July 1998

Special Report: Fluid Flow

Multivariable control increases coke unit, refinery throughput

A maximization function allowed a 4.1% feed increase

Carrapico, O. L., Petrobas RPBC refinery; Oliveira, L. L., Petrobas headquarters

Besides stabilizing the unit during coke drum warm up and switch, which usually required great effort from the operators, the multivariable controller installed at the Petrobras RPBC coke unit allowed a 4.1% increase in the coke unit throughput. Since the coke units are the bottleneck to the entire refinery capacity, this application increased total refinery throughput. The 4.1% increase was possible without decreasing the coke drums' cycle period. Above the control layer, the multivariable controller has a built-in linear optimization program (LP). If degrees of freedom are available, the LP drives the manipulated variables in the direction that minimizes a cost index, taking the u

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