October 2007

Special Report: Process Control and Information Systems

Model-free adaptive control technology enables ethylene quench water pH control

PetroChina has improved ethylene production efficiency and plant safety

Cheng, G., CyboSoft; Gao, F., Wang, L.-Z., PetroChina

In an ethylene plant, hydrocarbon feedstock is cracked at a high temperature to produce ethylene and pyrolysis gasoline (py-gas) as a byproduct. The py-gas consists of a mixture of light hydrocarbons and is processed further through a quench water process, downstream compressors and distilled processes. In the quench water tower, gases are cooled by direct contact with the quench water. At the bottom of the tower, the condensed gas is separated from the water and pumped away. By direct contact with the gases, the quench water becomes contaminated. Py-gas in the quench water is a problem area for most ethylene producers since it can cause emulsion making the separation more difficult, in ad

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