The vacuum transfer line is an essential part of the crude oil distillation process. A well designed transfer line can not only help to increase the evaporation rate, but also improve the product’s quality. An Ant Colony Optimization Based Methodology was obtained to the design of vacuum transfer line.
In the vacuum transfer line, both gas and liquid existed and mass transferred between two phases. The pressure and temperature distribution in inclined pipes was modeled by the Beggs-Brill correlation and the vaporization process was modeled by a flashing flow model. When routing the vacuum transfer line with the ACO algorithm, the selection probability was calculated by combining relative importance of pheromone deposited by ants from different inlets, the pressure drop caused by the next pipeline section and the total length of the pipeline. This design methodology is total automatic and one only need to input relevant coordinates of pipelines’ inlets and the outlet. Then the iteration process will begin and the calculation result will output after the iteration. Case study was presented to demonstrate the availability and efficiency of the proposed algorithm, and computational time of this algorithm is within a couple of seconds which is far smaller than that of other algorithms.
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