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Cottonwood Conundrum Causes Chaos at US Refineries

Cottonwood Conundrum Causes Chaos at US Refineries 

With warming spring temperatures come an explosion of airborne contaminants resulting in extra pressure on external fin fan banks at US refinery operations.  Cottonwood, or Poplar Seeds, are a key contaminant, deeply embedding themselves within the fin fan arrays. Several US refineries turn to innovative Citrikleen HD to clean their external fin fan arrays. 

Project Considerations

  • External fin fan systems have become obstructed with heavy Cottonwood build up
  • Obstructed fin fan reduces the efficiency of the heat exchangers at refinery’s, reducing efficiency of systems and output of refining operations
  • Reduced cooling capacity can prove problematic during warmer spring conditions
  • Refineries want to keep cleaning operations to a minimum to reduce costs and downtime while keeping system operations at full capacity


  • Combination of pressure washing and Citrikleen HD application removes Cottonwood build up
  • Limited operational footprint, managed by refinery personnel, reduce costs while keeping system operations at full capacity
  • Cleaning was conducted in the early evening, night, or early morning when both equipment and ambient temperatures were lower allowing for fewer fin fan arrays to be taken offline for cleaning resulting in negligible refining output reductions


Pressure washing operation, paired with Citrikleen HD, reduced the Cottonwood obstruction on fin fan arrays preventing costly shutdowns. By operating in early evenings/mornings or at night with refinery personnel kept the operational footprint to a minimum, reducing cleaning costs while taking advantage of the cooler ambient temperatures which allowed for more fin fan arrays to be cleaned without disrupting refinery operations. 

Interested in learning more? 

Contact Kelley Industrial for more information on Citrikleen HD, and other West Penetone products that may be helpful in your clean up, decon, and turn around projects!


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