Process Optimization

Optimization study in hydrocracker unit using simulation model

Hydrocrackers are key refinery units that convert heavy feed components into valuable lighter products. The profitability of these units is directly related to this conversion level. Conversion reactions take place in a nearly pure hydrogen environment, with the help of selective catalysts, under high pressure and high temperature. The products of the unit are separated in the fractionator section. Unconverted oil taken from the fractionator bottoms reveals the conversion performance of the unit.

A new liquid-phase isomerization process for xylene loop debottleneck and energy savings

Mhatre, S., Warke, V., Reliance Industries Ltd.; Choi, A., Molinier, M., Saple, A., ExxonMobil Chemical Co.

In a typical xylene loop, C8 aromatics are fractionated out of a heavy reformate C8+ aromatics stream and collected in the xylene column overhead. Then, paraxylene (PX) from the C8 aromatics stream is recovered as product—usually by an adsorption or crystallization process—in the PX recovery section.

Can ammonia be a future energy storage solution?

Ammonia is well known as a fertilizer. However, it is also a potential carbon-free fuel and an excellent solution for storage of renewable electricity, especially if the syngas needed for producing the ammonia is made by electrolysis.

Heat Transfer: Designing electric process heater systems for catalytic regeneration

Bartell, P., Valin Corp.

Achieving effective catalyst regeneration requires a process that produces a very high level of heat in a very efficient manner. Over the years, several different approaches have been taken to create this required heat. Traditional steam has been a popular choice, as has heated transfer media. However, these methods have limitations.

Digital: Better maintenance through better data

Eichelberger, N., Accruent

When I talk to professionals in the refining and petrochemical businesses, they are always interested in how new technologies can improve operational efficiency, make plants safer and increase profitability.

Optimization: Steam methane reformer vs. electrolysis technology

Koul, S., Shah, M., Linde Engineering

Hydrogen market demand is forecast to expand. Bulk petrochemicals, ammonia, methanol and gasoline refining consume nearly two-thirds of global hydrogen demand.

Editorial Comment: Honoring the industry’s best … take 2!

Nichols, Lee, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Due to Tropical Storm Imelda, Hydrocarbon Processing issued its first force majeure in postponing the third annual HP Awards.

Improved cooling system performance begins with data

Dalebroux, J., Emerson Automation Solutions; Aleynik, B., Consultant

Refineries consume large amounts of energy and water to refine crude oil into products. Up to 10% of crude oil’s energy content is consumed during processing, and it takes 1.5 bbl of water to process one barrel of crude oil. Refining processes also generate large quantities of excess thermal energy that needs to be expelled into the environment using a once-through or recirculating cooling system.

Use submerged combustion systems to efficiently destroy hazardous plant waste

Predatsch, E., Armstrong, P., Selas-Linde North America

In the production of clean fuels, plastics and other hydrocarbon-based products, refineries and petrochemical facilities generate unwanted (waste) byproducts. Having no market value, the undesired byproducts must be recycled, minimized or eliminated. Depending on the feedstocks, end products and reactant materials, the unwanted materials can be gases, liquids or multiphase materials.

When digital transformation hits all four sustainability buckets

Morse, P., Aspen Technology

Sustainability is emerging as a critical business topic, as many companies focus resources toward lowering emissions, waste and energy use in their production processes. This important concept can apply broadly to company operations, especially when considering the expansive view of the triple bottom line that measures the impact of company operations on profits, people and the planet.