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Article in Chemical Engineering Research and Design · February 2010
DOI: 10.1016/j.cherd.2009.08.004
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Chemical Engineering Research and Design
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/cherd
Optimization of crude distillation system using aspen plus:
Effect of binary feed selection on grassroot design
Raja Kumar More, Vijaya Kumar Bulasara, Ramgopal Uppaluri ^{∗} , Vikas R. Banjara
Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Guwahati 781039, India
abstract
With an objective to supplement guidelines available as general rules of thumb for the grassroot design of crude
distillation unit (CDU) using binary crude mixtures, this work presents the optimization of crude distillation unit
using commercial Aspen Plus software. The crude distillation unit constituted a preﬂash tower (PF), an atmospheric
distillation unit (ADU) and a vacuum distillation unit (VDU). Optimization model constituted a rigorous simulation
model supplemented with suitable objective functions with and without product ﬂow rate constraints. Three dif
ferent feed stocks namely Bombay crude, Araby crude and Nigeria crude were considered in this work along with
various binary combinations of these crudes. The objective function considered was proﬁt function (subjected to
maximization) for cases without product ﬂow rate constraints and rawmaterials and energy cost (subjected to mini
mization) for cases with product ﬂow rate constraints. Parametric study pertaining to feed selection and composition
has been conducted in this work to further beneﬁt reﬁnery planning and scheduling. Simulation study inferred that
the product ﬂow rate constraints sensitively affect atmospheric distillation column diameter and crude feed ﬂow
rate calculations. Based on all simulation studies, a generalized inference conﬁrms that it is difﬁcult to judge upon
the quality of the solutions obtained as far as their global optimality is concerned.
Crown Copyright © 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Institution of Chemical Engineers. All rights
reserved.
Keywords: Crude distillation; Preﬂash; Vacuum distillation; Aspen Plus; Product ﬂow rate; Feed selection; Grassroot
design; Optimization
1.
Introduction
Distillation of crude oil is regarded to be the most funda mental process in the petroleum reﬁning and petrochemical industries. A crude distillation unit (CDU) consists of an optional preﬂash tower (PF) followed by atmospheric distil lation unit (ADU) and vacuum distillation unit (VDU). Typical products from crude distillation system include light ends, light, heavy and medium naphtha, kerosene, diesel, atmo spheric gas oil (AGO), light vacuum gas oil (LVGO), heavy vacuum gas oil (HVGO) and vacuum residue. Analyzing the performance of crude distillation system is beneﬁcial to simul taneously achieve higher process efﬁciency and lower process cost. The industrial operation of a crude distillation system is subjected to perform under various operational factors such as type and quality of feed stock. Many a times, reﬁneries involve blending of crudes due to operational and feed availability
constraints, a feature that is more prominent in the energy economy past globalization era. To date, the analysis of crude distillation system has been presented by various academic contributions. Research in the analysis of crude distillation system is dovetailed towards three major areas namely heat exchanger networks associated to crude distillation unit (Klemesˇ and Ptácník, 1985; Sunden, 1988; Nilsson and Sundén, 1994; Plesu et al., 2003; Gadalla et al., 2003) reﬁnery planning and scheduling (Cao and Xin, Cao et al., 2009; Rivero et al., 2004; Aires et al., 2004; Dave and Zhang, 2003; GötheLundgren et al., 2002; Pinto et al., 2000) and crude distillation modeling, simulation and optimization (Inamdar et al., 2004; Liau et al., 2004; Dave et al., 2003; Kumar et al., 2001; Seo et al., 2008). The optimization of crude distillation unit has been favor ably addressed by Inamdar et al. (2004), Liau et al. (2004), Seo et al. (2008). While Inamdar et al. (2004) reported to the devel
^{∗} Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 361 2582260; fax: +91 361 2582260. Email addresses: b.vijaya@iitg.ernet.in (V.K. Bulasara), ramgopalu@iitg.ernet.in (R. Uppaluri). Received 16 January 2009; Received in revised form 28 July 2009; Accepted 9 August 2009
02638762/$ – see front matter Crown Copyright © 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Institution of Chemical Engineers. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2009.08.004
122
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
Q _{f}_{,}_{p} 
preﬂash furnace duty (kJ/a) 
Q _{f}_{,}_{v} 
vacuum column furnace duty (kJ/a) 
Q _{p}_{1}_{,}_{a} 
ADU pump1 around duty (kJ/a) 
Q _{p}_{1}_{,}_{v} 
VDU pump1 around duty (kJ/a) 
Q _{p}_{2}_{,}_{a} 
ADU pump2 around duty (kJ/a) 
Q _{p}_{2}_{,}_{v} 
VDU pump2 around duty (kJ/a) 
r 
rate of annual interest 
R 
annualized rawmaterials and energy cost ($/a) 
T _{c} differential log mean temperature difference for sizing condenser (K) T _{f} differential log mean temperature difference for sizing furnace (K) U _{c} overall heat transfer coefﬁcient for the con denser (kWm ^{−}^{2} K ^{−}^{1} ) U _{f} overall heat transfer coefﬁcient for the furnace (kWm ^{−}^{2} K ^{−}^{1} )
opment of rigorous mathematical model coupled with genetic algorithm for the optimization of crude distillation unit, Liau et al. (2004) developed artiﬁcial neural networks that can be used for simulation and optimization studies. It is further interesting to note that Inamdar et al. (2004) reported better optimal conditions using multiobjective genetic algorithms than those reported using local optimization algorithms. Sim ilarly, Seo et al. (2008) addressed the design optimization of crude distillation column using mixed integer nonlinear pro gramming method and have inferred better objective function values and hence a reduction in energy costs for an existing CDU system in a typical reﬁnery. A critical observation of the literatures cited above infers that the inherent relationships between design variables (such as column diameters, steam ﬂow rates, crude feed ﬂow rates) and cost/economics have not been studied for binary feed systems. Traditional grassroot design rule of thumb for CDU systems involves the simpler translation of crude assay data into suitable product distributions and thereby the evalua tion of the associated reﬁnery proﬁt margins and tradeoffs. This however does not translate into trends associated in the performance characteristics. In addition, it is opined that the performance characteristics of binary crude feed CDU systems can be extrapolated from the performance character istics of single crude feed CDU system using volume fractions of the feeds as the basis. However, the impact of binary crude composition upon several issues such as optimality of col umn diameters, steam ﬂow rates, cost and economics cannot be extrapolated due to associated nonlinearities in mod eling expressions. Therefore, a thorough investigation upon the effect of binary feed selection on grassroot design be addressed and is the objective of this article. Such studies are also regarded to be beneﬁcial for reﬁnery engineers engaged in reﬁnery operations, planning and scheduling in the midst of tighter crude supply–demand constraints. This work addresses optimization studies for crude distilla tion system using Aspen Plus, a commercial process modeling software. The methodology adopted in this work involves design optimization of a chosen CDU system conﬁguration with speciﬁed values for number of trays (and hence column height) in various distillation columns using SQP optimiza tion solver built in the software. In due course of optimization, column diameters, crude feed ﬂow rate and steam ﬂow rates are regarded as the key optimization variables that inﬂuence
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
123
Fig. 1 – True boiling point (TBP) curves for (a) Bombay, (b) Araby and (c) Nigeria crudes.
124
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
Fig. 2 – Process Block Diagram for CDU simulation and optimization.
the performance characteristics and optimality of the binary crude fed CDU systems. Several ﬁner objectives of this article are addressed as follows:
(a) 
Impact of crude selection on reﬁnery proﬁts and CDU opti mality including feed and steam ﬂow rates to the CDU system. 
(b) 
Effect of binary crude compositions on reﬁnery proﬁt mar gins as well as CDU design variables such as steam and crude feed ﬂow rates and diameters of various columns. 
(c) 
Tradeoffs associated to rawmaterials and energy cost and proﬁt margins of the CDU system for various choices of feeds. 
(d) 
Impact of product ﬂow rate constraints on the design opti mality and performance characteristics of the CDU. 
The next section outlines the representation of the CDU system problem in Aspen Plus.
2. Problem summary
2.1. Crude assay
Three crude assays namely BOMBAYHG (Bombay crude), ARABY (Mideast Crude) and BONNYLT (Nigeria crude) are con sidered in this work as different choices of single and binary crude feed choice to the CDU system. Fig. 1a–c presents the true boiling point (TBP) curves of these crudes, respectively. As shown in these ﬁgures, naphtha range corresponds to 34.2 vol% in Bombay crude, 20 vol% in the Mideast crude and 32 vol% in Nigeria crude, respectively. A critical analysis of these crudes indicated that Bombay and Nigeria crudes have similar TBP proﬁles where as Araby crude possesses more high boiling components. Based on these TBP curves, the mixed crude TBP curves for various volume fractions of different single crudes can be as well generated.
2.2. Process conﬁguration
Fig. 2 presents the process block diagram for the crude distilla tion system represented in Aspen Plus commercial software. A typical representation of the crude distillation system consti tutes a preﬂash unit followed by the atmospheric distillation
unit and vacuum distillation unit. The feed streams to these columns have been subjected to undergo heating via process furnaces. Based on the available literature data (Kumar et al., 2001; Stojic et al., 2004; William, 2006), Table 1 presents the summary of various operating parameters for the CDU system represented in Aspen Plus. A brief description of the process conﬁguration is presented below.
2.2.1. Preﬂash tower
Crude stream sent to preﬂash furnace undergoes partial vaporization. The furnace operating pressure and tempera ture are taken as 345 kPa and 232 ^{◦} C. The preﬂash tower constitutes 10 theoretical stages (chosen for the study) with an average tower pressure drop of 21 kPa and steam stripping is considered using steam at 204 ^{◦} C and 414 kPa. The preﬂash column produces light ends along with naphtha product that is removed as the top product using a partial condenser that operates at 77 ^{◦} C and 274 kPa with a pressure drop of 14 kPa. The product speciﬁcation desired corresponds to naphtha cut with ASTM 95% temperature of 191 ^{◦} C.
2.2.2. Atmospheric distillation unit
The bottom product of the preﬂash tower enters the process furnace and undergoes a further vaporization of about 3% by volume. The pressure of the furnace is maintained at 167 kPa. The atmospheric distillation column constitutes 25 theoretical
Table 1 – Parameters for CDU optimization problem. 

Parameter 
Value 
Preﬂash unit No. of stages 
10 
Pressure 
273.7 kPa (top stage) 308.2 kPa (bottom stage) 
ADU No. of stages 
25 
Pressures 
108.2 kPa (top stage) 170.3 kPa (bottom stage) 
VDU No. of stages 
6 
Pressures 
8.0 kPa (top stage) 9.3 kPa (bottom stage) 
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
125
stages (chosen for the study) and consists of a total condenser, three coupled side strippers and two pumparound circuits. The feed to the atmospheric distillation column enters on stage 22 (stage numbering is from top to bottom). Steam strip ping that aids enhancement of volatility via the reduction of partial pressure is facilitated by using steam at 204 ^{◦} C and 414 kPa. The average pressure drop of the atmospheric dis tillation tower is taken as 28 kPa with the ﬁrst stage at 108 kPa, and the bottom stage pressure of 170 kPa. Two pumparound circuits are facilitated to provide internal reﬂux at various sec tions of the tower. The location of the ﬁrst pump around is from stage 8 to stage 6 with a base case heat duty of −11.7 MW. The second pump around is located from stage 14 to stage 13 with a base case heat duty of −4.4 MW. The condenser is operated at 108 kPa and a pressure drop of 34 kPa. The ﬁrst side stripper consisting of 4 equilibrium stages is fed with liquid drawn from stage 6 of the main column. The lighter product produced in the ﬁrst side stripper is fed to stage 5 of the main column. The second side stripper consisting of 3 equilibrium stages produces diesel product with feed fed from the 13th stage of the main column and the vapor product fed to stage 12 of the main column. The third stripper consisting of 2 equilibrium stages produces atmospheric gas oil as the bottom product and is fed with liquid drawn from stage 18 of the main column. The vapor from the third stripper is fed to stage 17 of the main column. The residue product is fur ther subjected to distillation in the vacuum distillation unit. Various products produced from the atmospheric distillation column supplemented with the three side strippers include naphtha, kerosene, diesel, atmospheric gas oil and the bottom product.
2.2.3. Vacuum distillation unit
The bottom product of the atmospheric distillation column is fed to the vacuum distillation which is facilitated with jet ejectors that enable the generation of vacuum in the unit. The vacuum unit separates the atmospheric column bottom prod uct into offgas, light vacuum gas oil, heavy vacuum gas oil and residual oil. The vacuum column constitutes 6 theoreti cal stages (chosen for the study) with pressure maintained at 8 kPa (stage 1) and 9.3 kPa (stage 6). The process furnace asso ciated to the vacuum column operates at a pressure of 14 kPa and provides an overﬂash of 0.6 vol%. The vacuum tower is enabled with two pumparound circuits, with the ﬁrst located from stages 2 to 1 and the second located from stage 4 to 3. Light vacuum gas oil is taken out from stage 2 as a total draw. The heavy vacuum gas oil is withdrawn from stage 4 and bitu men is taken as bottom product of the vacuum distillation unit.
3. Mathematical formulation
This section illustrates various components of the optimiza tion model formulated in Aspen Plus environment to evaluate the impact of the feed choice on the grassroot design. A typical optimization model consists of an objective function supplemented with equality and inequality constraints. In the present case study, the equality constraints relate to the mass balances facilitated by the rigorous process simulation mod els built in Aspen Plus. The inequality constraints are imposed in the form of upper bounds for product ﬂow rates for differ ent cases. Broad grassroot design studies were carried out for two different classes namely those without the speciﬁcation of maximum product ﬂow rates as inequality constraints and
Table 2 – Unit prices of various commodities (WPS, 2009). 

Price 
Units 

C _{c} 
628.97 
$/m ^{3} 
C _{s} 
0.0055 
$/kg 
C _{N} 
1003.84 
$/m ^{3} 
C _{K} 
861.06 
$/m ^{3} 
C _{V} 
718.28 
$/m ^{3} 
C _{R} 
449.08 
$/m ^{3} 
C _{e} 
4.74 × 10 ^{−}^{6} 
$/kJ 
those with the speciﬁcation of maximum product ﬂow rate inequality constraints.
3.1.
Parameters
All design speciﬁcations mentioned in Table 1 along with those presented in Table 2 (WPS, 2009) are regarded as design param eters of the mathematical formulation. These include number of theoretical stages, column pressures and column height as well as cost parameters.
3.2. Variables
All cases corresponding to the negation of product ﬂow rate inequality constraints involve maximum number of variables that need to be optimized simultaneously. For these cases, the variables that are subjected to optimization include crude feed ﬂow rate, steam ﬂow rates associated to atmospheric column, side strippers associated to atmospheric column, preﬂash and vacuum distillation column, product ﬂow rates of light naphtha, heavy naphtha, kerosene, AGO, LVGO, HVGO and residue products, column reﬂux ratios, condenser duties, col umn diameters, furnace duties, pump around duties, furnace and condenser areas. Those cases that correspond to the speciﬁcation of product ﬂow rate inequality constraints in the mathematical model involve the optimization of variables mentioned above except the product ﬂow rates.
3.3. Inequality constraints
The upper and lower bounds for variables such as steam ﬂow rates associated to preﬂash, ADU, strippers S13 and VDU and crude feed ﬂow rate have been speciﬁed between a valid lower and upper bound. All other variables have been treated as nonnegative variables. Further, for all cases with prod uct ﬂow rate constraints, upper bounds of naphtha, heavy naphtha, kerosene and diesel products have been speciﬁed that impose additional inequality constraints. Table 3 presents all inequality constraints corresponding to all cases of opti mization considered in this work. Table 4 summarizes upper bounds of product ﬂow rates that have been additionally
Table 3 – Inequality constraints for the CDU optimization problem. 

Variable 
Lower bound 
Upper bound 
Crude feed ﬂow rate (m ^{3} /d) ADU steam (kg/h) Stripper1 steam (kg/h) Stripper2 steam (kg/h) Stripper3 steam (kg/h) VDU steam (kg/h) PF steam (kg/h) 
11924.25 
31798.00 
3175.13 
9071.80 

907.18 
2721.54 

226.80 
1360.77 

226.80 
680.39 

6803.85 
13607.70 

1360.77 
3628.72 
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chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
Table 4 – Upper bounds for the ﬂowrates of different products for various single and binary crude choices. 

Units 
Bombay 
Araby 
Nigeria 
ArabyBombay 
ArabyNigeria 
BombayNigeria 

Naphtha 
m ^{3} /d 
4769.70 
3179.80 
4769.70 
4769.70 
4769.70 
5246.67 

H. 
naphtha 
m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d 
1271.92 
1907.88 
1271.92 
1271.92 
1271.92 
1271.92 
Kerosene 
3974.75 
2305.36 
3974.75 
3020.81 
3974.75 
3179.80 

Diesel 
3179.80 
2225.86 
3179.80 
2384.85 
3179.80 
3179.80 

AGO 
1271.92 
1271.92 
1271.92 
1271.92 
1271.92 
1271.92 

LVGO 
3179.80 
1589.90 
3179.80 
3179.80 
3179.80 
3179.80 

HVGO 
2384.85 
2384.85 
2384.85 
2702.83 
2702.83 
2702.83 
Table 5 – Design parameters/variables and expressions for the evaluation of ﬁxed costs of various process equipments (William, 2006). 

Parameter/variable 
Value/expression 

Condensers 

U 
_{c} (kWm ^{−}^{2} K ^{−}^{1} ) 
0.852 
T _{c} (K) 
13.9 

A 
_{c} (m ^{2} ) 
Q _{c} /(U _{c} T _{c} ) 
C 
_{f}_{,}_{c} ($) 
7296(A _{c} ) ^{0}^{.}^{6}^{5} 
Furnaces 

U 
_{f} (kWm ^{−}^{2} K ^{−}^{1} ) 
0.568 
T _{f} (K) 
34.8 

A 
_{f} (m ^{2} ) 
Q _{f} /(U _{f} T _{f} ) 
C 
_{f}_{,}_{f} ($) 
7296(A _{f} ) ^{0}^{.}^{6}^{5} 
Distillation columns 

L 
(m) 
0.73N 
_{C} 
_{f}_{,}_{d} ($) 
17640D ^{1}^{.}^{0}^{6}^{6} L ^{0}^{.}^{8}^{0}^{2} 
imposed for all cases where product ﬂow rate constraints were considered.
3.4. Objective function
For all cases without product ﬂow rate constraints, the objec tive function (annualized proﬁt) to be maximized is evaluated as a function of annualized values of the products cost, feed cost, capital and energy costs. For those cases where prod uct ﬂow rate constraints were further imposed, the objective function (rawmaterials and energy cost) to be minimized was evaluated as a function of feed and energy costs.
The evaluation of objective functions for both classes of optimization problems was based on the following expres sions:
C _{a}_{,}_{r} = C _{c} F _{c} + C _{s} (F _{s}_{,}_{p} + F _{s}_{,}_{a} + F _{s}_{,}_{s}_{1} + F _{s}_{,}_{s}_{2} + F _{s}_{,}_{s}_{3} + F _{s}_{,}_{v} )
(1)
C _{a}_{,}_{e} = C _{e} (Q _{c}_{,}_{p} + Q _{c}_{,}_{a} + Q _{p}_{1}_{,}_{a} + Q _{p}_{2}_{,}_{a} + Q _{p}_{1}_{,}_{v} + Q _{p}_{2}_{,}_{v} + Q _{f}_{,}_{p}
+ Q _{f}_{,}_{a} + Q _{f}_{,}_{v} )
(2)
C _{a}_{,}_{p} = C _{N} (P _{N} + P _{H}_{N} ) + C _{K} P _{K} + C _{D} (P _{D} + P _{A} ) + C _{V} (P _{L} + P _{H} ) + C _{R} P _{R}
^{C} f ^{=} ^{C} f,p ^{+} ^{C} f,a ^{+} ^{C} f,v ^{+} ^{C} f,pc ^{+} ^{C} f,ac ^{+} ^{C} f,pf ^{+} ^{C} f,af ^{+} ^{C} f,vf
(3)
^{(}^{4}^{)}
Here the ﬁxed costs of columns (preﬂash, atmospheric distillation column and vacuum column), condensers (pre ﬂash and atmospheric distillation column condensers) and furnaces (associated to preﬂash, atmospheric distil lation column and vacuum column) were evaluated using parameters/variables and design expressions (William, 2006) summarized in Table 5. For all cases without product ﬂow rate constraints, gross proﬁt function was evaluated using the following expression and is taken as the objective function for maximization:
G = C _{a}_{,}_{p} − C _{a}_{,}_{r} − C _{a}_{,}_{e} − C _{f} A
(5)
Table 6 – Optimal product ﬂow rates and costs for the case study with single crude and without product ﬂow rate constraints. 

Variable 
Units 
Araby 
Bombay 
Nigeria 

Crude ADU steam ADU S1 steam 
m ^{3} /d kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d M$/a M$/a M$/a M$/a 
22067.00 
23848.50 
23848.50 

8493.52 
5511.80 
5511.80 

2541.96 
1527.74 
1527.74 

ADU S2 steam ADU S3 steam PF steam VDU steam Naphtha 
1246.06 
226.80 
226.80 

635.07 
426.42 
426.42 

3628.72 
3628.72 
3628.72 

9071.80 
9071.80 
9071.80 

3179.80 
5340.51 
5340.70 

H. 
naphtha 
1911.20 
1359.84 
1359.70 

Kerosene Diesel AGO LVGO HVGO Residue Total feed cost/annum Income/annum Total annual cost Total annual proﬁt (objective function) 
2337.22 
4579.83 
4579.12 

2226.15 
3563.89 
3562.22 

1351.45 
1351.42 
1351.42 

1625.78 
3994.31 
3994.88 

2702.83 
2702.83 
2702.83 

6442.26 
631.08 
632.81 

5066.80 
5475.70 
5475.70 

5303.80 
6384.90 
6384.70 

10.60 
14.50 
15.60 

226.40 
894.70 
893.40 
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
127
Table 7 – Optimal column variables for the case study with single crude and without product ﬂow rate constraints. 

Nigeria 
Bombay 
Araby 

Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 

Reﬂux ratio Condenser heat duty (MW) Column diameter (m) Furnace heat duty (MW) Pump1 around duty (MW) Pump2 around duty (MW) Condenser area (m ^{2} ) Furnace area (m ^{2} ) Heat exchangers cost (M$) Column vessel cap cost (M$) Energy cost (M$) Capital cost (M$) 
0.4 
6.8 
1.3 
0.4 
3.3 
0.9 
0.4 
6.8 
1.2 

35.4 
47.2 
0.0 
34.0 
44.3 
0.0 
20.2 
20.4 
0.0 

4.7 
29.9 
15.1 
4.0 
17.7 
13.0 
4.7 
29.9 
15.0 

93.1 
71.9 
32.9 
90.1 
72.8 
32.0 
43.3 
53.5 
22.6 

– 
11.7 
18.9 
– 
11.7 
19.8 
– 
11.7 
3.6 

– 
4.4 
23.4 
– 
4.4 
23.4 
– 
4.4 
19.0 

2986.3 
3981.0 
0.0 
2862.7 
3736.0 
0.0 
1699.5 
1716.8 
0.0 

4690.2 
3624.8 
1657.9 
4542.4 
3671.5 
1613.2 
2184.0 
2696.4 
1140.4 

3.10 
3.10 
0.90 
3.03 
3.05 
0.89 
2.00 
2.16 
0.71 

0.45 
6.78 
1.04 
0.38 
3.89 
0.89 
0.45 
6.78 
1.04 

10.69 
10.49 
6.27 

15.38 
12.13 
13.14 
Here “A” refers to annualization factor for process equipment which is given by:
_{A}
_{=}
r (1 + r)
n
(1 + r) ^{n} − 1
(6)
For ten years of operation and at an annual interest of 8%, the annualization factor would be 0.15 a ^{−}^{1} . However, in this work the annualization factor has been chosen as 0.33 a ^{−}^{1} . This is due to two reasons. Firstly, higher annualiza tion factor enables consideration of all auxiliary processes and equipments associated to the CDU system and hence allows estimation of cost values that are close to those existing in the reality. Secondly, since feed ﬂow rate is chosen as an opti mization variable, there is a tendency to enhance feed ﬂow rates and hence column diameters to maximize proﬁt. There fore, larger column diameters are difﬁcult to realize in a single column and the column diameter needs to be treated as an equivalent diameter. Always, it is well known that the cost of two columns is higher than that of a single column with same equivalent diameter and therefore the chosen higher value of annualization factor is anticipated to estimate the costs of more number of columns using the simple concept of equivalent diameter and higher value of annualization factor. For all cases where product ﬂow rate constraints were imposed, the overall rawmaterials and energy cost was eval uated using the following expression is taken as the objective function for minimization:
R = C a,r + C a,e
(7)
It is important to note here that the rawmaterials and energy cost forces the feed ﬂow rate to take an optimal (lowest possible) value such that the product ﬂow rate constraints are satisﬁed and minimal overall energy is required.
3.5. Optimization methodology
The optimization of the CDU system has been conducted using an inbuilt sequential quadratic programming (SQP) solver in the Aspen Plus environment (version 12) (ATAP, 2009). SQP method is a typical nonlinear programming method that requires a feasible set of initial values for all process variables (Singiresu, 1998). Thereby, the SQP proceeds to yield optimal process variables of the CDU optimization problem. Since var ious data sets are involved, different feasible sets of initial values are also required. All initial feasible data sets have been provided based on the expertise in process simulation.
Fig. 3 – Variation of CDU total annual cost and proﬁt for various single crudes without product ﬂow rate constraints.
Fig. 4 – Contributions of various key cost functions to optimized objective function for the case with Bombay crude as feed stream.
128
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
Table 8 – Optimal product ﬂow rates and costs for the case study with binary crudes and without product ﬂow rate constraints. 

Variable 
Units 
BombayNigeria 
ArabyNigeria 
ArabyBombay 
Optimal composition Crude ADU steam ADU S1 steam ADU S2 steam ADU S3 steam PF steam VDU steam Naphtha H. naphtha Kerosene Diesel AGO LVGO HVGO Residue Total annual feed cost Income (annual) Total annual cost Binary crude composition for minimum total cost Total annual proﬁt (objective function) 
– m ^{3} /d kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d M$/a M$/a M$/a – M$/a 
0.9 (Bombay) 
0.9 (Nigeria) 
0.2 (Araby) 
23848.50 
23848.50 
23848.50 

3628.72 
6181.75 
2396.18 

9071.80 
2075.95 
8526.90 

2721.54 
344.32 
2601.57 

226.80 
471.10 
1212.13 

680.39 
3628.72 
647.00 

9071.80 
9071.80 
9071.80 

5366.06 
5139.37 
5240.49 

1345.04 
1360.33 
1200.47 

4500.42 
4493.28 
4013.34 

3685.61 
3443.15 
2684.05 

1351.42 
1351.42 
1351.42 

3740.02 
3751.80 
4730.51 

2702.83 
2702.83 
2702.83 

750.05 
1279.44 
1160.18 

5476.2 
5476.1 
5476.2 

6373.6 
6319.1 
6088.5 

14.2 (13.1 lowest) 0.4 (Bombay) 
14.2 (13.7 lowest) 0.1 (Nigeria) 
16.3 (14.5 lowest) 0.7–0.9 (Araby) 

883.2 
828.8 
596.0 
3.6. Cases considered
The following cases have been considered in this work:
ﬂow rate constraints was found to be at least 50% lower than those conducted with product ﬂow rate constraints.
4. Results and discussion
(a) 
Optimization without product ﬂow rate speciﬁcation con 

straints: For this case, the optimization of the CDU system 
4.1. 
Optimization without product ﬂow rate 

has been considered for a. Single crudes namely Bombay, Nigeria and Araby 
constraints 

crudes. b. Binary crudes namely BombayNigeria, NigeriaAraby and ArabyBombay with different volume % composi tions (10–90%). 
4.1.1. Performance of single crude fed CDU system Tables 6 and 7 summarize various optimized process variables for the CDU system with different single crudes namely Bom bay, Nigeria and Araby crudes. Based on the obtained results, 

(b) 
Optimization with product ﬂow rate speciﬁcation con straints: For this case, the optimization of the CDU system has been considered for 
the following inferences have been made. 

(a) 
Bombay crude provided highest optimal gross proﬁt of 

a. 
Single crudes namely Bombay, Nigeria and Araby crudes. 
894.7 million United States Dollars (M$) as opposed to 893.4 

b. 
Binary crudes namely BombayNigeria, NigeriaAraby and 
M$ for Nigeria crude and 227.4 M$ for Araby crude (Fig. 3). 

ArabyBombay with different volume % compositions 
(b) 
The contributions of various key cost functions to opti 

(10–90%). 
mized proﬁt (Fig. 4) infers that only 2% was contributed 

The CPU time for all simulations was evaluated to be less than 180 s on 2.8 GHz Intel Pentium D processor with 1 GB RAM. As expected, the CPU time for all simulations without product 
by equipment related costs and 98% was contributed by process economy. The distribution between annualized energy and capital costs relate to 32% and 68% of the total annualized costs. 
Table 9 – Optimal column variables for the case study with binary crudes and without product ﬂow rate constraints. 

BombayNigeria 
ArabyNigeria 
ArabyBombay 

Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 

Reﬂux ratio Condenser heat duty (MW) Column diameter (m) Furnace heat duty (MW) Pump1 around duty (MW) Pump2 around duty (MW) Condenser area (m ^{2} ) Furnace area (m ^{2} ) Heat exchangers cap cost (M$) Column vessel cap cost (M$) Energy Cost (M$) Capital Cost (M$) 
0.4 
6.8 
1.3 
0.4 
0.5 
1.3 
0.4 
6.7 
1.2 

34.3 
48.5 
0.0 
32.7 
45.7 
0.0 
33.2 
44.1 
0.0 

4.8 
12.3 
14.7 
19.2 
12.3 
15.0 
4.8 
11.5 
16.4 

90.5 
70.7 
31.7 
89.7 
74.1 
32.2 
91.8 
71.6 
41.4 

0.0 
11.7 
18.5 
0.0 
11.7 
18.7 
0.0 
11.7 
24.5 

0.0 
4.4 
23.4 
0.0 
4.4 
23.4 
0.0 
4.4 
24.9 

2893.1 
4089.2 
0.0 
2753.3 
3851.3 
0.0 
2795.1 
12685.3 
0.0 

4562.1 
3563.2 
1595.2 
4524.0 
3733.7 
1621.7 
4626.0 
12322.5 
7122.1 

3.04 
3.11 
0.88 
2.99 
3.09 
0.89 
3.03 
6.72 
2.33 

0.46 
2.64 
1.01 
0.41 
2.64 
1.04 
0.46 
2.44 
1.14 

10.52 
10.49 
10.96 

11.15 
11.06 
16.12 
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
129
Table 10 – Optimal product ﬂow rates and costs for the case study with single crude and with product ﬂow rate constraints. 

Variable 
Units 
Araby 
Bombay 
Nigeria 

Naphtha 
m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h M$/a M$/a M$/a M$/a 
3179.8 
5246.7 
5340.5 

H. 
naphtha 
1913.4 
1276.9 
1359.8 

Kerosene Diesel AGO LVGO HVGO Residue Crude ADU steam ADU S1 steam ADU S2 steam ADU S3 steam PF steam VDU steam Feed cost (annual) Total income (annual) Total annual cost (objective function) Annual proﬁt 
2341.5 
3973.4 
4579.8 

2225.7 
1755.5 
3563.9 

1351.4 
1351.4 
1351.4 

1624.4 
1351.4 
3994.3 

2702.8 
4392.2 
2702.8 

6437.5 
2833.9 
631.1 

22067.0 
22181.3 
23848.5 

8463.1 
5438.0 
5511.8 

2552.0 
1496.4 
1527.7 

1247.8 
453.5 
226.8 

638.0 
362.8 
426.4 

3628.7 
1360.8 
3628.7 

9071.8 
9071.8 
9071.8 

5067.2 
5092.3 
5476 

5304.9 
5860.0 
6384.9 

12.9 
14.0 
16.0 

224.7 
753.7 
892.9 
Fig. 5 – Comparison of diameters of various units for different single crudes.
(c) Optimal preﬂash unit diameters varied around 4–4.7m, and that of the atmospheric distillation column varied between 17.7 and 29m while for the vacuum distilla tion column they were about 13–15.1m (Fig. 5). These diameters as such are infeasible to achieve industri ally in a single column and are therefore referred to as equivalent diameters for various columns assuming the
crude stream undergoes parallel processing in several distillation columns. The obtained high values of distil lation column diameters from Aspen simulation appear to be justiﬁed based on the literature values presented by Gadalla et al. (2003), who indicated column diameters varying between 5 and 8m with a crude feed ﬂow rate of 15,899m ^{3} /d for an atmospheric distillation column con stituting fortyone stages and three pumparound units. Also, lower values of column diameters would have been realized if the distillation column heights (or number of trays) are taken more which facilitates additional degrees of freedom in the complex columns. In either case, it is important to note that the cost of the units would be appar ently similar due to the associated tradeoffs between column height and diameter. Therefore, considering these tradeoffs, the cost implication upon obtained diameters is anticipated to provide a good conceptual understand ing upon the relationships between operational variables (such as ﬂow rates) and economics (cost and proﬁt).
(d) 
The optimal feed ﬂow rate to achieve maximum gross proﬁt was found to lie between 22,067 and 23,849m ^{3} /d (Table 6). 
(e) 
The optimal reﬂux ratios for different columns varied as follows: Preﬂash 0.4, atmospheric distillation unit 3.3–6.8 and vacuum unit 0.9–1.3. 
Table 11 – Optimal column variables for the case study with single crude and with product ﬂow rate constraints. 

Araby 
Bombay 
Nigeria 

Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 

Reﬂux ratio Condenser heat duty (MW) Column Dia (m) Furnace heat duty (MW) Pump1 around duty (MW) Pump2 around duty (MW) Condenser area (m ^{2} ) Furnace area (m ^{2} ) Heat exchangers cost (M$) Column vessel cap cost (M$) Energy cost (M$) Capital cost (M$) 
0.4 
7.0 
1.1 
0.4 
0.6 
0.9 
0.4 
6.5 
1.4 

20.2 
25.6 
0.0 
33.9 
13.2 
0.0 
34.0 
44.3 
0.0 

4.3 
10.1 
13.1 
4.7 
32.5 
14.0 
4.7 
29.2 
15.1 

80.2 
86.2 
23.4 
83.7 
60.7 
2.0 
90.1 
72.8 
32.0 

0.0 
35.3 
9.4 
0.0 
35.3 
9.4 
0.0 
35.3 
9.4 

0.0 
10.1 
19.0 
0.0 
10.1 
19.0 
0.0 
10.1 
19.0 

1699.5 
2156.5 
0.0 
2861.0 
3813.2 
0.0 
2862.7 
3736.0 
0.0 

4041.9 
4346.5 
1179.0 
4220.9 
10440.2 
346.3 
4542.4 
3671.5 
1613.2 

2.53 
2.76 
0.72 
2.95 
4.54 
0.33 
3.03 
3.05 
0.89 

0.41 
2.14 
0.90 
0.45 
7.42 
0.96 
0.45 
6.62 
1.04 

9.76 
8.44 
10.95 

9.46 
16.65 
15.07 
130
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
Fig. 6 – Variation of diameter of different columns with volume fraction of (a) Nigeria crude in mixture of Nigeria and Bombay crudes, (b) Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria and Araby and (c) Araby crude in a mixture of ArabyBombay crude for optimization studies conducted without product ﬂow rate constraints.
4.1.2. Performance of binary crude fed CDU system
Tables 8–9 and Figs. 6–8 summarize results obtained from the simulation studies involving various compositions of binary crude combinations from Nigeria, Bombay and Araby crudes. Based on these results, the following inferences have been drawn:
(a) As summarized in Table 8, the binary crude composition of 0.9 volume fraction Bombay crude in BombayNigeria crude provided maximum gross annual proﬁt of 883.2 M$ amongst all binary compositions studied, followed by 0.9 volume fraction of Nigeria crude in NigeriaAraby crude (828.8 M$) and 0.2 volume fraction of Araby crude in Araby Bombay crude (596 M$). Incidentally, these optimal binary compositions do not refer to the lowest rawmaterials and energy cost of the CDU system as also indicated in the table.
Fig. 7 – Variation of total annual proﬁt with binary crude volume fractions for all cases without product ﬂow rate constraints (BN: Bombay crude in a mixture of BombayNigeria crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of NigeriaAraby crudes; BA: Bombay crude in a mixture of BombayAraby crudes).
(b) As illustrated in Fig. 6a, the grassroot designs of the CDU for NigeriaBombay crudes adopted different equiv alent diameter proﬁles with respect to volume fractions for various binary crude systems. Low preﬂash diameters (4m), medium range equivalent diameters for the atmo spheric column (about 11m) and highest vacuum unit equivalent diameters (16m) are indicated by the simu lation study for NigeriaBombay crude system. However, lower atmospheric column equivalent diameters followed by vacuum unit diameters and then the preﬂash unit equivalent diameters is indicated for the ArabyNigeria crude system (Fig. 6b). On the other hand, lower pre ﬂash unit equivalent diameters followed by atmospheric column diameters and then vacuum unit diameters is observed for ArabyBombay crude system (Fig. 6c). These observations are analyzed to be consistent with the binary crudeassay data generated for various binary sys tems. In addition, equivalent diameter sensitivity was observed to be more predominant for ArabyBombay and ArabyNigeria crude systems, both that feature lighter and heavier crude combinations. The ArabyNigeria crude involved maximum equivalent diameters for the preﬂash
Fig. 8 – Variation of optimal crude feed ﬂow rate with volume fraction of various crudes in binary crudes corresponding to optimization cases without product ﬂow rate constraints (BN: Bombay crude in a mixture of BombayNigeria crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of NigeriaAraby crudes; BA: Bombay crude in a mixture of BombayAraby crudes).
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
131
Fig. 9 – Variation of total annual cost and proﬁt for single crudes with product ﬂow rate constraints.
unit being the heaviest crude combination (Fig. 6b), where as higher vacuum column diameters proﬁles are observed for NigeriaBombay and ArabyBombay crude systems.
(c) 
The total annual gross proﬁt was observed to vary linearly with enhancement in volume fraction of the lighter crude as presented in Fig. 7. The linear trend was attributed due to lack of any product ﬂow rate constraints that enabled higher proﬁt margins at higher volume fractions of the lighter crudes in the chosen binary systems. 
(d) 
Except for a few cases, almost all compositions indicated optimal crude feed ﬂow rate of 23,849m ^{3} /d (Fig. 8). This indicates that a high crude feed ﬂow rate enables maxi mum proﬁts generated due to higher rates of producing the petroleum products. 
(e) 
The optimal reﬂux ratios for various optimal binary com positions varied as follows: preﬂash 0.4; atmospheric distillation column 0.5–6.8 and vacuum column 1.2–1.3. 
In summary, the single crudes have provided highest annual proﬁts compared to the binary crudes. This is asso ciated due to the heavier components contributed by heavier crudes such as Araby crude.
4.2. 
Optimization with product ﬂow rate constraints 
4.2.1. 
Performance of single crude fed CDU system 
Tables 10 and 11 along with Fig. 9 present the summary of various optimized variables obtained from the optimization of CDU system with product ﬂow rate constraints. From these results, the following inferences are highlighted.
(a) 
As illustrated in Fig. 9, Araby crude indicated the lowest rawmaterials and energy cost of 12.9 M$ followed by Bom bay crude (14 M$) and Nigeria crude (16 M$). However, highest annual proﬁt has been obtained for the case of Nigeria crude (892.9 M$). 
(b) 
Percentage contribution of various costs was similar to those presented for single crude CDU fed systems without product ﬂow rate constraints. 
(c) 
The optimal reﬂux ratios of various columns varied as fol lows: preﬂash 0.4; atmospheric distillation column 0.6–7; vacuum column 0.9–1.4. 
(d) 
Optimal preﬂash unit equivalent diameters varied around 4.3–4.7m, and that of the atmospheric distillation column varied between 10.1 and 32.5m and those of the vacuum column varied in the range of 13.1–15.1m. 
(e) The optimal feed ﬂow rate varied between 21,425 and 23,849m ^{3} /d (Table 10).
4.2.2. Performance of binary crude fed CDU systems
Tables 12 and 13 along with Figs. 10 and 11 summarize results obtained from the simulation studies of binary crude fed CDU systems in Aspen Plus. Based on these results, the following inferences have been drawn:
(a) As summarized in Table 12, the binary crude composition of 0.2 volume fraction of Nigeria crude in BombayNigeria crude requires minimum rawmaterials and energy cost of 13.4 M$ followed by 0.2 Araby crude in ArabyBombay crude (13.5 M$) and 0.7 Nigeria crude in ArabyNigeria crude (15.3 M$). Incidentally, the maximum annual proﬁt obtained for these cases corresponds to 865.9 M$ for 0.9 Nigeria crude in BombayNigeria crude system fol
Fig. 10 – Variation of diameter of different columns with volume fraction of (a) Nigeria crude in mixture of Nigeria and Bombay crudes, (b) Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria and Araby and (c) Araby crude in a mixture of ArabyBombay crude for the case with product ﬂow rate constraints.
132
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
Table 12 – Optimal product ﬂow rates and costs for the case study with binary crudes and with product ﬂow rate constraints. 

Variable 
Units 
BombayNigeria 
ArabyNigeria 
ArabyBombay 

Optimal composition Crude ADU steam ADU S1 steam ADU S2 steam ADU S3 steam PF steam VDU steam Naphtha 
– m ^{3} /d kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h kg/h m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d m ^{3} /d M$/a M$/a M$/a M$/a M$/a – M$/a 
0.2 (Nigeria) 
0.7 (Nigeria) 
0.2 (Araby) 

21732.3 
23677.8 
20800.9 

7027.1 
8479.5 
5439.6 

1496.8 
2539.8 
1496.6 

453.5 
1247.3 
453.5 

362.9 
635.0 
362.9 

3628.7 
3628.7 
3628.7 

9071.8 
9071.8 
9071.8 

5326.2 
4769.7 
4769.7 

H. 
naphtha 
1271.9 
1271.9 
1271.9 

Kerosene Diesel AGO LVGO HVGO Residue Total annual feed cost Income (annual) Total annual cost (objective function) Total annual proﬁt Maximum annual proﬁt Composition corresponding to maximum proﬁt Total annual cost corresponding to above composition 
3139.8 
4330.6 
3037.4 

3179.8 
3179.8 
2384.9 

1351.4 
1351.4 
1351.4 

4047.0 
3405.0 
3765.9 

2751.6 
2702.8 
2702.8 

205.9 
2358.7 
882.9 

4990.2 
5437 
4776.3 

5741 
6151.1 
5353.4 

13.4 
15.3 
13.5 

737.4 
698.7 
563.5 

865.9 
797.8 
563.5 

0.9 (Nigeria) 
0.9 (Nigeria) 
0.2 (Araby) 

16.1 
16.0 
13.5 
Table 13 – Optimal column variables for the case study with binary crudes and with product ﬂow rate constraints. 

BombayNigeria 
ArabyNigeria 
ArabyBombay 

Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 
Preﬂash 
ADU 
VDU 

Optimal composition Reﬂux ratio Condenser heat duty (MW) Column diameter (m) Furnace heat duty (MW) Pump1 around duty (MW) Pump2 around duty (MW) Condenser area (m ^{2} ) Furnace area (m ^{2} ) Heat exchangers cap. cost (M$) Column vessel cap. cost (M$) Energy cost (M$) Capital cost (M$) 
0.2 (Nigeria) 
0.7 (Nigeria) 
0.2 (Araby) 

0.4 
0.8 
1.1 
0.4 
3.5 
1.2 
0.4 
1.0 
1.1 

34.8 
15.2 
0.0 
30.1 
29.5 
0.0 
31.2 
15.7 
0.0 

4.9 
13.1 
15.4 
4.2 
23.4 
14.8 
4.6 
10.9 
15.8 

84.5 
64.7 
33.8 
88.4 
75.4 
34.2 
80.0 
66.3 
35.6 

0.0 
24.4 
21.2 
0.0 
27.8 
17.3 
0.0 
36.3 
20.1 

0.0 
15.2 
22.0 
0.0 
19.0 
23.4 
0.0 
14.4 
24.9 

2931.2 
1282.3 
0.0 
2533.5 
2487.5 
0.0 
2627.3 
1321.8 
0.0 

4257.1 
3258.6 
1706.1 
4453.9 
3801.4 
1724.7 
4034.9 
3341.6 
1794.3 

2.98 
2.17 
0.92 
2.91 
2.72 
0.93 
2.83 
2.20 
0.95 

0.47 
2.81 
1.06 
0.41 
5.23 
1.02 
0.44 
2.31 
1.10 

9.95 
10.88 
10.23 

10.40 
13.22 
9.83 
Fig. 11 – Variation of total annual proﬁt with binary crude volume fractions for all cases with product ﬂow rate constraints (NB: Nigeria crude in a mixture of NigeriaBombay crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of NigeriaAraby crudes; BA: Bombay crude in a mixture of BombayAraby crudes).
lowed by 797.8 M$ for 0.9 Nigeria crude in ArabyNigeria crude and 563.5 M$ for 0.2 Araby in ArabyBombay crude.
(b) 
The optimal column equivalent diameters for the opti mal compositions that yielded minimum rawmaterials and energy cost indicate preﬂash equivalent diameters of 4.2–4.9m; atmospheric distillation column diameters of 10.9–23.4m; vacuum column equivalent diameters of 
14.8–15.8m. 

(c) 
The variation of column equivalent diameters with the volume fraction of various crudes in binary systems indi cates that atmospheric distillation column equivalent diameter is the most sensitive amongst all diameters. These atmospheric distillation column diameters are observed to be quite different from those obtained for similar cases without any product ﬂow rate speciﬁcation constraints. In other words, product ﬂow rate speci ﬁcation constraints enable tighter optimization model formulation that tightens crude feed ﬂow rate and hence the diameters of the atmospheric distillation column. 
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
133
Fig. 12 – Variation of optimal crude feed ﬂow rate with volume fraction of various crudes in binary crudes corresponding to optimization cases with product ﬂow rate constraints (AB: Araby crude in a mixture of ArabyBombay crudes; NB: Nigeria crude in a mixture of NigeriaBombay crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of NigeriaAraby crudes).
Fig. 13 – Total optimal steam consumption for various single and binary crudes (optimal composition).
(d) 
The optimal reﬂuxratios varied as follows: preﬂash 0.4; atmospheric distillation column 0.8–3.5 and vacuum col umn 1.1–1.2. 
(e) 
Unlike cases reported earlier in this work, the crude stream feed ﬂow rate was observed to be signiﬁcantly inﬂuenced with the volume fraction of various crudes in the binary crude mixtures and indicated various nonlinear trends (Fig. 12). These trends have been found to be in accordance with the crude assays. 
4.3. Total utility consumption
Fig. 13 illustrates the total optimal utility consumption for both single and binarycrudes (optimal composition) with and without product ﬂow rate constraints. As shown in the ﬁgure, the total optimal steam consumption of the CDU sys tem without product ﬂow rate constraints corresponded to 20,393–25,617 kg/h for both single and binary crudes (with optimal composition). For all cases where product ﬂow rate constraints have been additionally imposed, the total optimal steam consumption varied between 18,183 and 25,601 kg/h for all crudes. Based on these observations it is hereby inferred
that for all cases with product ﬂow rate constraints, the total utility consumption has been equal to or lower than those obtained without product ﬂow rate constraints. These obser vations further conﬁrm that it is difﬁcult to judge upon the role of product ﬂow rate constraints due to the difﬁculty in assess ing the quality of the solutions to be either local or global.
5.
Conclusions
This work presented the impact of the feed choice on the optimality of grassroot design of crude distillation system comprising of a preﬂash, atmospheric distillation column and a vacuum column. The case study chosen constitutes a basic representation of all columns with modest number of theoretical stages and pumparounds for the columns. Var ious case studies indicate that always gross proﬁt shall be regarded as the objective function rather than rawmaterials and energy cost, as the later could ignore design variable envelopes that provide maximum proﬁt, an objective that is very much desired by industrial petroleum reﬁneries. Case study speciﬁc inferences are presented as follows.
(a) 
For all cases other than the case of single crudes with prod uct ﬂow rate constraints, Bombay crude provided highest proﬁts followed by Nigeria crude and Araby crude. 
(b) 
For all binary crude systems, BombayNigeria crude char acterized with similar crude assay yielded good sets of optimal results. 
(c) 
The optimal crude feed ﬂow rate to the distillation sys tem was evaluated to be around 23,849m ^{3} /d for most of the cases without product ﬂow rate constraints (including binary crudes) and varied between 20,801 and 32,802m ^{3} /d for all cases with product ﬂow rate constraints. A stronger impact of product ﬂow rate constraints on the crude feed stream ﬂow rate has been observed. 
(d) 
Overall process economy dominated the cost of reﬁning while the capital and operating costs do not contribute more than 2% of the overall proﬁt margins of the reﬁn ery system. These observations are in strong agreement with the general trends associated with the reﬁnery operation. 
As far as Aspen Plus is concerned, the case studies further inferred that Aspen Plus is not suitable to conduct process optimization that involves both continuous and binary vari ables (such as pump around location, feed stream location and side stream location, etc). Even for the case of binary crude systems, it has been observed that initialization has been extremely difﬁcult for all problems, and much difﬁcult prepo sition has been posed by cases that have additional product ﬂow rate constraints. Based on the case studies considered, it has been inferred that the case of product ﬂow rate constraints accomplishes higher nonlinear complexity of the grassroot design prob lems. While equivalent diameters obtained in this work appear to be naive for an industrial design, the major purpose of evaluating the impact of crude quality and composition on process performance has been achieved in this work. These inferences along with design data indicated in this work is anticipated to serve as a supplement to understand the per formance characteristics of the grassroot design of crude distillation units involving processing with binary crude sys tems.
134
chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134
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