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Dynamic simulation can be used to simulate a typical distillation column or fractionator relief scenario to calculate the column relief load more accurately than using conventional methods, while maintaining an acceptable margin of safety.
Dynamic Simulation Example:
Column Relief Load Analysis
Dynamic simulation can simulate a typical distillation column or fractionator relief scenario (such as cooling water failure, partial power failure, and total power failure). The objective of the analysis is to calculate the column relief load more accurately than using conventional methods while maintaining an acceptable margin of safety. The peak relief flow may then be used to size relief valves or used within an overall flare analysis to determine relief valve back pressures. In most cases, the use of dynamic simulation can reduce the need for additional relief valves or flare system expansion. This example discusses how dynamic simulation can reduce the calculated relief loads by 25% or more as compared with conventional calculations.
• Eliminate the need for additional relief valves on unit revamp or debottlenecking projects • Eliminate or reduce the cost for additional flare system piping for refinery expansion projects • Increase throughput through units that are constrained by relief capacity
DYNAMIC SIMULATION BENEFITS SUMMARY
projects expansion projects
• Eliminate the need for additional relief valves on unit revamp or debottlenecking • Eliminate or reduce the cost for additional flare system piping for refinery • Increase throughput on units that are constrained by relief capacity
DYNAMIC SIMULATION APPROACH
Conventional methods for calculating column relief loads are very conservative and can lead to over-designed relief systems, unnecessary flare, or flare header replacements during unit revamp and debottlenecking projects. Dynamic simulation provides an alternative to conventional calculation methods and provides substantially lower relief loads. For fractionation towers with wide boiling ranges, significant flare load reductions are possible. Dynamic simulation accounts for the limited inventory of light components and the sensible heat required to boil off the heavier components. Dynamic simulation is consistent with the approach of API-521. API RP 521 Section 3.3 (1995) has two components: 1. “For mixtures, light components are relieved before heavier components.” 2. “Change in vapor rate and molecular weights at various time intervals should be investigated.“ Dynamic simulation provides a safe and documented alternative to conventional relief load calculations methods that result in substantially lower calculated relief loads.
Feed or product flow h .CONVENTIONAL APPROACH The conventional approach used by many process designers is to use a heat balance method around the entire column. Diagram 1: Column Relief Load .Reboiler or condenser duty λ . the heat balance is recalculated accordingly and the net heat input is applied to a tray at or near the top of the column.Relief flow f . The heat of vaporization is used to calculate relief flow based on the following equation: Where: W .Feed or product enthalpy Q . If condenser cooling is lost.Heat of vaporization DYNAMIC SIMULATION MODEL Diagram 1 depicts a distillation column. which illustrates some of the principles involved in using dynamic simulation for column relief load analysis.
A modulating relief valve provides the peak relief rate while holding the column pressure at a nearly constant rate as required to determine the relief load. controllers fail in their last positions unless their automatic action increases the relief load. The Separator includes an internal weir to simulate the thermosyphon reboiler baffle. Relief Valve • The DYNSIM Relief Valves are set to modulate rather than pop open. the DYNSIM StreamSet model simulates the overhead liquid product level control valve and reflux flow control valve. • A DYNSIM Valve and PID simulate the feed flow control valve and flow controller. • Tray temperature controllers on reboiler steam are not required to be simulated since a temperature increase during relief would reduce reboiler heat transfer. However. The inventory of each theoretical stage is adjusted by the ratio of actual trays to theoretical stages. For example. The rigorous valve model calculates the reduced feed flow to the column that may occur as the column pressure rises.The following assumptions were made in the development of this simulation model. valves. Accurately modeling the sump inventory is important as reboiler heat transfer rate reduces as the inventory is depleted. Tower • The DYNSIM® Tower Model includes both vapor and liquid holdup on each tray. Controls • Per API Recommended Practice 521. • The overhead pressure controller locks in position since its action to open on high pressure would reduce the relief valve load. there are simplified models available for situations where not all the equipment data is available. Alternatively. This is a conservative assumption as it increases the amount of volatile low boiling point components. Condenser • The overhead condenser is modeled with an equation to reduce surface area when the overhead accumulator floods. the relief valve can be pop acting based on the available relief valve orifice area to determine if pressure rises above the allowable accumulation (10% for single valves and 16% for multiple valves). • The Tower has the same number of theoretical stages as the steady state simulation. • Tray liquid holdup assumes clear liquid height. • Reflux cascade flow controller operates to keep a constant mass flow rate. • A DYNSIM Separator simulates the column sump. Many controllers are not required to be modeled and the simulation does not need to match the control configuration used in the actual plant. This is the preferred approach when determining a peak relief flow to use in an overall flare system back pressure analysis or to size relief valves for a new column. The master controllers are assumed to not change the set point the slave controllers. and controllers. Pumps and Valves • DYNSIM rigorously models pumps. .
SCENARIO CASES AND RESULTS Table 1 summarizes the three relief scenarios and provides the results for the conventional calculation and peak DYNSIM relief flow. Table 2 shows the actual scenarios as implemented in the DYNSIM Scenario utility. Table 1: Scenario Cases and Results Table 2: DYNSIM Scenarios .
000 kg/hr.DISCUSSION OF RESULTS Case 1 – Loss of Cooling Water For all cases. The peak relief rate is 42. The peak relief rate is 120. Figure 1: Case 1 . Figure 1 shows the relief rate for the loss of cooling water case. Figure 2: Case 2 . the overhead receiver floods in an approximate four minutes.Loss of Cooling Water Case 2 – Loss of Reflux/Overhead Pump Figure 2 shows the relief rate for loss of the Reflux Overhead Product Pump. 40% lower than the conventional calculation. There is a large spike at 23 minutes as the low boiling material reaches the reboiler.Reflux Failure . which eliminates condenser cooling. the equipment failure event occurs at the five-minute timeframe. However. and the pressure begins to increase to create relief. 24% lower than the conventional calculation. Reflux continues to empty the contents of the overhead receiver into the column and cascades down through the trays to the reboiler where it is vaporized to increase pressure and create relief. The pressure initially decays as the reflux stops the supply of volatile material entering the column.000 kg/hr.
configuration. conservative limiting case assumptions can be made to simplify simulation development. its subsidiaries or affiliates. Figure 3: Case 2 . The following is a partial checklist to help validate a column relief study using dynamic simulation. Perform sensitivity runs to determine the impact of these assumptions on the results to see if further simulation refinement is warranted. 01/10 . without permission in writing from Invensys Systems. All rights reserved.com Invensys. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means. allowable if you overestimate the actual inventory using a clear liquid approach. 78% lower than the conventional calculation. In many cases. Avantis. and Wonderware are trademarks of Invensys plc. Inc. Rel. or by any information storage and retrieval system.000 kg/hr. Triconex. SimSci-Esscor. recording. Plano. • Review electrical bus arrangements to see which electrical devices can trip at the same time. This approach is often far less time consuming than attempting to create a more rigorous simulation. However. Loss of • Check initial column tray holdup calculations to be sure that the inventory estimate is adequate. the Invensys logo. electronic or mechanical. It is • Investigate pop-acting relief valve to determine maximum pressure using the actual relief system • Be sure that the liquid levels are not low such that vapor is blowing through liquid control valves. Eurotherm.invensys. All other brands and product names may be the trademarks or service marks of their representative owners. ArchestrA. since there is a loss of feed the reboiler is not supplied with low boiling material and the relief quickly subsides. #1000. including photocopying. multiple devices due to a common electrical supply is a typical relief scenario.Case 3 – Loss of Reflux / Overhead Pump and Feed Figure 3 shows the relief rate for loss of the overhead pump. broadcasting. Foxboro.Reflux and Feed Failure Additional Work It is the process engineer’s obligation to ensure that the results of a simulation model are appropriate for the design. TX 75024 • Tel: (469) 365-6400 • Fax: (469) 365-6401 • iom. InFusion. The peak relief rate is 15. Invensys Operations Management • 5601 Granite Parkway III. IMServ. Inc. © 2010 Invensys Systems. Pressure first falls due to loss of reflux.
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