Chemical Engineering Research & Design, Vol.91, No.8, 1517-1526, 2013
Constrained thermohydraulic optimization of the flow rate distribution in crude preheat trains
Crude preheat trains are heat exchanger networks which heat the crude oil stream in the petroleum distillation using hot product streams and pumparounds. The final heating step is executed in a furnace. The thermal efficiency of this process is strongly dependent on the crude preheat train performance, and, during the refinery operation, the heat load of the exchangers may decrease due to fouling. Associated to the reduction of the thermal effectiveness of the heat exchangers, fouling also causes an increase of the flow resistances along the thermal equipment. A potential approach to mitigate this problem is based on the optimization of the distribution of the flow rates in the crude preheat train for maximizing the final crude temperature. In this context, this paper presents a constrairied nonlinear programming formulation for this task. The equality constraints encompass mass, energy and mechanical energy balances and heat exchanger equations for describing the thermal and hydraulic behavior of the system. The performance of the proposed approach is explored using two examples, a simple network and a crude preheat train based on a real Brazilian refinery. (C) 2013 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.