Efficient gasoline blending is a fundamental strategy in refineries to survive in an environment of increasing competition and an ever-changing geopolitical and economic environment. Operating costs in on-line gasoline blending are considered of being fixed cost. This means that reducing costs / barrel of feedstock to be blended, and elimination of reprocessing are the keys to increase the profit of gasoline blending.
Cost reducing actions in crude blending include:
- Preventing giveaways
- Errorless switching between blending recipes, different types of gasoline and summer and winter gasoline
- Maximized incorporation of lower cost feedstock, without losing required gasoline specification
- Minimizing “high cost” RON boosting feedstock
- Keeping physical parameters closest to those specification borders that can be composed of by utilization of cheapest blend components.
- Fast “adjusting” of the ratio between different process streams, in case physical properties drift away from their required values.
Each component to be blended will differently influence one or more physical properties. This makes on-line process analytics of a variety of different gasoline properties essential in economic gasoline blending. Whereas conventionally, a complex of different on-line expensive process analyzers, such as knock engines, were required, nowadays the BEACON 3000 NIR process analyzers is a low cost and simple to install alternative to measure a broad scope of different physical properties which is performed by one analyzer and by one single measurement.
The combination of continuous screening of a broad range physical properties of each incoming feed stream and final blend are fundamentals in economizing gasoline blending. The BEACON 3000 has the benefit to measure up to a distance of 3 km away from a central analyzer without losing the intensity of the spectroscopic signal. By installing up to eight different measuring probes, various incoming process streams and the blend can be measured by one single analyzer placed in the control room.
Accuracy and reliability are critical in on-line process analyzers. Single sporadic discrepancies between ASTM measured laboratory results and correlative analyzer results can occur. However, a constant bias between analyzer results and laboratory results is inacceptable. Incorporation of propriety software FREETUNE ™ eliminates continuously occurring incompatibilities between the Beacon 3000 NIR process analyzer and laboratory analyzes, by repeatedly validating NIR and lab results.
The correcting actions, which are performed by FREETUNE ™, ensures continuous compliance between predicted NIR values and laboratory measurements of physical properties. The following figures illustrate the correlation between representative BEACON 3000 and laboratory measurements in gasoline throughout a prolonged period of time.
Accuracy and reliability of on-line measured quantitative data of the BEACON 3000 NIR process analyzers are the basics to the successful implementation of a many gasoline-blending stations worldwide.