Two Dimensional Finite Element Heat Transfer Analysis of a Buried Refined Bitumen Pipeline During Initial Start-up, Shutdown Following Initial Start-Up, and Normal Operation

R. Sisco
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA

This body of work uses the two dimensional finite element heat transfer capabilities of the conduction application mode within COMSOL to examine the temperature distribution in the fluid, pipe wall, insulation, and surrounding soil of a prototypical bitumen pipeline operating in a cold weather environment during the following modes of operation: initial start-up, shutdown following initial start-up, and normal steady state operation. Additionally, an insulation thickness sensitivity is performed to assess the impact of increased insulation on the temperature distribution during each mode of operation. The practical objective of this type of analysis and one explored in this body of work is the determination of the maximum amount of time the pipeline can be shutdown before a restart must be commenced using existing pumping facilities or alternative the amount time before an intervention operation must be performed in order to successfully restart the pipeline.