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Hamid Saffari*, Masoud Fasihbeiki° *°LNG Research Laboratory, School of Mechanical engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Narmak, 16846, Tehran, Iran *firstname.lastname@example.org
In this paper, we have optimized the energy efficiency of an industrial C3MR LNG base load plant by changing its refrigerants’ components and their mole fractions in liquefaction and subcooling cycles. The process is modeled by using the Hysys® software. The PRSV equation of state is used for thermodynamic properties calculations both for the natural gas and the refrigerants. Two methods for modeling and optimization are explained and the results are compared. The first optimization method is done by a try and error method, which is based on the use of temperature vs. enthalpy diagrams or composite curves. In the second method, Hysys® optimizer is used for optimization. The results show that by optimization of mixed refrigerants, it is possible to decrease the energy demand about 10.4 MW (5.36 %.) Key words: Liquefied Natural Gas; C3MR Process; Efficiency; Hysys® software; Cooling Curve
1. INTRODUTION Natural gas is set to become one of the most important primary energy sources for the 21st century. Compared with other fossil fuels, gas is relatively clean with regards to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and has larger proven reserves. It is expected that the natural gas would account for about 30% of total electricity generation by 2020 compared with 17% in 2000 . In this paper, we would like to optimize a propane precooled mixed refrigerant process refrigerants where precooling is achieved by a multi-stage propane cycle while liquefaction and subcooling are accomplished by a two-stage mixed-refrigerant cycles, which is so far the most common process used since 1972 in 8 different countries. The propane pre-cooled mixed refrigerant LNG process (C3MR) has been applied in LNG plants producing from 1 to 5 Mtpa of LNG per train using steam, gas turbine or electrical drivers, sea water and air cooling, rich and lean feeds containing a broad range of nitrogen with and without LPG extraction. The process has proven to be efficient, flexible, reliable, and costcompetitive . Propane precooling mixed component refrigerant process (C3-MR) represents 80 % of that used in the current base load plants. Large-scale liquefaction of natural gas takes a large amount of energy. That is why optimization is necessary to the process at steady state operation. Because of low efficiency of conversion of fossil fuels to electricity and consumption of approximately 200MW in electrically driven compressors and main pump of each train, optimization is advantageous in this case. There are some differences between the proposed cycle and a mixed fluid cascade cycle. In a MFC process, A Mixture of ethylene, ethane, propane and butane is used for precooling, while almost a pure propane refrigerant is utilized for precooling in the cycle studies. In addition, expander will not be used in a C3MR Process and throttling achieves by throttling valve and precooling is achieved in three or four stages, while in a MFCP, expander usually is used for throttling and precooling happens in two stages. A Mixture of Ethylene, ethane, methane is used for liquefaction and subcooling in MFCP, while ethylene will not be used in C3MR Process. The design, simulation and estimation of natural gas liquefaction process began from 1970. Shell Corporation has simulated the cascade, mixed-refrigerant and N2 expander cycle and analyzed their advantages and disadvantages . Melaaen set up a dynamic model for the natural gas liquefaction process of base load plant, and carried through the simulation by DASSL in 1995 . Kikkawa designed the late model of pre-cooling mixed-refrigerant processes and expander cycle, and he used CHEMCAD software in his calculations in 1997 . Terry adopted Hysys® software to calculate and optimize the typical liquefaction process of peak shaving plant in 1998 . Gu and his associates have carried through the simulation and calculation of natural gas liquefaction process . They also compared the key parameters of two small-scale natural gas liquefaction processes using Hysys® software in 2006 . For simulation of a LNG Production process, a reliable equation of state (EoS) is needed for thermodynamic data predictions. Several review articles and books cover the equations of state published in the literature. Most of them concentrated on cubic EoS's and their mixing rules . Simulation of the process has been conducted using Hysys® simulator version 3.2 due to many fluid properties data, Binary coefficients and suitable equations of state. In an
Methane % Natural gas Precooling Refrigerant 89. In this case. The heated refrigerant then passes through the separators (V100. The process described in the previous section was simulated using Hysys® flow-sheeting program using PRSV EoS property package. After dropping its pressure and temperature in a throttling valve (VLV-100). namely LNG-104 and LNG-105. K-102 and K-103). ethane. PRSV is a modified Peng-Robinson EoS and has the best adaptation and the least average absolute deviation with experimental data at cryogenic condition.9ºC and finally after dropping its pressure to about 0. after the refrigerant passes through the separator. propane.88% 0. Table 1. In liquefaction cycle. its mixed refrigerant like liquefaction mixed refrigerant passes propane precooling heat exchangers (LNG-100. This is some of powers consumed by 7 compressors and 1 pump (see figure 1) and we neglect the power used for air cooler and other utilities. and 12]. the required parameters from main process are specified in Tables 1. The remained liquid is used for next stage of precooling after it passed the valve. it passes through the liquefaction main heat exchanger (LNG-104) and liquefies. the simulation of such a system is much simplified if the PFD contains only real equipment.81% Propane and heavier % 0. by comparing the consumed work of cycle of each mole fraction with previous composition. the temperature falls to about -162. the preferred composition will be cleared and by comparing the changes in composite curves formed in main heat exchangers. temperature approach between hot and cold composites in main heat exchangers. Mole fraction of components 2. 10. We also assume to have 80% adiabatic efficiency in all units of compressors and pump and this value will not be changed by changing the mass flow rate of refrigerants.00% Ethane % 4. the liquid is used for liquefaction and the gas is used for subcooling after dropping its pressure while in the modeled process two distinct refrigerants are used for liquefaction and subcooling. The simulation.19% Nitrogen % 5. the mole fraction of next step will be predicted. The elimination of controllers makes the try and error method simulation much easier than that of using numerical convergence standpoint (using Hysys® optimizer). The PFD consists of only real equipment other than a cluster of nonequipment items such as controllers and calculators . rapid countering and close answers to optimal operation (which will be obtained by Hysys® optimizer) are the advantages of this method. K-101.08% 0. Details about these EoS are mentioned in other works (for example ) and are beyond the scope of this paper. Easily made modeling. LNG102 and LNG-103) to about -30. mixed refrigerant first enters four propane precooling heat exchangers identified before. the detailed description of simplified process has been presented in figure 1. PROCESS DESCRIPTION: The process which will be model and optimize is an industrial process. Subcooling refrigerant and inlet liquefaction refrigerant). For instance. Then passes through main subcooling heat exchanger (LNG-105) and is depressurized in VLV-101 and comes back through the subcooling heat exchanger to subcooling compressors (K105 and K-106). calculation and optimization of Processes were done using PRSV equation of state through Hysys® software. V-101 and V-102). But there are some differences between the real simplified process modeled here and the standard C3MR process. because of some industrial limitation. LNG-101. For example in a C3MR Process a mixture of refrigerants is used for liquefaction and subcooling. LNG-101.00% Different equations of state (EoS) have been evaluated at the cryogenic conditions to choose the most suitable one to be used in the simulation of the process. Many factors influence the performance of a certain process. 11. in each iteration. 9. 3. Propane is evaporated at four pressure levels in precooling cycle (LNG-100.86% 1. LNG-102 and LNG-103) to desuperheat the natural gas feed (stream 1) and cool and to partially condense the main refrigerants mixture (streams 28 and 36 for liquefaction and subcooling respectively) before they enter to main heat exchangers(LNG-104 and LNG-105). Assumed flow rate of natural gas feed is 46 170. In subcooling cycle.4ºC at the last heat exchanger (LNG103). they are pressures and temperatures of the mixed-refrigerants at each stage.4ºC. . Then by passing through two main heat exchangers. The natural gas is cooled in the propane precooling cycle through four heat exchangers (LNG-100. and mole fraction of nitrogen. LNG-102 and LNG-103) and liquefaction main heat exchanger (LNG-104). methane. temperature of the refrigerant before expansion. it is pumped to receivers.industrial system in which there are many exchangers requiring refrigerants at many temperature levels. In this process.116 bar releasing most of its nitrogen contents in separator V-104. etc: As we would not like to change any physical parameters in the real process such as thermal surface of heat exchangers by changing temperature approaches and so on.25 kg mol/h. As the flow rate of feed gas is constant. the refrigerant comes back to the heat exchanger and gets heat from hot composite (natural gas. MODELING AND OPTIMIZATION: Before the simulation. we have used the consumed power instead of specific power which is normally used in optimization (for example ). After cooling to about -30.  This equation is one of the most important Fluid Packages that is the base of the simulation by Hysys®. Then it comes back to the compressor (K-104). But. Large temperature difference and heat exchange load are the primary reasons of exergy loss in heat exchangers. The vapor collects at each pressure levels and enters four compressors (K-100. LNG-101.18% 98. Literature says that PRSV EoS is superior to other examined EoS's [7. the optimization problem is finding out the optimum mole fraction of liquefaction and subcooling refrigerant component values to make the power consumption to its lowest level. In this method.
the temperature and pressure of natural gas and refrigerants at each stage may be uses in an optimization process. Figure 2 shows the temperature profiles of the hot streams (main refrigerant mixture. The Modeled simplified C3MR Process 4. only composition of mixed refrigerants and their mass flow rates have been selected as variables in this work and other properties of refrigerant and natural gas have been assumed to be constant. Temperature profiles of the hot and cold (propane) streams in four precooler heat exchangers of a four-stage precooler of propane precooled mixed refrigerant natural gas liquefaction process.1. The large temperature difference between the hot and cold streams results in a higher exergy loss in the propane-precooled process compared to the mixed refrigerant precooled process (Figure 3) .  The indicative cooling curve of a natural gas with the temperature showed in figure 4 profiles two superimposed . Temperature profiles in the two main heat exchangers of a typical precooled mixed refrigerant process  Figure 2. Concept: Many parameters can be used for optimization. natural gas feed) and the cold stream (propane refrigerant) in four precooling heat exchangers. As we would liked to apply the optimization into the main cycle without any physical in physical components. Suction and discharge pressure of compressors. Figure 3. Appreciating the variation of temperature of the high and low pressure streams along the length of the heat exchanger is the first step in understanding the reason for low exergy efficiency of the cryogenic refrigerators and liquefiers operating with pure fluids. TRY AND ERROR METHOD FOR OPTIMIZATIOM: 4-1.Fig.
1 Note that at iteration no. the intent is to minimize the difference between the hot and cold composites in order to lower the exergy loss and improving thermal efficiency . we do not have nitrogen because it stays in the form of gas anywhere in the cycle in operating pressures and temperatures. 5 the temperature approach is about zero. 3 is used for continuance of optimization. Some samples of examined combination of mole fractions are presented in Table 2. and (b) avoid temperature cross in main heat exchanger.. we can optimize the liquefaction refrigerant as it was done for the subcooling cycle. Results and Analysis of Optimization for Subcooling Cycle: As cited before. we could not start optimization from liquefaction cycle from the beginning of the process. After specifying the optimized composition and mass flow rate of refrigerant in Subcooling cycle. The indicative cooling curve of natural gas and two superimposed route of liquefaction with pure and mixed refrigerant  Based on the thermodynamic analysis (first and second law of thermodynamics). In each stage. At each cycle. It is clear that as the number of iterations increases. It is 1 2 3 4 5 60 65 55 54 56 35 30 40 39 41 5 5 5 7 3 501 134 515 000 500 000 510 000 495 000 193. In the diagrams shown in Figure 5 to Figure 13.routes to liquefaction with pure and mixed refrigerants. first the mass flow rate of refrigerant modifies to (a) have the least flow rate and to lower the duty of compressors. In this process the components of refrigerants are the products of this plant. and only the natural gas and subcooling refrigerant passes through this heat exchanger and we can study the effect of changing mole fraction and mass flow rate of refrigerant directly on cooling curve and consumed work. By using wide range of refrigerants we might reduce the total consumed power further. For optimal operation all components of refrigerant must be in two phase at the evaporator and in gas phase at the inlet of compressors to prevent corrosion.8 202.4 188.Optimization: Optimization starts from subcooling refrigerant because we assumed that the conditions of natural gas is constant at the inlet and outlet of main Subcooling heat exchanger. So availability of refrigerants components should be observed. It is important to say that in all stages of optimization. Here we are going to optimize the refrigerants using these cooling curves based on this concept. this iteration will be neglected and iteration no. For commercial liquefaction process. Because of high demand for heat transfer area and lack of heat exchanger that could work at this condition. . This operation has been done for subcooling and liquefaction refrigerant. Other constraints are as below: (A) Sum of the mole fractions of mixed-refrigerant is 1 and (B) The temperature of mixed-refrigerant at the inlet of compressor is higher than its dew point. Then the required mass flow rate for liquefaction and precooling refrigerants obtained on the basis of two cited constraints and total duty estimated. % % % subcooling mass Flow rate(kg/h) Power MW Figure 4. Some samples of examined combination of mole fractions Iteration Methane Ethane Nitrogen Required no. cold composite is the backward low-temperature low-pressure refrigerant and hot composite is sum of other curves formed in the heat exchanger (natural gas and forward subcooling refrigerant in subcooling heat exchanger and natural gas and forward subcooling and liquefaction refrigerant in liquefaction heat exchanger). the optimization would become better and results will converge with by Hysys® optimization results. 4-3. and these two curves are similar and the consumed work is minimum value. That is why the designers use mixed combination of hydrocarbons instead of pure fluids as refrigerant in recently appeared cycles. the predefined temperature and pressure of natural gas and refrigerant do not change. the preference of selected mixture is understood by observation of consumed work uses by compressors and pump and the mole fraction of components has been changed by observation of the change in cooling curve produced in main heat exchanger and the predicted mole fractions were obtained. and assuming of constant condition for natural gas and subcooling refrigerant at the inlet and outlet of main liquefaction heat exchanger. As the temperature difference between two curves declines. In this refrigerant. The relative cooling curves are presented in figures 5-9. More attempts showed that it is not possible to gather more than two curves and to decrease the total duty. That is why propane is used for precooling and it is not used for subcooling and for the same reason nitrogen for subcooling and not for precooling in the main non-optimized process. the simulation and calculation of natural gas liquefaction process in skid-mounted package were carried through.7 191. 4-2. Optimization in this case is finished. After changing the refrigerant mole fraction in each stage.0 187. we should have optimized composition of Subcooling refrigerant and its optimum flow rate to have the whole plant optimized. Table 2. In optimization of a process by changing its refrigerants some points should be considered. noteworthy to mention that if we liked to start optimization from liquefaction refrigerant. selection of components of refrigerants corresponds with low and high pressure and temperature of the cycle. the entropy generation and exergy loss decrees.
Cooling curve for subcooling heat exchanger before optimization– Iteration no. 4 . Figure 5. Cooling curve for subcooling heat exchanger – Iteration no. 3 Figure 6. Cooling curve for subcooling heat exchanger – Iteration no. 1 Figure 7. Cooling curve for subcooling heat exchanger – Iteration no. 2 Figure 8..
The relative cooling curves are presented in figures 10 and 11.22 Propane % 0 0 20 32. the Optimizer can be used to find the operating conditions which minimize (or maximize) the objective function. 5. two curves are too close and this result is not acceptable like iteration 5. Results and Liquefaction Cycle Analysis of Optimization for The concept of optimization is as explained before.9 184. Effect of changing the concentration of an element on cooling curves and total duty guided us to modify the mole fraction of that is the next iteration. Some samples of examined combination of mole fractions Required Iteration Methane Ethane Nitrogen subcooling no.4 . (Iteration no.85 Nitrogen % 5 4. Cooling curve for subcooling heat exchanger – Iteration no.93 0 0 Consumed work (MW) 193.3 195.9 198. Some samples of examined combination of mole fractions are presented in Table 3.Figure 9. the demand for work in this plant will come down. Once the flow sheet has been built and a converged solution has been obtained.7 196.0 181.7 10 11. 3). % % % mass Flow rate(kg/h) Power (MW) It is clear that if we like to have a different temperature approach we can select the related mole fraction of mentioned cooling curve. 5 4-4. The first iteration in this section is the optimized condition achieved in the previous part.8 183.8 183.93 Ethane % 35 41. Table 3. The Optimizer owns its own spreadsheet 6 7 8 9 10 11 10 15 10 25 10 10 70 70 80 50 60 55 20 15 10 25 30 35 790 000 795 000 795 000 815 000 820 000 820 000 188. when two curves come closer.Optimum component mole fraction obtained by Hysys® optimizer Methane % Subcooling refrigerant (before optimization) Subcooling refrigerant (optimized) Liquefaction refrigerant (before optimization) Liquefaction refrigerant (optimized) 60 53. At iteration 11. OPTIMIZATION USING HYSYS® OPTIMIZER: Hysys® contains a multi-variable steady state Optimizer.7 Table 4.37 70 55.4 193. As it is obvious in the previous figures.
Cooling curve for subcooling heat exchanger – optimized by Hysys® optimizer Figure 11. 10 Figure 13. Cooling curve for liquefaction heat exchanger – Iteration no. Cooling curve for liquefaction heat exchanger – optimized by Hysys® optimizer . Cooling curve for liquefaction heat exchanger – Iteration no.Figure 10. 6 Figure 12.
4 MW (5. 2. Lin and A Gu. I. It is expected that at optimized condition. pp. Optimum subcooling and liquefaction refrigerants' components mole fraction obtained by Hysys® optimizer and predefined values are presented in Table. Shi and W. AIChE Journal. no heat should be added to the streams.nexant. 28–33. Liu and J. Lu. Sadus.A. 3. J. Process for Liquefying Methane.com. M. 7.E.As we expected to happen. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 14th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG14). an adjust controller determines the cooling stream flow rate based on predefined temperature approach (about 3°C in main and precooling heat exchangers). Gu. but using Hysys® optimizer needs some controller elements and time to converge. 10. W. 9. Cryogenic Mixed Refrigerant Processes. pp. in pure refrigerants if we assume that the upstream condition is determined before throttle valve. Vol. Lin. Pang. even the answer is more accurate. assuming constant adiabatic efficiency of compressors (neglecting the effect of stream flow on it) and assuming constant pressure drop in all streams also lead to less assurance. L. 2002. S. helps us to become assured of these results. we could reduce 5. New York. 169. Development of liquefaction process for natural gas. LNG Journal Vol. Besides. pp. Anderko. 1999. Equations of State for the Calculation of Fluid Phase Equilibria. 2004. Cao. Hyprotech SQP. 11. K. X. In this method. Gaumer. C. Moritaka. 1998. 5. Roberts and Y. Chemical and Materials Engineering. A point which should be considered during modeling is that the pressure is a function of the composition or the temperature is a function of pressure and composition and during changing the composition of refrigerant. Available online 2008. US Patent No. it is possible to decrease the energy demand about 10. Parameter Comparison of Two Small-Scale Natural Gas Liquefaction Processes in Skid-Mounted Packages. 1997. Venkatarathnam. 2004. But while using mixed refrigerants. Wang. 626–630. China Machine Press. as well as any constraint expressions to be used. Firooozabadi. Applied Thermal Engineering. we could reduce total duty and increase the efficiency of LNG production. 48-51. www. Modeling Phase Equilibria: Thermodynamic Background and Practice Tools. Reducing LNG Capital Cost in Today's Competitive Environment. C. 117-124. H. 3. Optimization using Hysys® optimizer results in better answers to optimization. Malanowski and A. especially for low temperatures.196. 2006. 2008. 4. S. G. By comparing figures 12 and 13 to figures 7 and 11 respectively. Subsidiary body for scientific and technological advice. A. . the expanding Horizons of Liquefaction Technology and Project Execution Strategies. 3. we could increase about 10. by closing of two curves in cooling curve diagrams. Yoshitugi and N. 6. Ashour and T. there are some errors in data prediction. K. Y. Inc. Modeling and Simulation of a Liquefied Natural Gas Plant". X. 898-904. we defined the mass flow rate of components as optimization variable.As we know. Sayed-Ahmed. 16th session. Doha – Qatar. S. An imaginary heating process which consists of a liquid flow controller and a heater prevents the existence of liquid in compressors intervals. 12. REFERENCES 1. the pressure of refrigerants will be calculated when the temperature is known and vice versa.06 % of preliminary power (Trial and error method). As it is not possible to define the mole fraction of components in each refrigerants. Using restricted deviation that is more compatible with experiment data. the Fourth Annual U. 1992. W. 4. McGraw-Hill.4. HYSYS has five modes of Optimizer: Original. No. Liquefied Natural Gas Technology. By changing the percentage of refrigerants' components and selecting the optimized ones. R. June 5-14. 30. 14.The mole fraction of refrigerants' composition might be obtained either by trial and error method based on cooling curves appeared in the main heat exchangers or using Hysys® optimizer. 2000.While using EoS in some steam properties. CONCLUSIONS 1. 445916. Newton and L. A. The advantage of this method is that we could achieve these results without any change in any part of this factory. Thermodynamics of Hydrocarbon Reservoir.for defining the objective function. University Research Conference. PS2 -6. Relative cooling curves are also present in figures 12 and 13. Vol. Bonn. Optimization using this method could redound in less power consumption and more convergence of composite curves. MDC DataRecon and Selection Optimization. John Wiley & Sons. Terry. A Novel Use of a Computer Simulator to Design an Industrial Refrigeration System. 2002. 21. J. Y. 2000. Lu. 46. Comparison of liquefaction process. Wei and R. 7. pp. Surrendering heat leakage to the process. Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan. Vol. 2. 8. Optimization by Trial and error method needs a simpler flow sheet and gives leads to rapid and fairly good results. So fixing the appropriate variable should be considered. Proposal on Cleaner or Less Greenhouse Gasemitting Energy. For each heat exchanger.1-12. N.36 %). 1984. the pressure might fall down under atmosphere pressure if the temperature assumed to be fixed. pp.53% of base load by spending the original power. the concept of exergy losses due to definite temperature difference will be clear. MDC Optim. pp. 13. 6. which they mix and generate the refrigerants. These uncertainties affect the data and may not lead to real optimum answer. Springer. 2007. Bronfenbrenner. 26.
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