You are on page 1of 3

how can I specify the No.

of pump arounds of crude distillation tower and how can I calculate the flowrates and the temperature to be cooled of it. The answer is not so straight/easy, since many factors are involved, but some hints can be considered... 1) PAs subtract heat from the tower and make it available at higher temperature with respect to the condensation. In this way you save energy. 2) Usually you have 2 or 3 PAs in a Topping tower. Generally, they are extracted from the same trays where the main product (eg naphtha and gasoil) are extracted 3) The recovered heat is used to preheat the crude, before and after the desalter. Two temperatures. at desalter (fixed by the density and viscosity of the crude) and at heater inlet (fixed by a max vaporization of 3-5%), will substantially define the quantity of heat that you can utilize. A pinch technology exercise would be very helpful for better understanding of the heat balance and heat allocation. 4) The PA flowrates should be maximized to improve the heat transfer performances, taking into account that a minimum rsidual circulation shell be maintained in each section of the tower to obtain a good quality of the products. 5) The flexibility requested by the different crude operations (eg light or heavy crudes) will complicate the picture a lot. ...just to start thinking. Good luck Adding my two cents to an excellent reply by gegio1960

In the ideal world we would like to extract every possible kcal of heat provided as heat duty to the column so that we dont have to condense anything in top condenser.

If you want to start right from the drawing board consider the following ideas,

Try extracting Higher level of heat,means wherever stream is Hot (column bottom) so that you need lower flowrates for a given duty. As you add PAs your column height increases without aiding to any significant mass transfer ,you might need to add a Mass Transfer zone below PA bed for meeting product distillation.

Product Draw is a good location because it offers you advantage of using a single pump for both product and CR and flexibility in Pinch analysis for determination of Preheat Train,moreover you can combine IR with product and CR in case of total draw off trays. PAs disturb your column profile its like making you swim in a dirty pond again while you come cleaned by top reflux,so duty will be governed by your Product specifications. Since duty is now fixed you may play with flowrates or Delta T across PA which in turn is an optimization exercise,typically Crude/Vacuum column pumparounds have delta T of 66~70 Deg C. Crude towers these days i have designed have typically 3 or more pump arounds i.e Heavy Naphtha,Kero,Diesel and fouth could be AGO. There can be further debating on type of Pump around configuration and 'column pinch'.

You have put some good stuff there however, I would like to futher discuss on your second point -

"As you add PAs your column height increases without aiding to any significant mass transfer ,you might need to add a Mass Transfer zone below PA bed for meeting product distillation."

well as far as my understanding goes - Generally stream which are returned back to column few trays above the draw off tray after circulating it in heat exchngers and in turn cooling it, are known as Pump Around or circulation reflux. Thus these streams take out heat from the column & inturn reduce the height. And thus adding 2-3 pump around trays in the column purely for heat transfer, and theoritically known to have negligible mass tranfer in a way help in reducing the column height as otherwise this heat which is to be lost in order to achieve product quality in section above PA bed, would have required much more column height.

I request you & others to throw some light on this for my benefits.

My general observation on column sizing is that Distillation column diameter primarily is governed by Vapor density,while number of stages and tray spacing determines column length.

Watkins states states that,PA reduce both Liquid and vpaor traffic in the column by almost equal percentage but this was later contradicted by further research paper (and as you may observe ) in the

presence of pump around liquid flowrate increase (section where you return CR)and vapor flowrates decrease as expected.

If there were no pumparounds, the highest liquid load would be at the top of the column due to an increase in top reflux and with pump arounds this liquid traffic is just better distributed along the column.

Pumparounds in my view also distribute fractionation between products, since they adjust the flow of vapour and liquid within the column and thus maintaining the amount of liquid traffic in the column for effective fractionation is another important concept that needs to be considered. (Vapour-liquid load can be quantified by reviewing the average vapour-liquid molar traffic in any zone of the column)

Since you have distubed column profile by introduction of a foreign material i.e PA in the column,you may have to consider one/two more stage of fractionation to achieve desired degree of fractionation i.e. gap/overlap, addition of extra theoretical stage may lead to column length increase.

Crude distillation columns normally have three pumparounds, since this configuration is found to be the most cost-effective confirguration, but columns may have two to four pumparounds in general.