Development of Model and Simulation of a Two-Phase, Gas-Liquid Horizontal Separator

O. D. ADENIYI Department of Chemical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria lekanadeniyi2002@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract In recent years, the performance requirements for petroleum process plants have become increasingly difficult to satisfy. In order to understand, design and operate the complex systems in the petroleum industries at relatively low cost and with minimum risk, mathematical modelling becomes very useful. Thus, this paper proposes some developed mathematical models for a twophase gas-liquid horizontal separator, which is valid with an accuracy of about 1.641% based on the liquid temperature values. Simulated temperature values were 300.24 K, 299.69 K and 299.14 K with the corresponding industrial values as 300.22 K, 299.67 K and 299.11 K respectively. Within the boundaries of the limitations stated, the model could be used to predict the operation of the separator at different operating conditions, to optimize the separator products and as a tool for further expansion amongst other uses. Keywords Gas-liquid, two phase horizontal separator, process control, model, simulation

These pre-treatment processes include degassing. [5] it was generated for a system operating under normal conditions. these pretreatment processes are also complex and require sophisticated equipment and instrumentation. The solution of the model equations may be carried out analytically or by using computerized numerical programmes. design and operate these complex systems at relatively low cost and with minimum risk. mathematical modelling becomes very useful. the petroleum producing industries are capital intensive (Meyer. 1995. Sinnot. Incidentally. The following limitations were applied to the developed model: [1] It applies to a two-phase. 1990). require pre-treatment to improve the product quality and meet current quantity and specification demanded for transportation fuels and related products. energy and momentum) in their general form with time derivatives included to formulate the basic equations. This paper describes the development of mathematical models for gasliquid separation process and to apply the model in simulating the operation of a gas-liquid separation unit (a horizontal two-phase separator in the continuous mode) for the separation of gas from liquid petroleum. 2003. .Introduction Crude petroleum oil as found in nature. Luyben. In order to understand. 2001. dewatering and desalting. Stephanopoulous. gas-liquid separator. Thus. [2] strictly for a crude oil/natural gas system. Modelling of a chemical engineering system such as a crude petroleum separating unity involves the use of fundamental physical and chemical laws (such as the laws of conservation of mass. which impose limitations on the model. [4] its tests of accuracy is done based on the temperature of the liquid (TL) values. 1992). [3] it is based on the classification of crude oil into eleven major components. Assumptions. the preferred alternative is to develop mathematical model of the system and use same for investigating its performance. the cost and risk involved in testing real life engineering systems are usually prohibitive. The latter is referred to as computer simulation (Imeh. As a result. Again. are also made so that the model would not be too complex and impractical.

Description of the Gas-Liquid Horizontal Separator A schematic diagram of the two-phase gas-liquid separator is presented in Fig 1. 1993). The section utilizes a coalescer or mist extractor. The gas stream leaves the separator with less than 0. The gas moves at relatively low velocity with little turbulence. The gas then moves to the secondary section B at a lower velocity. Then the gas stream moves to the coalescing section C in which the very small droplets of liquid in the gas stream are removed by impingement on a surface where they coalesce. while the liquid leaves the liquid collection section D which acts as receiver for all liquid removed from the gas in the primary. secondary and coalescing sections (Richardson and Coulson. The separation of a combined gas-liquid stream into separate phases can be described by the following process. A two Phase gas-liquid horizontal separator . which can consist of as a series of vanes.1 gallon per million standard cubic feet. 1) which contains the inlet nozzle (which is usually tangential) or a diverter battle. 2001. This section reduces the velocity of the fluid stream and takes advantage of the initial effects of a centrifugal or an abrupt change in direction to separate the major portion of the liquid from the combined stream. In the secondary section B. the force of gravity is used to separate entrained droplets of liquid in the gas stream. McCabe et-al. a knitted wire mesh pad or cyclonic passage. the combined liquid-gas stream enters the primary separation section A (Fig. Figure 1.

[4] the pressure of the liquid and vapour in the separator are not equal. 1997.jFj (1) where i. where crude oil enters the separator and additional light hydrocarbon vapour are flashed. [5] the liquid density. Water is separated from the crude/water mixture. Applying the basic principle of conservation for the separator system under study where the total mass and energy cannot be generated neither do they disappear. 1996. Thus chemical separation (flashing) and physical separation (gravity settling. Therefore. the following assumptions were made: [1] The liquid particles are spherical in size. 1996). Perry and Green.Fj are the volumetric flow rates of inlet and outlet streams. . the settling of individual particles is not hindered by others. In terms of the total mass flow rate equation (1) becomes: dM/dt = Wi – Wj (2) Wi = Wo (3) . [3] the mode of settlement of the liquid particles from the gas phase is free settling i. [6] heat losses are negligible and no temperature gradients exist within the separator.The mechanism of operation of the two-phase horizontal separator is the flash separation. centrifugal) methods occurs simultaneously in the separator (Imeh. Development of Models for the Separator In the development of the models for the two phase gas-liquid separator. the exit temperature is equal to the temperature of the liquid in the tank. 1990): dM/dt = iFi . remain constant.e. Luyben. Fi. the difference in densities and the tangential configuration of the stream path acts to separate the light hydrocarbon vapour and water vapour from the crude oil. Smith et-al.e the temperature variations are small enough that the temperature dependence of  can be neglected. i. so that the mass balance gives (Smith et-al. [7] variables within the separator do not vary with the length of the separator. 2003. [2] the dynamics of the vapour phase is ignored because vapour is assumed to always be in equilibrium with the liquid. j are the densities of inlet and outlet streams.

Tref is the reference temperature where the specific enthalpy is assumed to be zero. vapour and liquid. 1996. P is the potential energy.jFjhj (8) where E is the total energy content. Wo is the mass flow rate of mixture in inlet stream. Wv. K is the kinetic energy. ht the height of liquid in separator. Luyben.TL are the operating temperatures of then mixture. hi. Since L and A do not varies with time.CpL are the specific heat capacities of mixture. that is: dK/dt=dP/dt = 0 (9) dU/dt  dH/dt (10) where H is the total enthalpy of the liquid. Since for liquid system the change in kinetic and potential energies are negligible. neglecting the dynamics of the vapour phase we have: d(LAht) / dt = Wo – Wv – WL (5) where L is the density of liquid stream. Now the total energy balance is given by (Imeh.Tv. Wj are the total rate of inlet and outlet streams. WL are the mass flow rates of vapour and liquid outlet streams.Cpv. vapour and liquid. Recall that (Smith et-al. Luyben. A is the area of separator. hj are the enthalpies of inlet and outlet streams. Substituting equations (12) to (15) into (11): d(LAhtCpLTL)/dt = WoCpoTo – WvCpvTv – WLCpLTL (16) LACpLd(htTL)/dt = WoCpoTo – WvCpvTv – WLCpLTL (17) .Wj = Wv + WL (4) where Wi. By assumption. To. ho are the specific enthalpies of the liquid. Neglecting the vapour phase energy dynamics: dH/dt = Woho – Wvhv – WLh (11) where h. 2003. hv. 1990): H = LAhtCpL (TL – Tref) (12) ho = Cpo(To – Tref) (13) hv = Cpv(Tv – Tref ) (14) h = CpL ( TL – Tref ) (15) where Cpo. vapour and mixture streams respectively. we obtain: LAd(ht)/dt = Wo – Wv – WL (6) d(ht)/dt = 1/LA[Wo – Wv – WL] (7) Equation (7) gives the first required model. 1990): dE/dt = d(U+K+P)/dt = iFihi . U is the internal energy.

MLav. liquid and vapour streams. Luyben. 1995a. A are constants equation (24) becomes: (25) (26) Recall from differentiation of product rules (Stroud. 2003.d(htTL)/dt = 1/LACpL{WoCpoTo – WvCpvTv – WLCpLTL} (18) Applying the product rule in differentiation (Stroud.b. xi. liquid and vapour streams respectively. Considering the total mass balance (Imeh.Mvav are the average molar masses of component i in the mixture. Holman. Holman. Moav. 1996): dMi / dt = (Woxoi / Moav) – (Wyyi / Mvav) – (Wyxi / MLav) (23) (24) where xoi. 1989): d(htTL)/dt = TL d(ht)/dt + ht d(TL)/dt (19) Substituting equation (7) into (19): (20) Equating equations (18) and (20): (21) (22) Equation (22) gives the second required model. 1989): (27) Substituting equation (7) into (27): (28) Equating equations (26) and (28) to obtain: . 1995. yi are the mole fractions of the component i in the mixture. Since L.

11 849.61 721.67 305.301 83.61 790.67 304. (22) and (30) are the developed models for the separator.567 83.49 721. where WL. Industrial results for the separator Wo (kgs-1) 83.(29) (30) Equations (7).56 852. Wv are the outlet flow rate of liquid and vapour streams.67 304.044 310. Kc2 are the proportional gain of the controller.695 83. Pv are the set point and measured pressure in the separator all respectively.67 304. 1994): = yiMoi (31) yi ={xoiki}/{1+v(ki -1)} (32) yi =1 (33) xi =yi/ki (34) = xiMoi (35) ki = /P (36) WL =WLZ +Kc1(hts –ht) (37) Wv =WvZ +Kc2(Pvs –Pv) (38) Equations (37) to (38) are the generated control equations.11 299.67 304. Ludwig. ht s.834 309.22 304.00 298. In order to ensure that the degree of freedom is zero some algebraic equations were also applied (Smith et-al.11 . Kc1.835 83.647 To (K) L (kgm-3) Pv (kNm-2) Tv (K) TL (K) 299. ht are the set point and measured heights of liquid.11 299.67 304. WvZ are the flow rates of liquid and vapour when error is zero.56 852. Table 1.05 721.05 777. W LZ.49 721.834 309.67 854.11 852.044 309.11 299.678 83. Pvs.22 299.886 309.67 303.500 84.591 83.67 849.11 299.886 309.22 852.67 854.886 309.886 309.801 83.67 854.05 721. 1996.11 298. Results and Discussion The industrial and simulated results are presented in Table 1-4 and the comparison of the simulated and industrial results are presented in Table 5.05 777.11 300.61 790.22 304.886 310.

67 304.886 777.25 8.22 V (moles) 0.6581 1.4999 1.49 2.014 0.6889 299.52 1.53 2.54 2.25 8.27 2.4808 1.21 1.014 0.834 777.01 2.52 1.013 0.6905 299.2394 299.013 0.013 0.25 2.25 9.67 309.572 85.22 309.25 8.013 0.67 309.03 2.11 299.54 2.67 305.67 309.11 304.48 2.17 9.25 2.17 9.53 2.25 2.17 9.149 777.02 2.32 1.61 849.02 2.02 2.6903 299.25 9.52 1.27 2.27 2.49 TL (K) 299.16 9.25 2.16 9.16 9.5155 1.5036 1.02 2.02 2.22 304.766 85.5835 299.53 -1 1.044 770.25 9.53 2.5942 1.013 0.53 2.6680 1.17 9.013 0.11 Table 2.02 2.48 2.83.013 0.36 1.6910 299.6896 299.05 854.22 304.53 2.28 2.6885 299.16 9.11 304.25 8.16 9.49 852.044 x1/ 308.360 790.01 2.24 8.56 309.50 2.6882 300.6882 300.889 85.01 2.67 310.16 9.67 299.26 1.510 299.48 2.48 2.11 305.16 9.4974 1.6523 1.5219 1.17 9. Simulated results for the separator x2/ ∙10-5 x3/ ∙10-4 x4/ ∙10-4 x5/ ∙10-5 x6/ ∙10-4 -1 -1 -1 -1 (kg ) (kg ) (kg ) (kg ) (kg ) 9.1390 299.044 756.014 0.5894 298.30 1.25 2.25 9.25 9.5002 1.67 300.25 8.61 849.52 1.03 2.67 299.014 0.02 2.24 8.67 299.49 844.670 85.01 2.2407 htL (m) 721.36 1.1362 299.6889 298.17 9.6459 Table 3. Simulated results for the separator ∙10-6 (kg ) 2.53 2.67 299.46 1.1390 299.014 0.28 2.24 8.27 1.74 1.014 0.22 1.5076 1.24 2.013 0.5059 1.25 -1 .25 2.02 2.014 0.337 85.28 2.48 2.6654 1.27 2.36 849.16 9.27 2.17 9.25 9.4782 1.01 2.17 9.52 1.02 2.27 2.013 854.64 1.25 9.812 83.

83 5. The moles of the chemical species (V) had values over a rangeof 0.64 1. using the models developed. x6 is normal butane. has 1.015.74 2.15 3.83 5. x7 is isopentane.83 5. This infer that the control laws given by the control equations were effective in keeping output variable stable (Imeh.64 1. Erika et-al.83 5. Values of V obtained in the range of 0.04 1.74 2. while the height of liquid in the separator. x3 is ethane.64 1. .15 3.59 to 300.74 2.74 2. x8 is normal pentane.15 3.6680 m.15 3. 2003.04 1.15 3.74 2. x4 is propane.64 1.04 1. has 298.64 1.64 1.64 1.74 2.83 5.64 1.64 1.04 1. 1998.04 1.15 3.04 1. the variables solved for are fairly constant despite the varying values of disturbances like W o.83 5. x2 is methane. x5 is isobutene.04 1.64 1.013 to 0. Odigure. It is also remarkable that the values of the variables obtained are realistic and logical. Table 4: Simulated results for the separator x7 / ∙10-4 x8/ ∙10-4 x9/ ∙10-4 x10/ ∙10-3 x11/ ∙10-3 (kg -1) (kg -1) (kg -1) (kg -1) (kg -1) 1.83 5.04 From the tables of results (Tables 1-4) presented. x1 is carbon dioxide.83 5. htL.04 1. x9 is normal hexane.74 2.74 2.83 5.64 1.15 3.74 2. Stephanopoulous.74 2.64 1.04 1.64 1.013 to 0. 1995).74 2. This corroborates literature findings (Odigure et-al.04 1. To etc.15 3.15 3.15 3.83 5.74 2.04 1. The mole fractions of these components are.04 1.83 5.015 shows that the vapour phase of the separator’s discharge is minute.74 2.83 5.74 2.83 5. 1988) and further confirmed by industrial data.15 3. 2003.24 K. the temperature of liquid TL. x10 is the heavy components of crude oil and x11 is water.04 1.74 2.4974 to 1.64 1.Eleven different components were simulated for.64 1.15 3.83 5.15 3.74 2.04 1.15 3.15 3.15 3.65 1.83 5. The values of TLobtained are equally realistic values for crude oil under the given conditions.04 1.83 5.

996 giving a mean error value of 1. the error generated could be traced to some of the assumption made. area of separator.42 300.69 304.14 304.273 On one hand. In the same vein.11 4.67 5.453 1.87 Error (%) 1.42 299.52 299. 1990.69 304.24 K and vice versa.97 299.69 4.69 304.812 1. To was seen to be directly proportional to TL where a high value of 300.453 1.69 304.992 1. The numerical integration method used in solving differential equations could also have introduced truncation errors in the process of iteration (Stroud.41 298.14 304.11 3.00 3.56 304.453 1.634 1. 1989).22 K corresponds to an equally high value of T L of 300.635 1.6680 m and vice versa for the lowest values. V was observed to vary directly with Pv and indirectly with Tv (Luyben.69 304.69 304. and steady state values could have contributed. Table 5 present the deviation calculated between the industrial and simulated.A good relationship was observed between the disturbance variables and the output variables.69 204.24 304.11 4.98 299. as 1.22 5.42 299.67 4.435 1.125 1.812 kgs-1 has a corresponding highest value of ht. 1995).453 1.11 4.87 299.69 305.98 299. the model proved valid because of the low percentage error generated while on the other hand.22 6.273 1.24 304.53 299.812 1. Table 5: Comparison of Simulated and Industrial temperatures Simulated Industrial Absolute Deviation (K) (K) (K) 299.635 1.11 5. this deviation obtained was 4.67 4.641 % based on TL values.14 305.97 299.69 305. Conclusion .11 4.11 3.11 4.815 1.634 1. Parameters such as the controller gain. The highest value of Wo of 85.42 299. Seborg. Wo is seen to be directly proportional to the height.08 299. ht (Tables 1 and 2).53 300.11 4.56 303.42 299.

which is valid with an accuracy of about 1.Modelling is a very important tool used in the oil industries to describe operating systems. to optimize the separator products and as a tool for further expansion amongst other uses. Within the boundaries of the limitations stated. the model could be used to predict the operation of the separator at different operating conditions.641% based on the liquid temperature values.htm .org/A05/34_45. http://ljs.academicdirect. This paper proposes some developed mathematical models for a two-phase gas-liquid horizontal separator.

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