Chemical processing is often distillation intensive and distillation is one of the most energy intensive unit operations. This provides a prime opportunity to reduce energy consumption, cost, and related emissions.
A common cause of excess energy usage in distillation operations is tower “windup”. In pursuit of desired overhead or bottoms stream compositions, reflux and heat to the reboiler are often sequentially increased. This may achieve the desired compositions, but leads to maximum energy consumption and the potential to reach unstable operating conditions.
EP Monitoring provides a logic based program that provides analysis of current performance and guidance on process changes to realize target compositions at minimum energy. Console operators retain control of the process. A key challenge is addressing reluctance to moving the process away from traditional comfort zones to realize improvement.
The software is easy to implement and provides a readily applicable alternative to more sophisticated control methods that are much more costly and resource intensive to maintain.
Application of the EPM software tool on a number of towers has resulted in significant measured improvement and cost savings.