In the Name of God

Pet r ol eum Uni ver si t y of Technol ogy
Ahwaz Facul t y of Pet r ol eum Engi neer i ng
Gas Engi neer i ng Depar t ment
Hysys Cour se Pr oj ect
Instructor: S. Haji mi rzaee
2008
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Air Separation into Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Argon
Background
The purification of various components of air, in particular oxygen, nitrogen, and
argon, is an important industrial process. A feasibility study is to be performed to
investigate the possibility of producing 1500 metric tons per day of 99.5% oxygen, 5000
metric tons per day of 99.5% nitrogen, and 58 metric tons of 99.9% argon from air.
The major cost associated with the separation of air is the cost of electricity to
compress the inlet air, which normally comprises 95% of the utility costs of a cryogenic
plant. Thus, the goal of the design is to minimize the cost of compression.
Process Description
Figure 1 shows a BFD of the overall process.
Unit 100
Figure 2 shows a PFD for the cryogenic distillation of air, Unit 100. This process
was modeled after the Linde Double Column [1]. In the proposed design, a two-stage
centrifugal compressor, with interstage cooling, is used to compress air to 9 atm. The air
is then further cooled to 107 K in E-102 and E-103. Stream 7 is then sent to T-101 to
begin the separation process. The top product, Stream 10, is throttled to 1.0 atm, and then
fed to the top of the vapor column, T-102. The bottoms, Stream 8, is also throttled to 1.0
atm and fed to T-102. The overhead product of T-102, Stream 13, which is 99%
nitrogen, is sent to E-101 where it is used as a coolant for the interstage cooling of the
compressor. The bottom product, which is 99.5% oxygen, is cooled and sent to storage.
A vapor draw stream, Stream 16, is taken from tray 10 and sent to the argon purification
system, Unit 200.
The condenser of T-101 and the reboiler of T-102 are interconnected in E-105 so
that the condenser provides the heat needed by the reboiler, and the reboiler provides the
cooling needed by the condenser. Stream 20 from the argon purification unit, which is
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99% nitrogen, is recycled back to combine with Stream 9. Oxygen rich Stream 15 is
recycled back to the bottom of T-102.
Unit 200
A PFD of the argon separation unit is shown in Figure 3. Stream 16, from Unit
100 is sent through E-205 to provide the heat sink for Stream 30. Since Stream 30 has a
much smaller flow rate than Stream 16, Stream 16 does not change appreciably in
temperature. Stream 17 is then sent to T-201 where nitrogen is separated from oxygen
and argon. The nitrogen-rich distillate, Stream 20, is recycled back to Unit 100. The
bottoms, Stream 23, is then sent to T-202 where the argon and oxygen are separated. The
oxygen-rich bottom stream, Stream 15, from T-202 is recycled back to Unit 100. Stream
22 is now combined with hydrogen and allowed to heat up to near ambient temperature,
Stream 23, compressed and sent to a combustion chamber where hydrogen is
catalytically-combusted with oxygen to form water. The effluent, Stream 26, is cooled
and then flashed in V-201 to remove any water that is present. The water is removed in
Stream 27 and the argon-rich stream is sent to T-203 to separate out the remaining
nitrogen that is present. The nitrogen exits as the distillate, Stream 30, and vented to the
atmosphere. 99.9% pure argon exits as the bottoms stream, Stream 31.
¯
Necessary Information and Simulation Hints
• Argon is present in the amount of 0.93% by volume of air. This presence of
argon makes it impossible to obtain pure oxygen and nitrogen streams from
the air separation plants. Therefore, argon is drawn out of T-102 of the
cryogenic system and purified for sale. Tower profiles identify the draw location
at the stage where the argon concentration is at a maximum.
• Since the boiling point of argon is between that of oxygen and nitrogen, it acts as
an impurity in the product streams. If argon were collected and separated
from the oxygen product, an oxygen purity of less than 95% by volume would
result. On the other hand, if argon were collected with the nitrogen product, the
purity of nitrogen would not exceed 98.7% by volume. Both oxygen and nitrogen
must be greater than 99.9% pure to sell, so the elimination of argon is necessary [1].
• Inlet and outlet pressure of C-101 and C-102 Compressors are known, so the
pressure of between them is known, too.
• The pressure drop in all heat exchangers is zero. Ambient temperature is 300 K and
approach temperature for HX is 15 K.
• Composition of air assume as follow:
Component Mole Fraction (%)
Nitrogen 78.1
Oxygen 0.9
Argon 21
• This process requires very complicated heat integration techniques because the
only heat sink for cooling or condensation is another cryogenic stream in the
process. E-201 uses liquid nitrogen produced in the plant. E-203 and E-206 can
use liquid nitrogen from the plant or cold nitrogen from Stream 13. These are not
shown in the PFD.
'
Equipment Summary
C-101 Feed Compressor (Stage 1)
C-102 Feed Compressor (Stage 2)
C-201 Compressor
E-101 Interstage Cooler
E-102 Heat Exchanger
E-103 Heat Exchanger
E-104 Reboiler
E-105 Condenser-Reboiler
E-106 Heat Exchanger
E-201 Nitrogen Tower Condenser
E-202 NitrogenTower Reboiler
E-203 Argon Tower Condenser
E-204 Argon Tower Reboiler
E-205 Heat Exchanger
E-206 Heat Exchanger
E-207 Heat Exchanger
E-208 Argon Purification Condenser
E-209 Argon Purification Reboiler
P-201A/B Reflux Pump
P-202A/B Reflux Pump
P-203A/B Reflux Pump
R-201 Combustion Reactor
T-101 LindeLower Column
T-102 Linde Upper Column
T-201 Nitrogen Separation Tower
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T-202 Argon Separation Tower
T-203 Argon Purification Tower
V-201 Reflux Vessel
V-202 Reflux Vessel
V-203 Flash Vessel
V-204 Reflux Vessel
References
1. Barron, Randall F., Cryogenic Systems, 2
nd
ed., Oxford University Press, New York,
1985, pp.199-211.
(Please see Fig 4 for details)
¹
Stream Tables
Stream 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Temp. (K) 300 446 315 468 315 107 99 99 82
Press. (atm) 1 3 3 9 9 9 5 5 1
Vapor Fraction 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
Total Flow (kmol/h) 9468 9468 9468 9468 9468 9468 9468 4100 4100
Component Flows (kmol/h)
Nitrogen 7397 7397 7397 7397 7397 7397 7397 2135 2135
Argon 87 87 87 87 87 87 87 71 71
Oxygen 1985 1985 1985 1985 1985 1985 1985 1893 1893
Water -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Hydrogen -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Stream 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Temp. (K) 95 78 78 78 300 90 84.7 85.6
Press. (atm) 5 1 1 1 1 1 1.0 1.0
Vapor Fraction 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.0 0.0
Total Flow (kmol/h) 5368 5368 5555 7450 7450 548 800.0 800.0
Component Flows (kmol/h)
Nitrogen 5261 5261 5446 7396 7396 -- 185 185
Argon 16 16 17 12 12 1 67 67
Oxygen 92 92 92 41 41 547 548 548
Water -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Hydrogen -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Stream 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Temp. (K) 90 90 78 89 87.3 300.0 84.3 89
Press. (atm) 1 1 1 1 1.0 1.0 1.0 5
Vapor Fraction 0 1 0 0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0
Total Flow (kmol/h) 1953 1953 187 613 65.4 0.7 66.1 66
Component Flows (kmol/h)
Nitrogen -- -- 185.2 0.2 0.2 -- 0.2 0.2
Argon 9.8 9.8 1.3 65.4 64.7 -- 64.7 64.7
Oxygen 1943.2 1943.2 0.2 547.8 0.5 -- 0.6 0.6
Water -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Hydrogen -- -- -- -- -- 0.7 0.7 0.7
`
Stream 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
Temp. (K) 298 298 250 250.0 250 100 103 106
Press. (atm) 5 5 5 5.0 5 5 5 5
Vapor Fraction 1 1 1 0.2 1 0 0 0
Total Flow (kmol/h) 66 66 66 0.9 65 65 0.81 64
Component Flows (kmol/h)
Nitrogen 0.2 0.2 0.2 -- 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.0
Argon 64.7 64.7 64.7 -- 64.7 64.7 0.7 64.1
Oxygen 0.6 0.2 0.2 0.2 -- -- -- --
Water -- 0.7 0.7 0.7 -- -- -- --
Hydrogen 0.7 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
^
°

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5% nitrogen. T-102.0 atm and fed to T-102. which is 99. and the reboiler provides the cooling needed by the condenser. is an important industrial process. the goal of the design is to minimize the cost of compression. The bottom product. Stream 16. Stream 20 from the argon purification unit. This process was modeled after the Linde Double Column [1]. is cooled and sent to storage. with interstage cooling. in particular oxygen. and then fed to the top of the vapor column. A feasibility study is to be performed to investigate the possibility of producing 1500 metric tons per day of 99. Process Description Figure 1 shows a BFD of the overall process. Nitrogen. is sent to E-101 where it is used as a coolant for the interstage cooling of the compressor. In the proposed design. which normally comprises 95% of the utility costs of a cryogenic plant. and argon. which is 99% nitrogen. 5000 metric tons per day of 99. is used to compress air to 9 atm. Stream 7 is then sent to T-101 to begin the separation process. The overhead product of T-102.0 atm.5% oxygen. The top product. A vapor draw stream. The major cost associated with the separation of air is the cost of electricity to compress the inlet air. The bottoms. Unit 100 Figure 2 shows a PFD for the cryogenic distillation of air. Stream 13. a two-stage centrifugal compressor.5% oxygen. The condenser of T-101 and the reboiler of T-102 are interconnected in E-105 so that the condenser provides the heat needed by the reboiler. is taken from tray 10 and sent to the argon purification system.Air Separation into Oxygen. is also throttled to 1. Stream 8. which is . Unit 100. is throttled to 1. and 58 metric tons of 99. Unit 200. nitrogen. Stream 10.9% argon from air. and Argon Background The purification of various components of air. The air is then further cooled to 107 K in E-102 and E-103. Thus.

Unit 200 A PFD of the argon separation unit is shown in Figure 3. Stream 15. The water is removed in Stream 27 and the argon-rich stream is sent to T-203 to separate out the remaining nitrogen that is present. Stream 23. compressed and sent to a combustion chamber where hydrogen is catalytically-combusted with oxygen to form water. is recycled back to Unit 100. is then sent to T-202 where the argon and oxygen are separated. Stream 20. Oxygen rich Stream 15 is recycled back to the bottom of T-102. from T-202 is recycled back to Unit 100. The nitrogen exits as the distillate. Stream 17 is then sent to T-201 where nitrogen is separated from oxygen and argon. The oxygen-rich bottom stream. . is recycled back to combine with Stream 9. Stream 31. from Unit 100 is sent through E-205 to provide the heat sink for Stream 30. Stream 23. Stream 16. The effluent. Stream 26. 99. Stream 22 is now combined with hydrogen and allowed to heat up to near ambient temperature. The nitrogen-rich distillate. The bottoms.99% nitrogen. Stream 16 does not change appreciably in temperature. and vented to the atmosphere.9% pure argon exits as the bottoms stream. is cooled and then flashed in V-201 to remove any water that is present. Stream 30. Since Stream 30 has a much smaller flow rate than Stream 16.

93% by volume of air.9% pure to sell.9 21 This process requires very complicated heat integration techniques because the only heat sink for cooling or condensation is another cryogenic stream in the process. If argon were collected and separated from the oxygen product. Tower profiles identify the draw location at the stage where the argon concentration is at a maximum. E-203 and E-206 can use liquid nitrogen from the plant or cold nitrogen from Stream 13. too. if argon were collected with the nitrogen product. it acts as an impurity in the product streams. These are not shown in the PFD.Necessary Information and Simulation Hints • Argon is present in the amount of 0. Ambient temperature is 300 K and approach temperature for HX is 15 K. . E-201 uses liquid nitrogen produced in the plant.7% by volume. On the other hand. argon is drawn out of T-102 of the cryogenic system and purified for sale. Therefore.1 0. • The pressure drop in all heat exchangers is zero. so the pressure of between them is known. Both oxygen and nitrogen must be greater than 99. • Since the boiling point of argon is between that of oxygen and nitrogen. • Inlet and outlet pressure of C-101 and C-102 Compressors are known. an oxygen purity of less than 95% by volume would result. the purity of nitrogen would not exceed 98. so the elimination of argon is necessary [1]. • Composition of air assume as follow: Component Nitrogen Oxygen Argon • Mole Fraction (%) 78. This presence of argon makes it impossible to obtain pure oxygen and nitrogen streams from the air separation plants.

Equipment Summary C-101 C-102 C-201 E-101 E-102 E-103 E-104 E-105 E-106 E-201 E-202 E-203 E-204 E-205 E-206 E-207 E-208 E-209 P-201A/B P-202A/B P-203A/B R-201 T-101 T-102 T-201 Feed Compressor (Stage 1) Feed Compressor (Stage 2) Compressor Interstage Cooler Heat Exchanger Heat Exchanger Reboiler Condenser-Reboiler Heat Exchanger Nitrogen Tower Condenser NitrogenTower Reboiler Argon Tower Condenser Argon Tower Reboiler Heat Exchanger Heat Exchanger Heat Exchanger Argon Purification Condenser Argon Purification Reboiler Reflux Pump Reflux Pump Reflux Pump Combustion Reactor LindeLower Column Linde Upper Column Nitrogen Separation Tower .

New York. 1985. Randall F.199-211. pp. 2nd ed. (Please see Fig 4 for details) . Cryogenic Systems. Oxford University Press.. Barron.T-202 T-203 V-201 V-202 V-203 V-204 References Argon Separation Tower Argon Purification Tower Reflux Vessel Reflux Vessel Flash Vessel Reflux Vessel 1..

0 185 67 548 --- Stream 18 19 20 21 Temp.5 --- 23 300.0 -1 547 --185 67 548 --- 17 85.7 24 84.0 66.7 0. (K) 90 90 78 89 Press.0 1.0 0.7 25 89 5 0 66 0. (K) Press.6 1.4 0. (atm) Vapor Fraction Total Flow (kmol/h) Component Flows (kmol/h) Nitrogen Argon Oxygen Water Hydrogen 1 300 1 1 9468 7397 87 1985 --2 446 3 1 9468 7397 87 1985 --3 315 3 1 9468 7397 87 1985 --4 468 9 1 9468 7397 87 1985 --5 315 9 1 9468 7397 87 1985 --6 107 9 1 9468 7397 87 1985 --7 99 5 1 9468 7397 87 1985 --8 99 5 0 4100 2135 71 1893 --9 82 1 0 4100 2135 71 1893 --- Stream Temp.0 0.6 -0.0 548 800.6 -0. (K) Press.1 0.2 547.2 64.2 Argon 9.7 ----0.2 0.0 65.7 0.3 65.0 0.7 .2 1943.0 0.3 1.0 0 0.8 1.0 1.2 64. (atm) 1 1 1 1 Vapor Fraction 0 1 0 0 Total Flow (kmol/h) 1953 1953 187 613 Component Flows (kmol/h) Nitrogen --185.Stream Tables Stream Temp.7 1 1. (atm) Vapor Fraction Total Flow (kmol/h) Component Flows (kmol/h) Nitrogen Argon Oxygen Water Hydrogen 10 95 5 0 5368 5261 16 92 --- 11 78 1 0 5368 5261 16 92 --- 12 78 1 0 5555 5446 17 92 --- 13 78 1 1 7450 7396 12 41 --- 14 300 1 1 7450 7396 12 41 --- 15 16 90 84.3 1.8 9.7 0.2 64.8 Water ----Hydrogen ----- 22 87.2 0.4 Oxygen 1943.0 800.

2 64.2 0.7 0.2 66 0. (K) Press.0 1 0.2 64.0 5 5.6 -0. (atm) Vapor Fraction Total Flow (kmol/h) Component Flows (kmol/h) Nitrogen Argon Oxygen Water Hydrogen 26 298 5 1 66 0.1 ---- .7 -- 30 250 5 1 65 0.2 64.9 0.2 0.7 0.7 27 298 5 1 66 0.2 64.2 0.0 64.Stream Temp.2 64.7 ---0.2 0.81 0.7 ---- 32 103 5 0 0.7 -- 28 29 250 250.7 ---- 33 106 5 0 64 0.7 0.7 ---- 31 100 5 0 65 0.

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