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Global Energy Targets and Optimal Operating Conditions for Waste Energy Recovery in Bisphenol-A Plant

Global Energy Targets and Optimal Operating Conditions for Waste Energy Recovery in Bisphenol-A Plant

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Global energy targets and optimal operating conditionsfor waste energy recovery in Bisphenol-A plant
M.B. Noureldin
, A.K. Hasan
Department of Materials and Process Engineering, The University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand 
Received 24 December 2004; accepted 23 June 2005Available online 19 August 2005
The worldwide increase in energy demands and the uncertainty of future energy costs make energy conservation a major elementin controlling operating costs of any chemical process. This paper presents new opportunities for energy saving inside Bisphenol-A(BPA) plant through the optimal selection of process operating temperatures that enhance plant
s energy recovery system. Theseoptimal operational modifications are systematically selected from a set of allowable process operating conditions without enumer-ation using novel interval constraint satisfaction model-based software called TEM_icons
. The paper shows that simple in-pro-cess modifications for the sake of energy utilities saving in an actual BPA industrial facility can result in more than 17% saving in hotutility consumption.
2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Operational optimization; Heat integration; Bisphenol-A; TEM_icons
; Interval constraint satisfaction; Constraint logic propagation
1. Introduction
BPA is a very important raw material for plasticindustry. Its production is an energy intensive process.Keeping the BPA energy consumption bill under controlneeds more aggressive energy recovery schemes than juststraightforward heat integration via in-process modifica-tions that enhance the waste energy recovery. Manymethods and tools for analyzing the energy dimensionin industrial chemical plants have been developed duringthe last two decades. These methods used mainly math-ematical programming and pinch technology to deter-mine the optimal process conditions that result inefficient use of energy in chemical process industries.Two main challenges face the industrial community inadopting these methods. The first challenge is relatedto the plant-wide model development time and cost aswell as the combinatorial nature of the customizedfull-scale model of a real industrial facility. The secondone is the need to search the space of all possibilitiesin process operating conditions modifications withoutexhaustive enumeration and without using heuristicsthat render sub-optimal solution. Furthermore the lackof a systematic technique to rigorously quantify the po-tential benefits, in energy saving due to in-process mod-ifications, does not help justify the decision for veryinvolved energy study.This paper addresses these two challenges system-atically using new interval constraint satisfaction-based technology known as TEM_icons
. It alsodemonstrates that significant energy saving can berealized in BPA plants through optimal in-processmodifications.
1359-4311/$ - see front matter
2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2005.06.017
Corresponding author. Tel.: +64 7 8384466x6795; fax: +64 78384835.
E-mail address:
bahy@waikato.ac.nz(M.B. Noureldin).www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermengApplied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 374–381
2. Background of energy efficiency optimizationmethods and tools
 2.1. State-of-the-art in energy integration
State-of-the-art energy integration research throughthe late 1980s has been reviewed[1]. Much work hasbeen done on energy integration since then, but it haslacked the ‘‘break through’’ influence of research donein the late seventies and the eighties[2–4]. This is espe-cially true for commercial software development, wherepinch technology is still the technique most widely usedfor energy integration applications.Mixed-integer linear and non-linear programming(MILP and MINLP) have been extensively used in aca-demic software packages[5–9]. These MILP andMINLP are now being incorporated in some commer-cial packages. Such widely used energy integration soft-ware packages include HX-NET by Hyprotech (recentlyacquired by AspenTech), SUPERTARGET by Linnhoff March (recently acquired by KBC) and HEXTRAN bySimulation Science Inc. (acquired by Foxboro, Inc.). Ingeneral, these packages lack an embedded user-friendlysystematic tool to automatically include all possible pro-cess parametric and structural modifications. They alsolack the ability to automatically include the energy sys-tem
s operability requirements, which are necessary todefine optimal design and operation of any energy sys-tem during the targeting phase[10,11].
 2.2. Pinch technology and the optimization of processoperating conditions
Linnhoff and Vredeveld introduced the term PinchTechnology in the early eighties of the last century[12]. A number of basic principles and tools were thenadded and have become the foundation of Pinchtechnology.A general strategy for process modifications wasestablished by Linnhoff and Vredeveld[12]. It was re-ferred to as the
principle. That means to in-crease ‘‘plus’’ heat available above Pinch and/or heatdemand below Pinch or to reduce ‘‘minus’’ heat demandabove Pinch and/or heat available below Pinch. It hasalso been proposed to change temperatures across thepinch that will shift heat duties from one part of the pro-cess to the other that is often possible. This principle issimply treated, as the ultimate tool that provides a def-inite reference for any adjustment in process heat dutiesand indicates which process modification would be ben-eficial or detrimental. The problem with this principle isthat it fails in some specific cases as shown by the authorin another paper[13]due to the change in pinch locationupon process modifications. Besides, it needs enumera-tion to select best set of operating conditions that canbe beneficial to the plant
s energy problem. This taskcan become impossible in huge chemical complex wherethe number of alternatives is enormous.
 2.3. TEM_ICONS 
software at a glance
is an interval constraint satisfaction-based software. It contains unique capability for opti-mal energy systems targeting and design. It is the firstuser-friendly software and up to our knowledge is theonly one that can globally calculate, without exhaustiveenumeration, energy utility targets under all possiblecombinations of process parametric and structural mod-ifications. It can also: (1) rigorously calculate these tar-gets under all known possible combinations of processdisturbances and uncertainties, and (2) define the opti-mal process conditions so that optimal utility consump-tion can be specified. It globally solves the minmin andmaxmax energy problems for industrial applications[14]. Solving these two problems gives the global mini-mum and maximum heating and cooling utilities forany plant. These global energy targets often are not at-tained together due to the fact that the process condi-tions that lead to the global minimum in heatingutility are not the same one that lead to the global min-imum cooling utilities. TEM_icons
like any othermodern window-based software uses the main bar of the opening window to select the task to be imple-mented. Double clicking the flow task in the main barleads to the software main window. This window con-sists of four sub-templates named flow, network vari-ables, ROMC (region of minimum choice) and utilitieswith and without integration. The first two of these foursub-templates are used for process conditions input datadisplay and the second two are used for the calculateddata display.The flow sub-template is used to display the processdata entered through an interactive window named flow.After the fill-in-the-space task of such input template,the flow sub-template displays all the process streamsassociated with its names, types, lower values of the sup-ply and target temperatures and the upper values of thesupply and target temperatures, status of the streams(active or in-active) and the streams flow-specific heatvalues. The network variables sub-template displaysthe desired minimum temperature difference betweenthe hot streams to be cooled and the cold streams tobe heated and the desired level of accuracy in tempera-ture. The calculated values of global minimum heatingand cooling utilities and the lower and upper values of pinch temperature region are displayed respectively inthe two sub-templates named utilities with and withoutintegration and the ROMC. Upon entering all the pro-cess conditions, in form of intervals, and specifyingthe desired temperature accuracy as well as the hotand cold streams minimum temperature difference, theglobal energy consumption values will be calculated
M.B. Noureldin, A.K. Hasan / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 374–381
and displayed in the utilities sub-template in form of intervals. If the problem under such given process condi-tions exhibits ‘‘pinch region’’, the boundaries of this re-gion (lower and upper bound) on a temperature scalewill be displayed in the ROMC sub-template.To specify the exact process conditions that result indesired global minimum heating or cooling utility con-sumption, the desired utility objective is double-clickedand the process conditions leading to the selected objec-tive target is automatically calculated and displayed, inform of collapsed intervals, in the flow sub-template[15].
3. Problem statement
‘‘Given an industrial BPA plant that consists of sev-eral processing units, determine systematically (i) theglobal minimum of energy consumption for both heat-ing and cooling utilities under all possible combinationof allowed process operating conditions modificationsand (ii) the set of process conditions that render desiredenergy consumption scenario(s) without exhaustiveenumeration’’.
4. Solution methodology
Develop an energy path model for the BPA plantwith all possible combinations of process modificationsin a constraint logic propagation environment withinterval solver. This step helps capturing the effect of process streams interactions on the interval values of streams flow specific heats and supply and targettemperatures due to process disturbances. This stepcan be avoided via obtaining the list of the allowedin-process modifications for the sake of energy savingfrom the BPA process owners. Define the globaltarget/theoretical benchmark for minimum and maxi-mum energy consumptions under interval-based processconditions. Find the process solution that achieves adesired energy consumption target via setting up thedesired energy consumption target(s) and screeningthe interval-based process conditions that result in thedesired energy consumption target. These proceduresare formulated, automatically generated and imple-mented in the novel TEM_icons
software environ-ment[15].The questions addressed in this paper are (1) Whatare the global minima for both heating and coolingutilities in a real BPA plant via allowing set(s) of in-process conditions modification? and (2) What are thevalues of these process conditions that will enable usrealize these minima or at least one global minimumof an objective subject to a local minimum of the otherobjective?Applying the interval constraint satisfaction-baseduser-friendly TEM_icons
software for the BPA plantthe above questions are answered systematically andwithout enumeration.
4.1. BPA process description overview
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an important intermediate usedmainly in the manufacturing of polycarbonates andepoxy resins. Polycarbonate is the largest and the fastestgrowing market for BPA, accounting for about 60% of the world demand. The second largest end user (about30%) for bisphenol-A is epoxy resins. Approximately10% of BPA consumption goes into various specialtyapplications such as flame-retardants, unsaturated poly-ester resins, polysulfone resins, polyetherimides, polyac-rylates, etc.Acetone reaction with fresh and recycle phenol in acatalytic stripping reactor utilizing ion exchange resinas catalyst renders BPA. The outlet reaction mixtureconsisting of un-reacted phenol and saturated withBPA is essentially free of acetone and contains verylow levels of water and impurities. This mixture flows di-rectly to the crystallization section where BPA adductcrystals are obtained. Adduct crystals are melted anddistilled under vacuum to produce raw BPA. Un-reactedacetone, water and some phenol are separated from thisreaction mixture. The acetone is recycled to BPA reac-tor, the water is efficiently discharged, and the phenolis purified by distillation and mixed with fresh feed phe-nol. Alternate devices to form shapes such as flakes andpellets solidify the molten BPA. The solidified BPA isconveyed to bagging and storage facilities. The motherliquor containing impurities, phenol and dissolvedBPA is mostly recycled to the BPA reactor. Part of themother liquor is sent to the purge recovery system wherethese impurities are partially decomposed and recom-bined to form BPA. The effluents are mixed with themother liquor and recycled to the BPA reactor. Theundesirable impurities are condensed at the purge recov-ery system and discharged as tarry materials that can beused as fuel. The optimal purge ratio from the motherliquor is determined to control the product quality whilekeeping the consumption of raw materials low.
4.2. BPA process data extraction for energyconsumption analysis
The BPA plant studied in this paper consists of 22 hotand 15 cold streams as shown inFig. 1.These streams are described in details inTable 1. Such streams arethe ones allowed to be included in our heat integrationstudy by the BPA process owners using the new tech-nique presented earlier. The heating and cooling require-ments are tabulated including identifications andcompositions.
M.B. Noureldin, A.K. Hasan / Applied Thermal Engineering 26 (2006) 374–381

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