Retrofit of the Heat Recovery System of a Petroleum Refinery Using Pinch Analysis


Energy efficiency has become an important feature in the design of process plants with the rising cost of energy and the more stringent environmental regulations being implemented worldwide. In South Africa, as elsewhere, most process plants built during the era of cheap energy place little emphasis on the need for energy recovery due to the abundance of cheap utilities sources such as coal. In most of these plants, there exist significant potential for substantial process heat recovery by conceptual design of the heat recovery system. By maximizing heat recovery from the processes, there will be a reduction in the process utilities requirement and the associated environmental effects. Pinch analysis has been demonstrated to be a simple but very effective tool for heat integration and optimization of chemical plants. This study uses the pinch principle to retrofit the heat exchanger networks (HEN) of the crude distillation unit of an integrated petroleum refinery to evolve a HEN that features optimum energy recovery. The network was further relaxed by trading off energy cost with capital cost to obtain an optimal HEN topology not too different from the existing network. The simulation works were implemented in AspenPlus v8.0 environment. Analysis revealed that 34 per cent saving on energy usage per annum is realizable. This significant saving in energy also results in diminished gaseous pollutants associated with energy usage.

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Joe, J. and Rabiu, A. (2013) Retrofit of the Heat Recovery System of a Petroleum Refinery Using Pinch Analysis. Journal of Power and Energy Engineering, 1, 47-52. doi: 10.4236/jpee.2013.15007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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