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Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2007, 46, 6540-6545
Optimization of the Operation of Boil-Off Gas Compressors at a Liquified Natural Gas Gasification Plant
Myung Wook Shin,† Dongil Shin,‡ Soo Hyoung Choi,§ En Sup Yoon,† and Chonghun Han*,†
School of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Seoul National UniVersity, Seoul, Korea, Department of Chemical Engineering, Myongji UniVersity, Yongin, Korea, and DiVision of EnVironmental and of Chemical Engineering, Chonbuk National UniVersity, Jeonju, Korea
Proper handling of boil-off gas (BOG) during normal operations as well as ship unloading significantly affects the efficiency of the operation and the safety of the whole gasification plant. Optimal operations of BOG compressors need to consider multiple aspects of plant safety and reduced power consumption, simultaneously satisfying all process requirements and constraints. However, due to the not-well-known characteristics of the involved dynamics, it is suspected that the BOG compressors are being operated in too great a capacity, unnecessarily consuming too much energy. A method for optimization of BOG compressor operation is proposed in this paper, which minimizes power consumption based on a mixed integer linear problem (MILP) formulation and refines the operation policies based on a safety analysis on the dynamics of the tank pressure. The proposed method is expected to be able to contribute to improving the efficiency of the whole liquefied natural gas (LNG) gasification plant operation and control.
1. Introduction The worldwide liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade has increased steadily (over 5%/year) since the industry began. This trend is expected to continue as natural gas becomes the fuel of choice for electric power providers and as developing countries increase their energy demands. As growing demand cannot be satisfied by existing local sources of production, LNG has emerged as a possible solution for transporting distant (or stranded) gas supplies to established markets. Japan and Korea are the two biggest importers in the world LNG market whereas many western countries still heavily rely on pipeline gas.1-5 The LNG supply chain consists of several interconnected elements. The receiving terminal is one component of the LNG chain between the gas field and the residential or industrial consumer. The LNG receiving terminal receives liquefied natural gas from special ships, stores the liquid in special storage tanks, vaporizes the LNG, and then delivers the natural gas into distribution pipeline networks. The receiving terminal is designed to deliver a specified gas rate into a distribution pipeline and to maintain a reserve capacity of LNG. The amount of reserve capacity depends on expected shipping delays, seasonal variations of supply and consumption, and strategic reserve requirements. The LNG gasification plant is mainly composed of LNG storage tanks, LNG pumps, LNG vaporizers, and the gas pipeline.6 During normal operation, boil-off gas (BOG) is produced in the tanks and liquid-filled lines by heat transfer from the surroundings. This vapor is collected in the boil-off header that ties into the boil-off compressor suction drum. Boiloff vapors generated during normal operation (not unloading) by heat leak into the storage tank and piping are compressed and liquefied in a recondenser. During ship unloading, the quantity of vapor in the tank outlet increases significantly. These additional vapors are a combination of volume displaced in the
* To whom all correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: email@example.com. Phone: +82-2-880-1887. Fax: +82-2-873-2767. † Seoul National University. ‡ Myongji University. § Chonbuk National University.
tanks by the incoming LNG, vapor resulting from the release of energy input by the ship pumps, flash vapor due to the pressure difference between the ship and the storage tanks, and vapor generated from heat leak through the unloading arms and transfer lines. Proper handling of BOG during normal operations as well as ship unloading significantly affects the efficiency of the operation and the safety of the whole gasification plant. Too much BOG inside a storage tank brings about safety issues, and too little BOG caused by overrunning of the BOG compressors may mean unnecessary waste of energy. Hence, optimal operations of BOG compressors need to consider multiple aspects of plant safety and reduced power consumption, simultaneously satisfying all process requirements and constraints. However, due to the not-well-known characteristics of the involved dynamics, it is suspected that the BOG compressors are being operated in too great a capacity, especially before the ship unloading, and thus unnecessarily consuming too much energy. In this research, by modeling the dynamics, including energy and mass transfer, and developing a reliable method for predicting the occurrence and severity of the BOG generation in normal and unloading operations, our attention is focused on suggesting optimized operational policies of BOG compressors and improving the efficiency of the whole LNG gasification plant operations and control. BOG should be removed from the tank by compression in order to maintain the tank pressure within a safe range. Conventional methods are summarized in Table 1, which have been obtained from interviews with process operators and the operation history of an LNG gasification plant. A load represents the BOG flowrate normalized by the maximum flowrate of each compressor, and the number of load levels and the load percentage at each level are fixed by the manufacturer of the compressors. There are multiple methods for the same load depending on the operators, and method 1 for a load of 1.1, for example, is to run one compressor at 100% load level continuously and another compressor at 50% for 20% and at 0% for 80% of the operation period, after which the same operation is repeated. Note that a backup compressor is operated at idle in
10.1021/ie061264i CCC: $37.00 © 2007 American Chemical Society Published on Web 08/28/2007
and environmental regulations. ‚‚‚.1.9 BOG compression requires similar decision making by operators for economic operations. Generally. In gas pipeline operations. n. ‚‚‚. j e l represents the compressor load level.5 2. ∑ j)1 Average power consumptions: l i ) 1. ‚‚‚.6-3. ‚‚‚.7 2. Conventional Operation Methods of BOG Compression no. n (4) ∑ cj tij . Our approach to energy-efficient BOG management through compression is divided into two steps: (1) selection of a set of compressors and their load levels for minimum power consumption and (2) decision of optimal operation policies for process safety and energy savings for a given BOG removal rate.. n (3) Rjtij .1. Mixed Integer Linear Problem (MILP) Formulation. Chem. This research is investigating the latter two aspects.Ind. ‚‚‚.5 1.5 3. the index i e n represents the compressor number. ‚‚‚.xi ) 0.10-13 Statistical models6 as well as detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models are being used to describe the dynamics of LNG storage tanks and the plant. The following mathematical program determines an optimal operation strategy for multiple compressors in parallel. compressed.14 Energy savings in BOG-related operations can be achieved in three different ways: (1) development of hardware for advanced compression technology. For a given l Fi ) F o ∑ i)1 Operation time fractions: n (2) tij . j ) 0. j ) 0.Wi ) 0. No.6-4. In this problem formulation. l (8) (9) The objective function has two terms.8. Vol. the internal state and the resulting BOG output from the tank have not been considered in the optimization of the operation of the whole gasification plant.0 3. Res.1-1. n . 20.1-2. and this paper reports the results focused on the compressor network operations. i ) 1. ‚‚‚. and Rj is the load fraction at level j (R0 ) 0 < R1 < .1 Chapman12 suggested a simulation-based optimization of a compressor station which consists of dissimilar centrifugal compressors. Even though the detailed models of the tank are used to simulate the internal behavior of the tank. i ) 1. 3. 2. and the second one is a penalty for complicated operations. ∑ j)0 Average flowrates: i ) 1.15 (2) reduction of BOG generation by modulating the operating tank pressure..1 Integer constraints: (7) xi) 0 or 1. while considering reliability. 3. Eng.Fi ) 0. l Extra constraints: (6) Fi .1-4. < Rl-1 < Rl ) 1). The optimal management of BOG and the operating pressure in the LNG tank was studied experimentally by Doyer et al. Proposed Method: Optimization of BOG Compressor Operations The boil-off gas from the LNG tank should be removed in order to keep the tank pressure under control.16 and (3) improved operation of a compressor network for the processing of the specified amount of BOG. it is chilled. The binary integer variable xi indicates whether .0 method 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 100% 1 2 3 2 1 2 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 4 3 2 1 4 3 2 2 2 4 2 2 2 4 2 4 2 2 1 4 1 2 2 1 3 1 2 1 2 1 1 75% 50% 1 0% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 throughput. i ) 1. n. ‚‚‚. ‚‚‚. which minimizes the total average power consumption.9 and the control and optimization of pipeline and compressor station operations. Literature Review: Optimization Activities in the LNG Industry Research activities related to the LNG gasification plant have been mainly focused on the modeling of the temperature and pressure changes inside the LNG storage tank1. we may increase the quality and capacity of plants.5 any case in order to cover potential failure of a compressor.6-2. i ) 1. i ) 1.1-3.. 2007 6541 Table 1. 46. the dispatcher is responsible for making two vital decisions: increasing or decreasing of compression and selection of compressor units to be turned on/ off. safety.Fi + 1 g0.0 min subject to BOG flowrate: Wi + ∑∑yij ∑ i)1 i)1 j)0 n n l (1) 4. n yij ) 0 or 1. the optimal speed of each compressor is suggested for the specified period of operation with certain compressors remaining shutdown. and supplied as part of the product. Failure in the BOG compressor may lead to opening of pressure relief valves. n j)0 cl l (5) Operation modes: yij .. where is a small positive number. and fulfill ever increasing specifications. and various studies through dynamic simulations have been reported. The first one represents the total power consumption. By applying optimization to the design and operation of energy systems. of compressors on operation load 1.tij g0. while reducing the costs.
Flowsheet of a BOG compression process. differentiation of the where ∆P is the safe pressure margin from the current pressure. the safe operation period can be calculated based on the safe operation times and their operation time fractions.2.3) consume the same power. The variable Fi represents the average flowrate of compressor i normalized by the maximum flowrate of the compressor so that Fi e 1. compressors require some idle operation time after startup and before use.6 and t13 ) 0.Fo dt (12) where F is the molar rate of BOG generation and Fo is the output flowrate. if t12 ) 0. Let us define a virtual operation pressure below . an extra compressor is often operated at idle in order to cover such a case. Let us apply the ideal gas law to the gas phase in the tank. the BOG will be sent to a flare stack. The variable tij represents the fraction of the operation period for compressor i to run at level j. 46. Eng. Assume that we are using necessary compressors only. and a new compressor has just been turned on. Then. 3. which represents the time average flowrate of BOG to be removed from the tank divided by the maximum flowrate of a compressor. Res. The safe operation time is calculated for the maximum (Fo > F) and minimum (Fo < F) compressor flowrates. The binary variable yij indicates whether the operation mode of compressor i at level j is used (yij ) 1) or not (yij ) 0). thus. 2007 Figure 1. The operation period will be determined later. and constraint 7 avoids multiple equivalent solutions. Therefore. dn ) F . Note that two methods (t12 ) t21 ) 1) and (t12 ) t21 ) 0. Therefore.6542 Ind.3. The inequality constraint 6 sets yij ) 1 when tij > 0.7 and t11 ) t22 ) 0. the former (y11 + y12 + y21 + y22 ) 2) is preferred to the latter (y11 + y12 + y21 + y22 ) 4). No. If the pressure goes up to a maximum limit during the startup time. at level 3 for 4 (or 40) min. compressor i is to be used (xi ) 1) or not (xi ) 0). The compressors will alternate between low and high flowrates. which can be determined by simulation if a rigorous dynamic model is available for the tank or can be estimated as follows. Although we need to run a new compressor. Estimation of a Safe Operation Period. a normal operation can be continued. in conventional BOG compressor operations. Let us define the number of necessary compressors N as the minimum number of compressors whose total flowrate is higher than the rate of BOG generation. Chem. The constant Fo in the first constraint is to be on-line userspecified. and thus the variable Wi represents the average power consumption of compressor i normalized by its maximum power consumption cl.4. the minimization of the above objective function results in the simplest operation at minimum power consumption. above equation with respect to time results in the following equation. Redundant Compressor Operation for Safety. 20. the tank pressure will accordingly oscillate. Let us assume that a failure has occurred. ∆t ) ( ) ∆P dP dt (13) PV ) nRT (10) As the tank is large. and repeat. and this situation may result in an accident. A criterion is proposed in this work so that the redundant compressor operation can be minimized. but the former (y12 ) y21 ) 1 and y11 ) y22 ) 0) is simpler than the latter (y12 ) y21 ) y11 ) y22 ) 1). 3. If the new compressor gets ready before then. However. For example.. The constant cj represents the power consumption of each compressor at load level j. dP RT dn ≈ dt V dt (11) The rate of accumulation of moles in the gas phase is given as follows. we may operate compressor 1 at load level 2 for 6 (or 60) min. The tank pressure will increase during this period ∆tstartup. The solution to the above optimization problem suggests an optimal compressor operation strategy. the obtained solution only represents the fractions of the operation period. A safe operation time at a fixed flowrate depends on the rate of change in the tank pressure. and consider a situation when one of these compressors fails during the operation. Therefore. and thus. the flowrate alternation period should be short enough to maintain the tank pressure within a safe range. Then. Vol. A safe operation time at this flowrate can be estimated as follows. we can assume that the gas volume and the temperature change slowly.
Eng. a compressor is to be operated at idle for a long time.01y42 + 0. 2007 6543 Figure 2.01y21 + 0. already existing in the objective function.1 compressors. respectively. This criterion pressure Psafe2 can be calculated using the same equation as above.75t42 + t43 .Fo)∆tstartup V (14) t30 + t31 + t32 + t33 .01y13 + 0.01y43 + 0.01y23 + 0.(F .9 t10 + t11 + t12 + t13 .Ind.01y52 + 0.01y40 + 0. This compressor is to be turned on again either when the operation pressure reaches this safety limit Psafe2 or when only its startup time ∆tstartup is left before it is neccessary to operate the compressor again.x3 ) 0 t40 + t41 + t42 + t43 .01y20 + 0. and 145 A. Case Study Consider a plant with 10 LNG storage tanks with a volume of 100 000 m3 each and 6 BOG compressors with a maximum 0. 3.5t51 + 0. A backup compressor will be turned on only when the operation pressure is above this criterion pressure. If the pressure goes down to 40 gf/cm2 gauge. The compressors require 30 min of idle operation for startup and have load levels of 0. Turning Off a Compressor Instead of Idling. 50.. letting the pressure increase in many cases.4.5t11 + 0. The power consumption of each compressor at 100% load level is about 1 MW. Even if we use necessary compressors only. 4.01y33 + 0. The safe range of tank pressure is between 50 and 170 gf/cm2 gauge.9 Even though we did not assign exact values for the startup and shutdown costs of a compressor. No. and if it goes up to 190 gf/cm2 gauge. and the gas temperature is -140 °C. min W1 + W2 + W3 + W4 + W5 + W6 + 0.5t41 + 0. Vol. 20. This pressure can be calculated using a rigorous tank model as mentioned above or estimated as follows.75t12 + t13 .01y12 + 0.5t31 + 0. 127.01y60 + 0.01y53 + 0.5t21 + 0. at which the electric currents are 65.01y61 + 0.01y62 + 0.F4 ) 0 where Fo is the maximum output molar flowrate of N .x6 ) 0 0. 115. but Fo in this case is the maximum output molar flowrate of N 2 compressors.01y10 + 0. This compressor can be turned off while the operation pressure is below a safety limit. RT Psafe1 ) Pflare . Chem.75t52 + t53 .01y32 + 0. Change in the tank pressure by compressor operation for F ) 31 tons/h.x5 ) 0 t60 + t61 + t62 + t63 . The total gas volume in the tanks is 50 000 m3. capacity of 10 tons/h each as shown in Figure 1.x4 ) 0 t50 + t51 + t52 + t53 . Determine an optimal operation schedule when the total rate of BOG generation is estimated at 29 tons/h.01y31 + 0. that part may be considered by the penalty for complicated operations. a vacuum breaker is activated. The MILP formulation for this problem with ) 0.75t22 + t23 .01y22 + 0. the BOG is sent to a flare stack.x1 ) 0 t20 + t21 + t22 + t23 . a backup compressor is to be on standby if necessary in order to avoid a flare stack even if one of the compressors fails.F5 ) 0 . Each compressor should be selected in a way that the number times it is turned of on or off is minimized in order to reduce the component wear.01y50 + 0. While the total power consumption should be minimized.01 is as follows.75t32 + t33 . 46.F2 ) 0 0. 75.01y63 subject to Figure 3. F1 + F2 + F3 + F4 + F5 + F6 ) 2.01y30 + 0.x2 ) 0 which the latter situation is expected.F3 ) 0 0.01y41 + 0.F1 ) 0 0. The initial tank pressure is 140 gf/cm2 gauge. and 100%. Change in the tank pressure by compressor operation for F ) 29 tons/h. and the desired operation pressure range is from 100 to 140 gf/cm2 gauge.01y11 + 0. Res.01y51 + 0.
The change in the tank pressure during this operation is as shown in Figure 2. 6. Therefore. y13 . which take up large part of the energy consumed at the LNG gasification plant.t32 g 0. 46. This result indicates that two compressors are to be operated at 100% continuously. and that from P1 ) 100 to P2 ) 140 gf/cm2 gauge is ∆t2 ) 18. the proposed method in the most difficult situation and the best conventional method are to be compared.t61 g 0.W2 ) 0 145 20 145 21 145 22 65 115 127 t + t + t + t33 . Chem. From eq 14.96 and Psafe2 ) 112.6544 Ind. and that of the proposed method is 3.t23 g 0 y30 .t50 g 0. From eqs 11-13.75t62 + t63 . 2007 0. Vol.9.F6 ) 0 65 115 127 t + t + t + t13 . y31 .t11 g 0. and thus. the energy consumption is the highest.230 MW.F6 g 0 This problem was solved by LINDO. As N ) 4. y62 . unnecessarily consuming too much energy.228 MW. y21 . no backup compressor is necessary throughout the operation period. However. the operation period is 189.16 min for which P < Psafe1. This is to provide the most difficult situation to the proposed method. Furthermore. the operation time from P0 ) 140 to P1 ) 100 gf/cm2 gauge is ∆t1 ) 18. During the summer. From eq 14. The average power consumption of the conventional method is 3. As the operation pressure is always lower than Psafe1.t51 g 0.t13 g 0 y20 . method 1 always consumes less power than other conventional methods. y22 .F4 g 0 F 4 . The power consumption of conventional operation methods in Table 1 can be calculated using eq 5. y42 . Eng. two compressors are run at 100% and one compressor at 0% from P1 ) 100 to P2 ) 140 gf/cm2 gauge.t21 g 0. and the solution is t13 ) t23 ) 1. y11 . and the solution indicates that three compressors are to be operated at 100% continuously and one compressor is to be operated at 100% for 10% and 0% for 90% of the operation period.5t61 + 0. During this operation.63 gf/cm2 gauge.448 MW. the proposed method runs four compressors at 100% to drop the pressure from P0 ) 140 to P1 ) 100 gf/cm2 gauge. conventional method 1 is selected as the criterion for performance evaluation.t42 g 0.t40 g 0. No. turning off backup or necessary compressors is most limited in this case.53 min. y61 . Let us assume that F is infinitesimally larger than 30 tons/h.W5 ) 0 145 50 145 51 145 52 65 115 127 t + t + t + t63 .30 gf/cm2 gauge. The average total power consumption in this case is 3. the power consumption is the same as before. but it can be turned off for 126. and that from P1 ) 100 to P2 ) 140 gf/cm2 gauge is ∆t2 ) 170. t30 ) 0. y23 . t33 ) 0. Therefore. y51 . As N ) 3. y41 .376 MW.t53 g 0 y60 . For F ) 30 tons/h.F3 g 0 F 3 . As a result. Furthermore.t63 g 0 F 1 .t20 g 0. the average total power consumption is 3. Therefore.t43 g 0 y50 .W3 ) 0 145 30 145 31 145 32 65 115 127 t + t + t + t43 . It is turned on again and operated at 0% until the pressure reaches P2 ) 140 gf/cm2 gauge.67 and Psafe2 ) 56. y33 . we can turn off one of the necessary four compressors for 53. Then. Let us now assume that F is infinitesimally smaller than 30 tons/h. From eqs 11-13. As the gas volume is the minimum. we get Psafe1 ) 126. the proposed method runs three compressors at 100% to drop the pressure from P0 ) 140 to P1 ) 100 gf/cm2 gauge..1. the tank pressure most rapidly changes. The same problem was solved for F ) 31 tons/h. which is the maximum.F5 g 0 F 5 . the operation time from P0 ) 140 to P1 ) 100 gf/cm2 gauge is ∆t1 ) 170. as the minimum operation pressure P1 is lower than Psafe2. the operation period is ∆t1 + ∆t2 ) 189. 20.60 gf/cm2 gauge. Therefore.t33 g 0 y40 .95 min. The change in the tank pressure during this operation is as shown in Figure 3.t10 g 0.70 min at the beginning of the second part of the operation period ∆t2. and x4 ) x5 ) x6 ) 0. y53 .63 gf/cm2 gauge.t31 g 0.F2 g 0 F 2 . The average total power consumption for this operation schedule is 3. one of them is turned off until the pressure reaches Psafe2 ) 119.t22 g 0. Res. Let us use the simple model described above and assume that the tank is filled with pure methane. Performance Evaluation The above example belongs to a situation in summer for which it has been observed that the rate of BOG generation has a probability distribution close to a normal distribution with an average of 30 tons/h and a standard deviation of 2.094 MW. the conventional method 1 runs three compressors at 100% and one compressor at 0% continuously.t30 g 0.48 min. 5. A backup compressor is required because P0 > Psafe1.95 min.t62 g 0.W1 ) 0 145 10 145 11 145 12 115 127 65 t + t + t + t23 .48 min. simplified modeling of the involved dynamics of LNG storage tanks and . y32 . y12 . none of the necessary three compressors can be turned off during the operation period.t41 g 0. have been suspected of being operated in too great a capacity. we get Psafe1 ) 182. The average total power consumption for this operating schedule is 3. As a result. and then. y52 . which indicates that the proposed method can save energy at least by 11. In this research.83 to t ) 183. a fourth backup compressor should be run at idle while P > Psafe1 ) 119. BOG is generated the most. The weight fractions for the BOG flowrates were calculated from the normal distribution probability density function.t60 g 0. Therefore. As the compressors in this example have the maximum efficiency at 100% load level.650 MW.49%. all of the ten tanks are 95% full.W6 ) 0 145 60 145 61 145 62 y10 . as the operation pressure is always higher than Psafe2. The power consumptions of the conventional method and the proposed method for 11 cases are compared in Table 2.W4 ) 0 145 40 145 41 145 42 115 127 65 t + t + t + t53 .33 min from t ) 56.53 min. and one compressor is to be operated at 100% for 90% and at 0% for 10% of the operation period.t12 g 0. y43 . Conclusions The BOG compressors.t52 g 0. y63 .5 tons/h.
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