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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 8 8 (2010) 121–134

engineering research and design 8 8 (2 010) 121–134 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Chemical

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Chemical Engineering Research and Design

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/cherd

and Design journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/cherd Optimization of crude distillation system using aspen plus:
and Design journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/cherd Optimization of crude distillation system using aspen plus:

Optimization of crude distillation system using aspen plus:

Effect of binary feed selection on grass-root 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 grass-root 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 pre-flash 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 raw-materials 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; Pre-flash; Vacuum distillation; Aspen Plus; Product flow rate; Feed selection; Grass-root

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 pre-flash 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; Göthe-Lundgren 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. E-mail 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

0263-8762/$ – 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

Nomenclature A A c A f C a,e C a,p C a,r C annualization factor
Nomenclature
A
A
c
A
f
C
a,e
C
a,p
C
a,r
C
annualization factor for process equipments
(a −1 )
heat transfer area of the condenser (m 2 )
heat transfer area of the furnace (m 2 )
annualized cost of energy ($/a)
annualized cost of products ($/a)
annualized cost of all raw-materials ($/a)
cost of crude ($/m 3 )
c
C D product value of diesel & atmospheric gas oil
($/m 3 )
C
e
C
energy cost ($/kJ)
fixed cost of all process equipments ($)
f
C f,a fixed cost of atmospheric distillation column ($)
C
f,ac
C
f,af
C
f,c
C
f,d
C
f,f
C
f,p
C
f,pc
C
f,pf
C
fixed cost of condenser in atmospheric distilla-
tion column ($)
fixed cost of atmospheric distillation column
furnace ($)
fixed cost of the condenser ($)
fixed cost of the distillation column ($)
fixed cost of the furnace ($)
fixed cost of pre-flash column ($)
fixed cost of pre-flash condenser ($)
fixed cost of pre-flash process furnace ($)
fixed cost of vacuum column ($)
f,v
C f,vf fixed cost of vacuum unit furnace ($)
C
product value of kerosene ($/m 3 )
K
C N product value of naphtha and heavy naphtha
C
R
C
s
C
V
($/m 3 )
product value of residue ($/m 3 )
cost of steam ($/kg)
product value of light vacuum gas oil, heavy
vacuum gas oil ($/m 3 )
D
F
c
F
s,a
F
s,p
F
s,s1
F
s,s2
F
diameter of the distillation column (m)
crude flow rate (m 3 /a)
steam flow rate into the atmospheric crude dis-
tillation unit (kg/a)
steam flow rate into the pre-flash tower (kg/a)
steam flow rate into stripper-1 (kg/a)
steam flow rate into stripper-2 (kg/a)
steam flow rate into stripper-3 (kg/a)
s,s3
F s,v steam flow rate into the vacuum distillation
unit (kg/a)
G
annualized gross profit ($/a)
L
length of the distillation column (m)
n
years of operation (a)
N
P
A
P
D
P
H
P
HN
P
K
P
L
P
N
P
R
Q c
Q c,a
Q c,p
number of stages in the distillation column
AGO flow rate (m 3 /a)
diesel flow rate (m 3 /a)
HVGO flow rate (m 3 /a)
heavy naphtha flow rate (m 3 /a)
kerosene flow rate (m 3 /a)
LVGO flow rate (m 3 /a)
naphtha flow rate (m 3 /a)
residue flow rate (m 3 /a)
condenser duty (kW)
ADU condenser heat duty (kJ/a)
pre-flash condenser heat duty (kJ/a)
furnace duty (kW)
Q f
Q f,a atmospheric distillation column furnace duty
(kJ/a)

Q f,p

pre-flash furnace duty (kJ/a)

Q f,v

vacuum column furnace duty (kJ/a)

Q p1,a

ADU pump-1 around duty (kJ/a)

Q p1,v

VDU pump-1 around duty (kJ/a)

Q p2,a

ADU pump-2 around duty (kJ/a)

Q p2,v

VDU pump-2 around duty (kJ/a)

r

rate of annual interest

R

annualized raw-materials 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 multi-objective 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 non-linear 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 grass-root 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 trade-offs. 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 non-linearities in mod- eling expressions. Therefore, a thorough investigation upon the effect of binary feed selection on grass-root 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

engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134 123 Fig. 1 – True boiling point (TBP)

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

engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134 Fig. 2 – Process Block Diagram for CDU

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)

Trade-offs associated to raw-materials 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 pre-flash 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. Pre-flash tower

Crude stream sent to pre-flash furnace undergoes partial vaporization. The furnace operating pressure and tempera- ture are taken as 345 kPa and 232 C. The pre-flash 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 pre-flash 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 pre-flash 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

Pre-flash 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 pump-around 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 pump-around 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 off-gas, 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 pump-around 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 grass-root 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 grass-root 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, pre-flash 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 pre-flash, ADU, strippers S1-3 and VDU and crude feed flow rate have been specified between a valid lower and upper bound. All other variables have been treated as non-negative 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) Stripper-1 steam (kg/h) Stripper-2 steam (kg/h) Stripper-3 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

126

chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134

Table 4 – Upper bounds for the flow-rates of different products for various single and binary crude choices.

 
 

Units

Bombay

Araby

Nigeria

Araby-Bombay

Araby-Nigeria

Bombay-Nigeria

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 ) 0.65

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 ) 0.65

Distillation columns

L

(m)

0.73N

C

f,d ($)

17640D 1.066 L 0.802

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 (raw-materials 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,s1 + F s,s2 + F s,s3 + F s,v )

(1)

C a,e = C e (Q c,p + Q c,a + Q p1,a + Q p2,a + Q p1,v + Q p2,v + Q f,p

+ Q f,a + Q f,v )

(2)

C a,p = C N (P N + P HN ) + 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 (pre-flash, atmospheric distillation column and vacuum column), condensers (pre- flash and atmospheric distillation column condensers) and furnaces (associated to pre-flash, 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 S-1 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 S-2 steam ADU S-3 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

 

Pre-flash

ADU

VDU

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Reflux ratio Condenser heat duty (MW) Column diameter (m) Furnace heat duty (MW) Pump-1 around duty (MW) Pump-2 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 raw-materials 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 raw-materials 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 in-built sequential quadratic programming (SQP) solver in the Aspen Plus environment (version 12) (ATAP, 2009). SQP method is a typical non-linear 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.

been provided based on the expertise in process simulation. Fig. 3 – Variation of CDU total

Fig. 3 – Variation of CDU total annual cost and profit for various single crudes without product flow rate constraints.

single crudes without product flow rate constraints. Fig. 4 – Contributions of various key cost functions

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

Bombay-Nigeria

Araby-Nigeria

Araby-Bombay

Optimal composition Crude ADU steam ADU S-1 steam ADU S-2 steam ADU S-3 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 Bombay-Nigeria, Nigeria-Araby and Araby-Bombay 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 Bombay-Nigeria, Nigeria-Araby and

M$ for Nigeria crude and 227.4 M$ for Araby crude (Fig. 3).

Araby-Bombay 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.

 

Bombay-Nigeria

 

Araby-Nigeria

 

Araby-Bombay

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Reflux ratio Condenser heat duty (MW) Column diameter (m) Furnace heat duty (MW) Pump-1 around duty (MW) Pump-2 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 S-1 steam ADU S-2 steam ADU S-3 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

6384.9 12.9 14.0 16.0 224.7 753.7 892.9 Fig. 5 – Comparison of diameters of various units

Fig. 5 – Comparison of diameters of various units for different single crudes.

(c) Optimal pre-flash 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 forty-one stages and three pump-around 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 trade-offs between column height and diameter. Therefore, considering these trade-offs, 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: Pre-flash 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) Pump-1 around duty (MW) Pump-2 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

engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134 Fig. 6 – Variation of diameter of different

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 Araby-Bombay 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 Bombay-Nigeria 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 Nigeria-Araby 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 raw-materials and energy cost of the CDU system as also indicated in the table.

cost of the CDU system as also indicated in the table. Fig. 7 – Variation of

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 Bombay-Nigeria crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria-Araby crudes; BA: Bombay crude in a mixture of Bombay-Araby crudes).

(b) As illustrated in Fig. 6a, the grass-root designs of the CDU for Nigeria-Bombay crudes adopted different equiv- alent diameter profiles with respect to volume fractions for various binary crude systems. Low pre-flash 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 Nigeria-Bombay crude system. However, lower atmospheric column equivalent diameters followed by vacuum unit diameters and then the pre-flash unit equivalent diameters is indicated for the Araby-Nigeria 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 Araby-Bombay crude system (Fig. 6c). These observations are analyzed to be consistent with the binary crude-assay data generated for various binary sys- tems. In addition, equivalent diameter sensitivity was observed to be more predominant for Araby-Bombay and Araby-Nigeria crude systems, both that feature lighter and heavier crude combinations. The Araby-Nigeria crude involved maximum equivalent diameters for the pre-flash

involved maximum equivalent diameters for the pre-flash Fig. 8 – Variation of optimal crude feed flow

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 Bombay-Nigeria crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria-Araby crudes; BA: Bombay crude in a mixture of Bombay-Araby crudes).

chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134

131

engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134 131 Fig. 9 – Variation of total annual

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 Nigeria-Bombay and Araby-Bombay 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: pre-flash 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 raw-materials 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: pre-flash 0.4; atmospheric distillation column 0.6–7; vacuum column 0.9–1.4.

(d)

Optimal pre-flash 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 Bombay-Nigeria crude requires minimum raw-materials and energy cost of 13.4 M$ followed by 0.2 Araby crude in Araby-Bombay crude (13.5 M$) and 0.7 Nigeria crude in Araby-Nigeria crude (15.3 M$). Incidentally, the maximum annual profit obtained for these cases corresponds to 865.9 M$ for 0.9 Nigeria crude in Bombay-Nigeria crude system fol-

M$ for 0.9 Nigeria crude in Bombay-Nigeria crude system fol- Fig. 10 – Variation of diameter

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 Araby-Bombay 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

Bombay-Nigeria

Araby-Nigeria

Araby-Bombay

Optimal composition Crude ADU steam ADU S-1 steam ADU S-2 steam ADU S-3 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.

 
 

Bombay-Nigeria

 

Araby-Nigeria

 

Araby-Bombay

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Preflash

ADU

VDU

Optimal composition Reflux ratio Condenser heat duty (MW) Column diameter (m) Furnace heat duty (MW) Pump-1 around duty (MW) Pump-2 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

1.10 9.95 10.88 10.23 10.40 13.22 9.83 Fig. 11 – Variation of total annual profit with

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 Nigeria-Bombay crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria-Araby crudes; BA: Bombay crude in a mixture of Bombay-Araby crudes).

lowed by 797.8 M$ for 0.9 Nigeria crude in Araby-Nigeria crude and 563.5 M$ for 0.2 Araby in Araby-Bombay crude.

(b)

The optimal column equivalent diameters for the opti- mal compositions that yielded minimum raw-materials and energy cost indicate pre-flash 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

engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134 133 Fig. 12 – Variation of optimal crude

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 Araby-Bombay crudes; NB: Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria-Bombay crudes; NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria-Araby crudes).

NA: Nigeria crude in a mixture of Nigeria-Araby crudes). Fig. 13 – Total optimal steam consumption

Fig. 13 – Total optimal steam consumption for various single and binary crudes (optimal composition).

(d)

The optimal reflux-ratios varied as follows: pre-flash 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 non-linear 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 binary-crudes (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 grass-root design of crude distillation system comprising of a pre-flash, 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 pump-arounds for the columns. Var- ious case studies indicate that always gross profit shall be regarded as the objective function rather than raw-materials 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, Bombay-Nigeria 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 non-linear complexity of the grass-root 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 grass-root design of crude distillation units involving processing with binary crude sys- tems.

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chemical engineering research and design 8 8 (2010) 121–134

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