Applications of Liquid Process Analyzers in Refineries

Erik Budlong, Galvanic Applied Sciences, Lowell, MA, USA
Guy Mesika, Modcon Systems, Akko, Israel
Mark Druy, Galvanic Applied Sciences, Lowell, Lowell, Ma, Usa

Petroleum refineries house multiple operations that are dependent on the type of crude oil refined and the products that are produced.  However, regardless of the size, crude source, produced products; refineries are complex operations.  The precise operation of a refinery may differ but there are many of the processes, which, although having small differences in the precise mode of operation, have many common analysis points for control, and optimization of the processing.

Refineries are moving towards more efficient practices to reduce production costs. Refineries process complex mixtures of crude oil through desalting, distillation, and other methods.

These processes include the following:

  • Distillation / Fractionation – heating crude to mostly vapor, then condensing the vapor into different fractions to produce the desired cut
  • Conversion (Cracking and Reforming) – using catalysts and/or heat to produce products with the desired properties
  • Treating (Hydrotreating, Chemical Treating) – using catalysts and chemicals, remove impurities from the hydrocarbons
  • Combining – using catalysts and chemicals, combine molecules to form others
  • Blending – blend various fractions together to obtain desired finished properties

They also use larger quantities of water and steam for cooling, distillation, hydrocarbon cracking, washing, scrubbing, and desalting. These processes require precise analysis to achieve the highest plant efficiency. Continuous monitoring provides opportunities to improve product quality, better comply with environmental regulations, and to reduce operational costs. This presentation will highlight potential applications for liquid process monitoring and analysis.

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