It is a common practice in refineries to apply simulation software to optimize the operation of crude distillation units (CDU). These programs are based on the optimization of crude blends and process conditions, and contribute to maximize the production capacity of required distillates to the greatest extent.

The key for simulation of crude blends with characteristic properties that enables most efficient distillation requires software that relies on a large database of crude oil assay data that covers a wide range of different crude oils.
Crude distillation is a dynamic process. Efficient operation of the CDU can only be achieved when the quality of the process streams are continuously monitored. The quality of the crude feed fluctuates during the distillation process, especially in case of crude switching. This requires ongoing to adjust the process condition, in any case of discrepancies between the measured crude quality and the simulated prognoses.

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Modcon’s MOD 8000 NMR process analyzer has the capability to instantaneously analyze several physical properties of the different CDU process streams, transparent and opaque alike. Its analytical data, enables the CDU operators on-line adjustment to be made.

Modcon is cooperating with Prometheus SRL to integrate three technologies, the feedstock characterization, the thermodynamic simulation and the NMR process analyzer, in one single package of hardware and software. It will afford an highly effective tool to the refineries to efficiently operate their crude distillation unit. The simulation software will continuously update the quality of the feedstock in the simulated distillation model by incorporation of the analytical data from the on-line NMR process analyzers. This enables automatic and continuous adjustment of distillation parameters according to the properties of the incoming crude oil.

Integration of NMR on-line process analyzers with characterization and simulation software will increase the CDU efficiency and by improving the refining margin influence the refinery profit.