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Jump Start:

Using Aspen HYSYS Dynamics with Columns


A Brief Tutorial (and supplement to training and online documentation)
Ajay Lakshmanan, Product Management, Aspen Technology, Inc.
Alex Rao, Product Management, Aspen Technology, Inc.

Jump Start: Using Aspen HYSYS Dynamics with Columns

Table of Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Preparing a Steady-State Model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Debutanizer Column Specifics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Development of a Control Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4


Preparation of Flowsheet for Dynamic Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Implementing and Sizing Control Valves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Activating Dynamic Specifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Column Equipment Sizing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Adding and Specifying Controllers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Strip Charts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Execution of Dynamic Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11


Implementing Disturbances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Additional Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

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Introduction
Columns are an integral part of most processes. They are used to separate components in mixtures where the material
exiting columns often have stringent purity and flow constraints to maintain. It is also important to maintain flow through
columns to ensure safety.
For these reasonsand more, control schemes are usually implemented on columns in order to ensure that variables
such as temperature, pressure, and flow at critical points throughout the column remain constant. Control schemes also
help to maintain product purity and flow, ensuring that acceptable materials exit the column.
In order to obtain working simulation for a column in steady-state operation, Aspen HYSYS can be used. To obtain a
simulation of a column with an implemented control scheme, Aspen HYSYS Dynamics should be utilized. Using both
of these programs in concert provides a comprehensive summary of how a column will perform under varying plant
conditions and perturbations to the columns normal steady-state operation.
This guide will begin with a brief walkthrough of the process for setting up a steady-state column model. The steps
required towards developing and implementing a working control scheme, and studying column dynamic response using
Aspen HYSYS Dynamics, will then be outlined.
Four Aspen HYSYS files come compressed with this guide. The file Debutanizer SS Starter.hsc is the steady-state
simulation for the debutanizer column. Debutanizer Solution RefluxBoilup1 Control Case.hsc is a dynamics-ready file.
This guide will show the steps necessary to add the control equipment to the steady-state debutanizer file that is present
in the LV-1 control case.
In addition, two other alternative control scheme HYSYS files are included. These files are Debutanizer Solution
RefluxBottoms Control Case.hsc and Debutanizer Solution DistillateBoilup Control Case.hsc. The Aspen HYSYS
flowsheet for each of these files and a short description of the control schemes are included in the conclusion section of
this guide.
This document is not meant to be used as a stand-alone reference document. We recommend that a range of other
resources be called upon to give the user a comprehensive view of how to use Aspen HYSYS Dynamics. These may
include:
AspenTech support website (support.aspentech.com) this website has a wealth of information on the use of
AspenTech products and provides answers to frequently asked questions.
AspenTech courseware available in on-line and in-person versions
AspenTech business consultants
This document will show how to prepare a column and analyze its response to varying conditions using Aspen HYSYS
Dynamics. It assumes that the user has Aspen HYSYS V8.0 or higher installed on his or her computer and a functional
process design completed, as well as a very basic knowledge of dynamic simulation using Aspen HYSYS Dynamics.

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Preparing a Steady-State Model


In order to properly use Aspen HYSYS Dynamics, a working steady-state process simulation model must first be obtained
in Aspen HYSYS. For more information about using Aspen HYSYS, please refer to the separate Aspen HYSYS Jump Start
Guide available at www.aspentech.com/JumpStart_HYSYSV8.
For the purposes of this Jump Start Guide, a complete dynamic simulation of a column will be demonstrated utilizing
a previously completed steady-state Aspen HYSYS process involving a debutanizer column. The process developed is
shown in Figure 1.

Vent
SS Specs

Cond Duty
Butanes

Feed1

Feed2
Reb Duty
Debutanizer

C5+

Figure 1. Steady-State Process Simulation with Debutanizer Column

Debutanizer Column Specifics


It is important to appropriately design and rate the column that is going to be the focal point of the dynamic simulation by
double-clicking the column model block on the flowsheet. The parameters in Figure 2 were specified for the debutanizer,
including 15 separation stages, a feed on stage 8, a condenser pressure of 13.12 barg, and a reboiler pressure of 13.47 barg.

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Figure 2. Column Design Parameters

Additional required column specifications of the reflux ratio, butane recovery from the condenser, and C5 exiting the
reboiler can be made in the Specs window. For the particular debutanizer column in this guide, the butane recovery is
96.25% and the C5+ in the condenser is set at 2.5%, which makes the percentage of C5+ in the bottoms 97.5%. From
these parameters, Aspen HYSYS calculates a reflux ratio of 3.697 and a molar reflux flow of 777.0 lbmole/hr. Figure 3
shows the Specs window and the setting up of the butane recovery in the condenser.

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Figure 3. Setting Column Specifications

Once a steady-state column has been solved in Aspen HYSYS, the user can then continue to develop a control scheme
and add dynamic equipment to the flowsheet in order to begin a dynamic simulation using Aspen HYSYS Dynamics.

Development of a Control Scheme


To develop a control scheme for the column, the columns response to feed changes should be studied. Initially, for the
simulation set up in Figure 1, Feed 1 has a flowrate of 18,000 lb/hr, while Feed 2 has a flowrate of 9,000 lb/hr. Using the
Column Profiles window under the Performance tab for the column, it can be seen that the current feed flow scheme
results in the stage parameters shown in Figure 4.

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Figure 4. Column Profile for Debutanizer

In order to develop an appropriate control scheme, the differentials in temperature between stages were studied under
the column profiles. Stage 5 through stage 11 all have high temperature differentials. For the purposes of this guide, stage
6 was chosen for implementation of the control scheme described in the following section.

Feed1 Flow
(lb/hr)

Feed2 Flow
(lb/hr)

Tray 6 Temperature
(F)

Mass Fraction i-C5 in


Butanes Stream

Condenser Duty
(Btu/hr)

Reboiler Duty
(Btu/hr)

18,000

9,000

218.1

.0210

6.563e6

5.631e6

9,000

18,000

213.1

.0193

6.860e6

7.113e6

27,000

210.9

.0206

7.171e6

8.653e6

27,000

231.5

.0402

6.331e6

4.252e6

Table 1. Changes in Column Performance with Feed Changes

The temperature on tray 6 in the debutanizer increased and decreased according to a respective increase or decrease of
the flowrate of the Feed1 stream. Also, with an increase in the flowrate of Feed1, an increase in the i-C5 mass fraction and
decrease of condenser and reboiler duty was observed. For these reasons, the control scheme described in the following
section should be implemented.

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Preparation of Flowsheet for Dynamic Simulation


(Note that the Dynamic Assistant can be used to guide the user in preparing a flowsheet for dynamic simulation. The
Dynamic Assistant will suggest all the steps covered in this section.)

Implementing and Sizing Control Valves


Dynamic simulation requires the proper equipment to be modeled on the flowsheet in order to work properly. The first
pieces of equipment that should be added are valves. For the case being used in this guide, four valves will be necessary
based on the control scheme identified. The valves should be connected to inlet streams Feed 1 and Feed 2 and outlet
streams Butanes and C5+, as depicted below in Figure 5. All valves should have a pressure drop of 7 psig.

Vent
SS Specs

To Feed1

To Feed2

VLV-100

Feed1

VLV-101

Feed2

Cond Duty

Butanes

VLV-102

Butane Product

Reb Duty
C5+

Debutanizer

VLV-103

Liquid Product

Figure 5. Flowsheet with Valves Added

Valves VLV-100, VLV-101, VLV-102 and VLV-103 need to be sized. This is done by clicking on the Rating tab in the
valve window and then clicking the Size Valve button in the bottom left of the window.

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Figure 6. Sizing a Valve

Activating Dynamic Specifications


The next step in moving towards dynamic simulation is to activate the pressure specifications under the Dynamics tab
for streams To Feed1, To Feed2, Butane Product, and Liquid Product, by checking the box shown in Figure 7.

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Figure 7. Activating Dynamic Parameters

In a similar fashion, check the flow specification box for the streams Vent and Reflux. Reflux is located within the
column subflowsheet environment. Also ensure that no dynamic specifications are checked for streams Feed1 and
Feed2.

Column Equipment Sizing


Next, the reboiler, condenser, and tray section must be given sizes. In order to define the reboiler and condenser volumes,
open the column window and move to the Rating tab and click Vessels in the navigation pane, shown in Figure 8.
Enter 530 ft3 for both the reboiler and condenser for the purposes of this guide.

Figure 8. Sizing Reboiler and Condenser

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To size the trays for the column, open the Tray Section window and then double click the named Tray/Packed Section,
shown in Figure 9. This will open the sizing form for that tray section.

Figure 9. Sizing Tray Section

Enter a tray diameter of 4.5 ft, a tray spacing of 1.8 ft, a Weir height of 0.15 ft, and a Weir length of 4.0 ft to complete tray
sizing.

Adding and Specifying Controllers


Six controllers should be added to the flowsheet for process control. The process variables, output targets, and acceptable
tuning parameters for each valve are listed in Table 2. After configuring all of the controllers based on the table below, be
sure to switch the controller action from manual to auto.

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Controller

Process Variable Source

Output Target Object

Tuning
Parameters

Action

Range

Feed1 FIC

Feed1 Mass Flow

VLV-100
Actuator Desired Position

Kc = 0.5
Ti = 1.0

Reverse

0 lb/hr
30,000lb/hr

Feed2 FIC

Feed2 Mass Flow

VLV-101
Actuator Desired Position

Kc = 0.5
Ti = 1.0

Reverse

0 lb/hr
30,000lb/hr

Cond PC

Condenser Vessel
Pressure

Condenser Duty Control Valve

Kc = 1.0
Ti = 2.0

Direct

180 psia - 220 psia

Cond LC

Condenser Liquid
Volume Percent

VLV-102 Actuator Desired


Position

Kc = 2.0
Ti = 5.0

Direct

0% - 100%

Column TC

Column Stage 6
Temperature

Reboiler Duty Control Valve

Kc = 2.0
Ti = 5.0

Reverse

210F
260F

Reboiler LC

Reboiler Liquid Volume


Percent

VLV-103 Actuator Desired


Position

Kc = 2.0
Ti = 5.0

Direct

0% - 100%

Table 2. Controller Connections and Variables Controlled

After implementing the control scheme from the above table, the flowsheet should then appear as Figure 10 displays
below. For Cond PC and Column TC the control valves on the duty streams need energy ranges specified. To do this, open
the form for the controller and then click on the button labeled Control Valve... at the bottom right of the form. For the
condenser duty, choose a Direct Q duty source instead of From Utility Fluid. For both duty streams control valves,
specify a minimum flow of 1 btu/hr and a maximum flow of 1*107 btu/hr.

Cond PC
Column TC
Cond LC
Reboiler LC

SS Specs
Vent
Cond
Duty

Feed1
FIC
To Feed1

VLV-100

Butanes

Feed1

VLV-102

Butane
Product

Feed2
To Feed2

VLV-101

Reb Duty
C5+

Debutanizer
Feed2
FIC

Figure 10. Flowsheet with Controllers Implemented

10

VLV-103

Liquid
Product

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Strip Charts
Strip charts help users to view the results of dynamic simulation to disturbances. Four strip charts are automatically
available under the Dynamics tab once the control scheme is implemented. These strip charts show the liquid percent
level in the condenser and reboiler versus time, the two feed mass flows versus time, condenser pressure and column
stage 6 temperature versus time, and the composition in the Butanes product stream versus time. These strip charts
can be found by clicking the Strip Charts button under the Dynamics header in the ribbon, then selecting the desired
graph, shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11. Opening Strip Charts

Execution of Dynamic Simulation


After following the steps towards setting up a steady-state flowsheet for dynamic simulation, the dynamic simulation can
be run. To accomplish this, click the Dynamics tab on the main ribbon in Aspen HYSYS, shown below. Alternatively,
hitting F7 with Aspen HYSYS open will automatically enter dynamics mode. Once the Dynamics tab has been opened,
activate Dynamics Mode by clicking the appropriate button, shown in Figure 12. Then, to run a dynamic simulation, either
click the Run button, or press F9.

Figure 12. Navigating to the Dynamics Tab from the Main Ribbon and Running a Dynamic Simulation

If the steps in this guide are followed, the Dynamics Assistant will indicate that there are changes suggested before
running the dynamic simulation. The suggested changes would revert some of the set up steps listed in this guide. Simply
press No when prompted to run the dynamic simulation.

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Jump Start: Using Aspen HYSYS Dynamics with Columns

Implementing Disturbances
Some process modification suggestions to view dynamic response for the control scheme implemented include:
Change the feed flowrate
Change the feed composition
Change the temperature setpoints
Change the pressure setpoints
Change both temperature and pressure setpoints
To change the composition or feed flowrates, once the dynamic simulation has been initialized, the feed streams
definition worksheet can be opened by double clicking the appropriate stream. Then, the streams flow or composition
can be modified. Additionally, flow controller setpoints can be modified to initiate disturbance in the simulation.
To change the setpoints for either temperature or pressure, the controllers Parameters tab can be used or the face
plate for a controller can be opened by double clicking the appropriate controller and selecting the Face Plate option,
shown in Figure 13.

Figure 13. Changing the Setpoint and Opening a Face Plate for a Controller

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In the Parameters tab, the setpoint can be manually typed to the desired value. If the face plate is used, the setpoint can
be modified by dragging the red arrow highlighted in Figure 14.

Figure 14. Face Plate with Highlighted Setpoint Control

To test the implemented control scheme, a dynamic simulation was run. After letting the process come to steady-state
operation, the flowrate of the stream To Feed1 was increased from 18,000 lb/hr to 28,000 lb/hr. The control response
was evident in the Feed Flows strip chart, shown below in Figure 15.

Figure 15. Feed Flows Strip Chart from Dynamic Simulation of Debutanizer

The increased flow to 28,000 lb/hr to the column can be seen, as well as a small perturbation to the Feed 2 stream from
the steady-state value of 9000 lb/hr.

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Additional strip charts showing the dynamic response for the simulation can be generated for the temperature on tray 6
of the column and condenser vessel pressure. This strip chart is shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16. Strip Chart Showing Tray 6 Temperature and Condenser Pressure

It can be observed that both the temperature and condenser pressure show fluctuations when the column feed
experienced disturbancebefore each parameter returned to its original value due to the control response.
Figure 17 shows another strip chart for the liquid level percent present in the reboiler and condenser.

Figure 17. Strip Chart Showing Liquid Percent Level in Condenser and Reboiler

For this strip chart, neither the liquid level percent in the reboiler nor the condenser fully reaches its steady-state value of
50% before the feed flow disturbance is activated. However, upon control response, the liquid levels both move towards
their steady-state values.

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Jump Start: Using Aspen HYSYS Dynamics with Columns

Conclusion
Dynamic simulation is a very powerful tool that allows users to view how processes will behave when deviations from
steady-state operation occur. Aspen HYSYS Dynamics is the premier dynamic simulator, combining the simulation power
of Aspen HYSYS with the ability to view rigorous dynamic process response.
Aspen HYSYS Dynamics is especially effective for its use in viewing column dynamic response and exploring various
control schemes to limit steady-state operation deviations in columns. The control scheme shown in this guide is a
reflux-boilup control. Reflux-boilup control responds well to feed disturbances. The reflux flow rate controls the distillate
composition while the heat input to the reboiler controls the bottoms composition.
Other suggestions for control schemes to be implemented on the debutanizer column, as well as the scheme shown in
this guide, are included in Table 3.
Control
Configuration
Name

Manipulated
Variable for
Condenser LC

Manipulated
Variable for
Reboiler LC

Manipulated Variable
for Primary
Composition Control
(Stage 6 Temperature)

Manipulated Variable
for Secondary
Composition Control
(Fixed in Base Case)

Manipulated
Variable for
Pressure Control

RefluxBoilup 1

Distillate Flow
Rate

Bottoms Flow
Rate

Reboiler Duty

Reflux Flow Rate

Condenser Duty

RefluxBoilup 2

Distillate Flow
Rate

Bottoms Flow
Rate

Reflux Flow Rate

Reboiler Duty

Condenser Duty

DistillateBoilup 1

Reflux Flow Rate

Bottoms Flow
Rate

Reboiler Duty

Distillate Flow Rate

Condenser Duty

DistillateBoilup 2

Reflux Flow Rate

Bottoms Flow
Rate

Distillate Flow Rate

Reboiler Duty

Condenser Duty

RefluxBottoms 1

Distillate Flow
Rate

Reboiler Duty

Bottoms Flow Rate

Reflux Flow Rate

Condenser Duty

RefluxBottoms 2

Distillate Flow
Rate

Reboiler Duty

Reflux Flow Rate

Bottoms Flow Rate

Condenser Duty

Table 3. Alternate Control Scheme Configurations

Figure 18 shows the flowsheet of Aspen HYSYS file Debutanizer Solution DistillateBoilup Control Case.hsc, which is
an example of Distillate-Boilup control. This Aspen HYSYS file was downloaded along with this guide and is available for
examination and modification inside of Aspen HYSYS and Aspen HYSYS Dynamics.

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Jump Start: Using Aspen HYSYS Dynamics with Columns

To Feed 2
P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

198.5

Vent

Cond PC

psig

Cond LC

To Feed 1
P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

199.2

P/F Specs

Flow

Molar Flow

0.0

Column TC

psig

Feed 2 FC

Butane Product
Cond Duty

To Feed2

VLV-100

Feed2

To Feed1

VLV-101

Feed1

Key Compositions

Reboiler LC

Vent

Butanes

Butane
VLV-102 Product

Reb Duty
Feed1 FC

C5+

Debutanizer

P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

182.6

psig

Liquid Product
P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

186.9

VLV-103

psig

Liquid Product

Figure 18. Distillate-Boilup Control Case Flowsheet

Distillate-Boilup control is effective for columns operating at high reflux. The distillate flow rate controls the distillate
composition while the heat input to the reboiler controls the bottoms composition.
Figure 19 shows the flowsheet of the Aspen HYSYS file Debutanizer Solution RefluxBottoms Control Case.hsc, which
is an example of Reflux-Bottoms control. This file was also downloaded in conjunction with this guide.
Reflux-Bottoms control is effective when the boilup ratio of a column is high. The reflux controls distillate composition
while the bottoms flow controls the bottoms composition.

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To Feed 2
P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

198.5

Vent

Cond PC

psig

Cond LC

To Feed 1
P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

199.2

P/F Specs

Flow

Molar Flow

0.0

Column TC

psig

Feed2 FC

Butane Product
Cond Duty

To Feed2

VLV-100

Feed2

To Feed1

VLV-101

Feed1

Key Compositions

Reboiler LC

Vent

Butanes

Butane
VLV-102 Product

Reb Duty
Feed 1 FC

C5+

Debutanizer

P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

182.6

psig

Liquid Product
P/F Specs

Pressure

Pressure

186.9

VLV-103

psig

Liquid Product

Figure 19. LB Control Case Flowsheet

In-depth exploration of these control schemes, as well as others that would be appropriate for a users specific process,
ultimately leads to safer and more profitable column operation.

Additional Resources
Public Website:
www.aspentech.com/products/aspen-hysys-dynamics.aspx

Online Training:
www.aspentech.com/products/aspen-online-training

AspenTech YouTube Channel:


www.youtube.com/user/aspentechnologyinc

17

About AspenTech
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As a result, AspenTech customers are better able to increase capacity, improve margins, reduce costs,
and become more energy efficient. To see how the worlds leading process manufacturers rely on
AspenTech to achieve their operational excellence goals, visit www.aspentech.com.

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