Equinox… A Balanced Perspective

TACIT

Refineries adopt simulation enabled business process for Pre-Heat Train (PHT) performance monitoring.Reduce energy and capacity loss due to fouling by up to 10 percent!!

With rising energy costs and tighter environmental norms, refineries are placing renewed focus on energy-reduction projects. For a refiner, the crude preheat provides one of the largest potential energy savings focal points, simply because the crude unit processes the highest feed rates and sees the greatest temperature change. Another benefit of having a thorough understanding of the crude preheat through monitoring is added confidence in both the data and unit capability, which brings flexibility. For example, it has been proven that continuous monitoring of pre-heat train performance not only adds to the flexibility of crude selection but also results in extended run length of the unit.

TACITTM allows Technical Services personnel to prioritizeexchangercleaning to sustain optimal heat transfer. As a result, facilities can reduce energy and capacity loss due to fouling by up to 10 percent. For a 250,000-barrel-per-day refinery (~ 10 Million Tons Per Annum), that could mean a savings of as much as $3.5 million or more annually across all process units.

Seldom, a right business process coupled with an economic criterion is embedded in any operational decision making. Or only a cursory look is given to the economic impact assessment of the technical decision. Or worse engineers leave the economic impact assessment to their Finance department!!

The business value of TACITTM, lies in putting together a business process, information technology application and embedding of plant economics into the decision making. The new approach was tested on a set of past decisions to check if the decision makers would have arrived at a different decision, had they used this approach. And the decision makers were awe-struck to see the accuracy of the analysis and the range of options presented by the new approach.

Fig. 1.0 gives a list of candidate exchangers, for cleaning based on their current level of fouling. It clearly shows that E113, E118AB, E120, E119 and even E116AB are all probable/potential candidates to be taken up for cleaning.

Fig 1.0: Graph showing % fouling over the clean case

However, once the economic criterion is superimposed, then the picture changes. This is shown in Fig. 2.0, which unequivocally throws E113 as the candidate exchanger for cleaning in this round

Fig 2.0: Graph showing the potential savings from cleaning of an exchanger

 

 

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