June 2007

Special Report: Process/Plant Optimization

Control optimization saves money in distillation

A control system simulation with an air-cooled condenser demonstrates a method to reduce operating costs

Buzzetta, P., Hall, J., Heider, R., Department of Chemical Engineering

Recent energy price increases have brought the importance of distillation energy use back into the spotlight. Distillation has been found to be the major energy consumer and largest source of energy and energy losses in a recent analysis.1 Processes with high energy usage are vulnerable to increasing and fluctuating energy costs. The 2006 Annual Energy Outlook from the US Department of Energy projected that oil prices will increase nearly 50% within 30 years. Energy efficiency is key to holding a stable and competitive edge in production. Control strategies that minimize energy usage should be used when possible. Shinskey introduced a technique for energy reduction using air condensers in

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