Special Focus: Process Control and Information Systems

Optimize a CDU using process simulation and statistical modeling methods
Bird, J., Seillier, D., Piazza, E., Valero Energy Corp.

A methodology was implemented to optimize the operation of a refinery crude distillation unit (CDU) using a combination of process simulation and statistical modeling methods.

The history, and possible future, of model-less multivariable control
Kern, A., Lin & Associates

Terms such as “model-less,” “small-matrix” and “operational” do not, as yet, evoke the same excitement that accompanied the historic arrival of model-based predictive multivariable control three decades ago.

Use process knowledge management systems to accelerate innovation
Hall, S., Process Systems Enterprise; Mahoney, P., Ambition Partner

The amount of stored digital data is doubling every two years, and the rate of data acquisition is close to exceeding our ability to process it and sort out what is valuable.

Measure naturally occurring radioactive material in polypropylene plants
Williams, D., VEGA Americas Inc.

In the petrochemical industry, process plants often rely on radiation-based level and density detectors.

Process Engineering and Optimization

Build a diesel fuel performance additive, the right way—Part 1
Pipenger, G. G., Amalgamated, Inc.

Many diesel fuel additive companies in North America supply different additive products formulated for diesel-powered equipment.

Remove sulfur and nitrogen from liquid hydrocarbons with absorption process
Litz, K., Edison, K., Rankin, J., Auterra Inc.

Adsorption is a well-known and simple separation technique finding application in water treatment, specialty chemicals production, gas separation and removal of trace impurities.

The effect of various parameters on tray point efficiency
Kasiri, N., Jouybanpour, P., Iran University of Science and Technology; Reza Ehsani, M., Isfahan University of Technology

Distillation as a volatilities-based process is used to separate components of a mixture to a liquid phase richer in less volatile components, and a vapor phase richer in more volatile components.

Maintenance and Reliability

Monitor medium-voltage switchgear in refineries
Murray, J., Emerson Process Management

When medium-voltage switchgear (MVS) in a refinery fails, it can force a process unit or even an entire refinery to shut down.

Process Control and Instrumentation

Lessons learned in commercial scale-up of new chemical processes
Jazayeri, B., Reacxion

Commercializing a new chemical process can be as simple as installing one or more homogenous batch reactor(s), or as complex as designing a fully integrated chemical complex requiring one or more heterogeneous reaction steps processing gas, liquid and/or solids, with other units required to prepare feeds, recover products/byproducts and recycle streams.

Use dynamic simulation to maximize plant operating performance
Alós, M. A., Inprocess Technology and Consulting Group

The oil and gas industry has witnessed seismic downward shifts in barrel prices and uplifts in market competitiveness.


Editorial Comment: The 2016 Top Project award nominees are out!
Nichols, L., Hydrocarbon Processing

It’s that time again! Hydrocarbon Processing has announced the nominees for its annual Top Project awards.

Reliability: Reassess and redirect your approach to a long-term career
Bloch, H. P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

It was not too long ago that a prospective employee could expect a 30-year career within an oil refinery or a petrochemical plant.

Automation Strategies: Identify challenges in alarm management
O'Brien, L., ARC Advisory Group

ARC Advisory Group recently conducted a survey on practices and trends in alarm management in the process industries.

Project Management: Global trends in energy savings: Are emerging technologies the solution?
Hutton, D., Gómez-Prado, J., KBC Advanced Technologies

Despite low energy prices, energy conservation continues to be an important component of business strategy in the oil refining and chemical industries.

Codes and Standards: Overcome technical difficulties in field pumps ordered to API 610/ISO 13709
Murti, D. G., The Augustus Group

The continued objective of this column series is to increase awareness of code requirements, interpretations and limitations as they stand today, and the options available to engineers for “alternative engineering.”

Viewpoint: New challenges demand innovative solutions
Liebert, R., Honeywell UOP

As the industry works through the most volatile conditions in more than a generation, refiners are facing several challenges that will define the industry in the next decade.

Industry Perspectives: What is the future of the downstream HPI?

What is the state of downstream processing capacity?

Business Trends: Global refining overview—Part 2
Nichols, L., Hydrocarbon Processing

Hydrocarbon Processing continues its series on the global refining industry.

Industry Metrics
Rhodes, Michael, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

US gasoline demand contributed to falling inventories. Operational problems at several refineries and the potential impact of a tropical storm strengthened margins.

Global Project Data
Nichols, L., Hydrocarbon Processing

New project announcements have hovered in the low teens for several months.

Andrew, Bob, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Where large machines are in use and the overall processes depend on a smoothly functioning plant, companies often rely on fixed maintenance schedules and diagnostic tools.

Rhodes, Michael, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Dr. Christoph Wegner will become president of BASF’s Information Services and Supply Chain Operations division, effective December 1, 2016.