February 2017

Process Optimization

Use the right model to unlock utility system potential

Although we have entered a new era of low energy prices, energy still represents one of the largest, but most easily managed, operating costs in the hydrocarbon industries.

Gómez-Prado, J., Hutton, D., KBC Process Technology Ltd.

Although we have entered a new era of low energy prices, energy still represents one of the largest, but most easily managed, operating costs in the hydrocarbon industries. In oil refining and petrochemicals, the use of steam, fuel and power typically accounts for a significant part of the operating cost. However, the potential economic benefits that follow from correct operation of the utility system are often unclear. For example, in olefin plants, the cracking furnaces are the primary energy users and typically receive most of the focus in energy performance improvement studies. However, furnaces account for only about 5% of the energy performance gap (FIG. 1). Almost half of the gap is

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