July 1998

Instrumentation/Economics

Reduce acid usage on alkylation unit

A refiner installs an online acid analyzer and achieves payback within one month

Valentine, J., Emerson Process Management; Jackhete, R., Jensen, B., Mickelson, J., Sunoco Mid America Marketing and Refining

The largest controllable operating expense for a sulfuric acid alkylation unit is fresh acid make-up cost. Sunoco Mid America Marketing and Refining operates a mid-sized refinery in Toledo, Ohio (130,000 bpsd). Annual acid cost for this facility exceeded millions of dollars; any demonstrated acid savings would significantly reduce operating expenses for this refinery. In conjunction with an advanced process control project for the alkylation unit, Sun evaluated how to improve fresh acid make-up. Two options were possible: 1) the operators could intermittently monitor the spent acid strength or 2) the refiner could install an inline multivariable predictive controller. In th

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