The Importance of Process Simulation for Plant Optimisation

Plant revamp studies and complete plant simulations with matched plant operating data are the foundation for revamp concepts. Just recently we completed a +20% debottlenecking of a hydrogen peroxide plant where ultra-pure hydrogen is used as the feedstock for hydrogen peroxide production. 

This involved rigorous simulation of the process and utilities, including a full hydraulic analysis to optimise the plant pressure profile. 

This was essential since the plant is constrained at the inlet based on natural gas supply pressure and constrained on the outlet due to the minimum operating pressure requirement of the Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) beds which purify the gas stream to produce ultra-pure hydrogen. 

With HTRI heat exchanger design software integrated into the simulation, we were also able to seamlessly redesign two heat exchangers which were constraining the plant.

The output from the simulation provided all the process engineering data necessary to complete capacity checks of the whole plant from major equipment items through to control valves, relief valves, piping systems and flow instrument calibration.

Aligning the simulation with lab analysis also allows catalyst approach to equilibrium to be calculated and catalyst performance to be monitored over time. 

This allows plant operating parameters such as reformer outlet temperature and steam to carbon ratio to be optimised for both plant efficiency and catalyst activity over the life of the catalyst. 

The simulation also allows the water content of the gas stream to be determined which is otherwise difficult to ascertain with laboratory gas analysis limited to dry gas basis analysis only.


To learn more about this topic, contact Richard Wilson at Process Group. 
EMAIL rwilson@processgroup.co.nz