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Journal of Petroleum Engineering & Technology

ISSN: 2231-1785(online), ISSN: 2321-5178(print)


Volume 5, Issue 1
www.stmjournals.com

Effect of Variation in LPG Composition on Heating Value


Using Aspen HYSYS
Istiak Hussain, Md. Saiful Alam*
Department of Petroleum & Mining Engineering, Shahjalal University of Science & Technology,
Sylhet-3114, Bangladesh
Abstract
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is becoming an increasingly important part of the worlds
energy sources. The determination of the heating value of LPG is of great economic
importance in domestic and industrial purposes. This paper discusses the effects of impurities
(e.g., moisture, H2S) and the presence of other hydrocarbons (e.g., ethane, pentane, propene,
and butene) on the heating value of LPG fuel with different propane to butane. Different LPG
composition (propane:butane) of 80:20, 60:40, 40:60, and 20:80 are used in this study. In
addition, comparative studies of two mercaptans used as leakage identifiers and two
inhibitors used for hydrate formation reduction are examined. Aspen-HYSYS process
simulator is used to determine the heating value.
Keywords: LPG, heating value, hydrate formation, Aspen HYSYS

*Author for Correspondence E-mail: saifulraju@yahoo.com

INTRODUCTION
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is a mixture of
hydrocarbons such as propane (C3H8), propene
(C3H6), n-butane (C4H10), isobutene (methylpropane), and various proportions of other
butanes (C4H8). Traces of ethane and pentane
may also exist in the mixture [1, 2]. The
attention towards LPG is increasing day by
day due to its various applications [3]. It is
expected to use LPG not only as an efficient
alternative domestic fuel but also as a fuel in
commercial business, in industry, in
automotive engines, in transportation, farming,
power generation, and heating purposes in
Bangladesh [46]. LPG, a substitute for
petroleum, is also considered a means of
reducing the emission of COx, NOx, soot and
particulate matter [7]. There is no universal
standard for LPG composition observed in the
literature [8]. The LPG fuel composition may
vary from one source to another. Table 1
shows the variation in LPG fuel composition
obtained from various sources.
Heating value is the most important property
of any fuel, which is defined as the amount of
heat obtained from the complete combustion
of one unit-weight fuel. Because of the
different composition of propane, butane and
other lower and higher hydrocarbons in LPG

that are used today, it can give different


heating value. In addition, LPG hydrates that
are solids crystalline compounds can cause
several problems in the production,
transportation, storage and use of liquefied
petroleum gases. In a previous study [4], the
authors investigated the effect of ethane,
hydrogen sulfide, moisture, and mercaptan
composition on heating value of LPG. In
another study, Sarker et al. [5] studied the
effect of various inhibitors on hydrate
formation. To understand how LPG fuel
composition with different additives/inhibitors
affects heating value, this study is carried out
using four different compositions of LPG fuel.
Therefore, the main objective of this paper is
to study the effects of different additives and
inhibitors on the heating value of LPG with
different LPG compositions.

METHODOLOGY
In this work, HYSYS simulation package is
used to determine the heating value of LPG.
Aspen HYSYS process simulator is a core
element
of
AspenTechs
aspenONE
engineering applications. It has already been
proved as an efficient simulator with
reasonable accuracy. A comprehensive
thermodynamics foundation for accurate
determination of physical properties, transport

JoPET (2015) 51-57 STM Journals 2014. All Rights Reserved

Page 51

Effect of Variation in LPG Composition

Hussain and Alam

properties, and phase behavior [5] can be


obtained by using Aspen HYSYS. It can be
used to determine lower heating values if the
inlet conditions like temperature, pressure, and
composition are specified. A new file in
Aspen-HYSYS is opened and a package unit
(e.g., SI unit) is chosen from preference tab.
The various components (e.g., ethane,
propane, propene, butane, pentane, mercaptan,
water, methanol, ethylene, glycol, etc.) are
selected
from
the
component
tab.
Subsequently, a fluid package which is essential to calculate various physical process data
is selected. In this case, Peng-Robinson is

selected from the fluid package tab because


this fluid package is specially designed to
handle hydrocarbons. After entering into the
simulation environment, an LPG mixture or
stream is simulated combining propane,
butane, and other components of desired
compositions at the specified condition in user
interface of Aspen-HYSYS. Then, in the
composition tab of LPG feed steam various
compositions of propane, butane and other
additives/inhibitors are entered to obtain the
heating value.

Table 1: LPG Fuel Compositions (% by Volume).


Sample
LPG composition
Ethane
Propane
Propene
Butane

Butene

Pentane

i-Butane
n-Butane
t-2-Butene

A [9]

B [9]

C [10]

D [10]

E [2]

F [10]

G [11]

0.72
68.62

1.47
18.00

49.00

95.40

49.00

2.70

0.02

3.12
6.37

9.80
13.40

0.30
15.40

1.80
1.40

8.00
21.00

1.50
28.10

13.73
42.33

18.80

53.64

28.00
1.20

0.20

15.00

15.60
14.30

27.75
6.72

1.00
1.00

13.50
8.60

7.71
0.78

1.00

14.20

1-Butene
c-2-Butene

0.59

0.64

i-Butene
i-Pentane

1.32

2.24

n-Pentane
Hydrogen sulfide

0.94
0.40

1.50

0.05
0.05

Moisture

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Effect of Propene and Butene (Alkene)
Unsaturated hydrocarbon such as propene and
different butenes may exist in LPG. Figure 1a
shows the change of heating value with
increasing concentration of propene for
various LPG compositions. It is found that
the heating value decreases with increasing
the percentage of propene. However, the rate
of reduction in heating value is very small
when LPG contains more portion of propane.
This indicates that LPG with high
composition of propane can be substituted by
propene keeping similar heating value.
Figure 1b presents the lower heating value
against
butene
content
for
various

compositions of LPG. From the figure, it can


be seen that there is no obvious and
significant advantage in terms of heating
value by increasing the percentage of butene
when the LPG contains more portion of
butane. If LPG contains more proportion of
propane, heating value slightly increases with
increasing the concentration of butene in
LPG. Therefore, the Presence of butene in
LPG with high composition of propane is
expected to be better to produce high heating
value fuel. From these figures, it can be
summarized that both propene and butene
would be able to contribute in improving the
fuel quality in terms of heating value when
the composition of propane in LPG is high.

JoPET (2015) 51-57 STM Journals 2014. All Rights Reserved

Page 52

Journal of Petroleum Engineering & Technology


Volume 5, Issue 1
ISSN: 2231-1785(online), ISSN: 2321-5178(print)

(a)

Lower Heating Value (kJ/kgmole)

2.60E+06
2.50E+06
2.40E+06
2.30E+06
2.20E+06
2.10E+06

C3:C4=80:20

2.00E+06

C3:C4=60:40
C3:C4=40:60

1.90E+06

C3:C4=20:80

1.80E+06
0

10

Propene Content (volume %)


2.60E+06

Lower Heating Value (kJ/kgmole)

2.55E+06

C3:C4=80:20

C3:C4=60:40

C3:C4=40:60

C3:C4=20:80

(b)

2.50E+06
2.45E+06
2.40E+06
2.35E+06
2.30E+06
2.25E+06
2.20E+06
2.15E+06
2.10E+06
0

10

Butene Content (volume %)

Fig. 1: Change of Heating Value with (a) Propene and (b) Butene Content for various
Compositions of LPG.
Effect of Ethane and Pentane (Alkane)
Commercial LPG always contains small
amount of lower and higher saturated
hydrocarbon (ethane and pentane). Hence it is
important to know the effect of these
hydrocarbons on LPG heating value.

Figures 2a and 2b present the change of


heating
value
with
the
increasing
concentration of ethane and pentane,
respectively. The heating value decreases with
increasing the concentration of ethane. In
contrast, a reverse tendency is observed for

JoPET (2015) 51-57 STM Journals 2014. All Rights Reserved

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Effect of Variation in LPG Composition

Hussain and Alam

pentane. This means the presence of


hydrocarbon (alkane) with a lower number of
carbons than propane and butane will always
decrease the heating value regardless of the
LPG composition. In contrast, higher

hydrocarbon shows a continuous increase in


heating value. Therefore, the lower
hydrocarbons need to be removed as much as
possible from the LPG before use for getting a
high heating value fuel.

Lower Heating Value (kJ/kgmole)

2.60E+06

(a)

2.50E+06
2.40E+06
2.30E+06
2.20E+06
2.10E+06
C3:C4=80:20

2.00E+06

C3:C4=60:40

1.90E+06

C3:C4=40:60

1.80E+06

C3;C4=20:80
0

10

Lower Heating Value (kJ/kgmole)

Ethane Content (volume %)

(b)

2.70E+06
2.60E+06
2.50E+06
2.40E+06
2.30E+06
2.20E+06
2.10E+06

C3:C4=80:20

2.00E+06

C3:C4=60:40

1.90E+06

C3:C4=40:60
C3:C4=20:80

1.80E+06
0

10

Pentane Content (volume %)

Fig. 2: Change of Heating Value with (a) Ethane and (b) Pentane Content for various
Compositions of LPG.
Effect of Hydrogen Sulfide and Moisture
Content
Commercial LPG always contains moisture
and sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide as
impurities [12, 13]. Hence, it is important to
know the effect of these impurities on LPG
heating value. Figures 3a and 3b present the
heating value against hydrogen sulfide (H2S)
and moisture content for various compositions
of LPG. From these figures, it can be seen that

the heating value decreases with the increasing


proportion of moisture and hydrogen sulfide in
LPG. In addition, the presence of moisture in
LPG leads to clogging of regulators, valves,
fittings etc. and H2S enhances the occurrence
of corrosion. This means considering the
heating value and negative effect in plant
accessories, it is essential to remove moisture
and sulfur compounds by suitable treatment at
the refinery.

JoPET (2015) 51-57 STM Journals 2014. All Rights Reserved

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Journal of Petroleum Engineering & Technology


Volume 5, Issue 1
ISSN: 2231-1785(online), ISSN: 2321-5178(print)

Fig. 3: Change of Heating Value with (a) H2S and (b) Moisture Content for various
Compositions of LPG.
Effect of Different Mercaptans Addition
Mercaptan (methyl or ethyl) is used with
commercial LPG to identify the leakage of
LPG from cylinder. Figure 4 compares the
effects of M-mercaptan and E-mercaptan on
heating value of LPG. It is found that with the
increasing percentage of both M-mercaptan
and E-mercaptan, the heating value of LPG
decreases. For adding 10% of M-mercaptan,

LPG loses 4.4% of its heating value while Emercaptan shows only 1.97%. This means, the
reduction in heating value of LPG using Emercaptan is almost half than that of Mmercaptan. Moreover, E-mercaptan is a noncorrosive material, and it consists of lower
sulfur content than M-mercaptan. Therefore,
E-mercaptan is the better choice to use as a
leakage identifier of LPG.

Fig. 4: Change of Heating Value with Two Mercaptan Content for LPG (C3:C4 = 70-30).

JoPET (2015) 51-57 STM Journals 2014. All Rights Reserved

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Effect of Variation in LPG Composition

Hussain and Alam

Fig. 5: Change of Heating Value with Two Inhibitors Content for LPG (C3:C4 = 70:30).
Effect of LPG Hydrate Inhibitors Addition
Additives injection is generally required for
LPG in order to prevent corrosion and hydrate
formation in the storage and transmission
system. Methanol and mono-ethylene-glycol
(MEG) are two most common thermodynamic
hydrate inhibitors. Therefore, it is important to
know the effect of these additives on LPG
heating value. Figure 5 compares the effect of
Methanol and mono-ethylene-glycol (MEG)
on LPG (C3:C4 = 70:30) heating value. It can
be seen that with the increasing percentage of
methanol and MEG, the heating value of LPG
is decreasing. For adding 10% of methanol
and MEG separately, LPG loses 6.42 and
2.29% of its heating value respectively.
Methanol has been recognized and used as a
hydrate inhibitor for nearly as long as the
hydrate problem has been known. To prevent
hydrate formation, methanol is efficient due to
its low freezing point, high solvability and
relatively lower direct cost [13,14]. However,
methanol cannot be regenerated and reused.
Moreover, the reduction in heating value of
LPG using methanol is higher than that of
using MEG. On the other hand, MEG is
reliable and stable. It can be regenerated and

re-injected, and is therefore more cost efficient


[14] and a better choice.

CONCLUSIONS
In this study, the effects of various
components on the heating value of LPG are
investigated by using Aspen HYSIS process
simulator. The main results obtained from this
study are as follows:
The presence of different components
such as ethane, propene, moisture and
hydrogen sulfide always decreases the
heating value, while pentane and butene
increase the heating value of LPG.
Hydrocarbon with higher numbers of
carbon than propane and butane will
always increase the heating value of LPG.
Both propene and butene would be able to
contribute in improving the fuel quality in
terms of heating value when the
composition of propane in LPG is high.
E-mercaptan is a better choice for leakage
identifier of LPG compared to Mmercaptan.
Mono-ethylene-glycol (MEG) can be used
as a hydrate inhibitor by reducing less
heating value compared to methanol.

JoPET (2015) 51-57 STM Journals 2014. All Rights Reserved

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Journal of Petroleum Engineering & Technology


Volume 5, Issue 1
ISSN: 2231-1785(online), ISSN: 2321-5178(print)

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Cite this Article:


Hussain Istiak, Alam Md. Saiful. Effect
of variation in LPG composition on
heating value using Aspen HYSYS.
Journal of Petroleum Engineering &
Technology. 2015; 5(1): 5157p.

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