquid separation efficiency
  • Wide operational range - typically, providing 100% turndown
  • Easy to install in both new and existing separators
  • No moving parts so no maintenance
  • Reduce surface waves and sloshing effects.

Applications of ZHB® Distribution Baffles:

  • Production Separators
  • Test Separators
  • Slug Catchers
  • Flash Drums
  • Produced Water Degassers
  • Enhanced Oil Recovery Systems
  • Floating Production Units (FPUs).

Case Studies

Upstream Piping

The upstream piping (or isometrics) will always dictate the condition of the flow entering the vessel. Special care should therefore be taken when designing the piping in a gas production system to minimize the risk of maldistribution and avoid the droplet shatter that could reduce the performance of the downstream separation internals. By modelling the isometrics with CFD, maldistribution can be reduced and the size of any droplets entering the separator can be predicted. This is useful for troubleshooting existing vessels and optimising the design of the process internals.

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