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Justine D.

Daquioag BSChE

Mathematical Modelling of the Atmospheric Crude Oil Distillation Unit

Crude oil distillation is a multicomponent, continuous distillation process. It is the
separation of hydrocarbons in crude oil into fractions based on their boiling points which lie
within a specified range. The separation is done in a large tower that is operated at atmospheric
pressure. The crude oil distillation systems, including distillation columns and their heat recovery
systems, is the first stage of processing in a petroleum refinery. It is a highly energy intensive
process, consuming fuels at an equivalent of 1% to 2% of the crude oil processed. As the price of
energy increases, considerable effort has been made to reduce the energy requirement of the
crude oil distillation process. At the same time, increasing concerns about the environment
resulted in stricter regulations on the emission of green house gases. Consequently, both
economic and environmental issues are important factors in the design of crude oil distillation
system. Inside crude oil distillation systems, the distillation columns have strong interactions with
the associated heat recovery systems. Compared to the conventional design approach of crude oil
distillation systems, the heat-integrated design approach is more likely to and a better solution,
from which the minimized energy consumption can be obtained. Less energy consumption also
means less gas emissions, which is beneficial for the environment.
The control of crude distillation units has always been of particular interest to
researchers. Control of a process basically contains three steps; to measure, compare and adjust.
In this regards, variables which are factors that can change the condition of the process are used.
Justine D. Daquioag BSChE

Manipulated Controlled Disturbance

Heater Outlet Temperature Heavy Diesel Pump Around Feed to Atm. Column
(HADPA) Duty

Atm. Column Top Temperature Heavy Naphtha 95% Distillation

Atm. Column Top Pressure Kerosene Flash Point

Kerosene Draw-off Flow Kerosene 95% Distillation

Light Diesel Draw-off Flow Kerosene Stripper Level Control

Valve Opening
Justine D. Daquioag BSChE

Heavy Diesel Draw-off Flow Light Diesel Stripper Level

Control Valve Opening

Stripping Steam Flow Heavy Diesel Stripper Level

Control Valve Opening

Atm. Column O/H Drum Level

Control Valve Opening

Atm. Column O/H Drum Pressure

Control Valve Opening



The Transfer function approach is valid only for the linear system and the state equation
approach is valid for both, i.e., linear as well as non-linear systems. In reality, since all physical
systems are non linear to some extent, in order to use transfer functions and linear state equations
the system must first be linearized, or its range of operation be confined to a linear range.
Although the analysis and design of linear control system have been well developed, their counter
parts for non-linear systems are usually quite complex. Therefore, the control systems engineer
often has the task of determining not only how to accurately describe a system mathematically,
but more importantly, how to make proper assumptions and approximations, whenever necessary,
so that the system may be adequately characterized by a linear mathematical model.

Professional engineering judgment and decisions are important when it comes to making
assumptions related to chemical processes. Assumptions are made in order not to complicate
matters unnecessary. The followings are assumptions that apply to CDU simulation based on
Kumar et al. (2001), Luyben (1990) and Gabriel (2007):
i) Crude oil compositions are expressed in terms of pseudo-components

ii) Dynamic component of condenser and reboiler are negligible

Justine D. Daquioag BSChE

iii) Ideal heat rate balance in absence of interface resistance

iv) Equilibrium temperature is dependent variable

v) Perfect mixing in column and the fluid is incompressible

vi) Heat of mixing is negligible

vii) Fluids are in thermal equilibrium but not phase equilibrium

viii) All streams are considered to be single phase

Overall Material Balance:

d (1)
U Lj L j 1
V j 1
L j V j S j

For a particular Crude distillation column, the equation may be reduced to

f ' j ( L j , L j 1 ) (2)

Dynamic Component mass balance of stage n:

d (M n xn, j
Ln1 xn 1, j Vn1 y n 1, j Fn z n, j Ln xn, j Vn y n, j S n xn, j (3)
Dynamic general Energy Balance of stage n:
d M n hn
Ln1hn1 Vn1 H n1 Fn h f Ln hn Vn H n S n hn QM QS Qloss (4)
Equations of vapour liquid equilibrium:
To model this system some assumptions have been used, such as, the binary system (two
components) has constant relative volatility throughout the column and theoretical (100%
efficient) trays. A 100% efficient tray is a tray, in which vapour leaving a tray is in equilibrium
with the liquid on the tray. So, the simple vapour liquid equilibrium is used

x n
Yn (5)
1 ( 1) xn
xn = Liquid composition on the nth tray (mole fraction more volatile component)

Yn = Vapour composition on the nth tray (more fraction more volatile component)
= Relative volatility
If both phases are idea, the equation may be converted to Roults Equation:
Justine D. Daquioag BSChE

Pn Pn1 P (6)

P ( 0 )2 (7)
Where V0 the volumetric flow rate of live stream and K is the proportionality constant.

Equations of condenser and reflux drum:

dM D x D
Vynt ( L D) xn (8)

Equation of n Tray:

d ( M n xn )
Ln1 xn1 Ln xn V y NT 1 V yn (9)

Equation of Top Tray:

d ( M NT x NT )
Lx D LNT x NT VNT 1 Vy NT (10)
Equation of feed Tray:
d ( M NF x NF )
LNF 1 x NF 1 LNF x NF Vy NF 1 Vy NF Fz (11)
Equation of condenser:
d (M D xD )
Vynt ( L D) xn (12)
Exergy Analysis of CDU:

Ex out ExLNaphta ExHNaphta Exker osene ExDiesel ExAGO Exresidue (13)

Ex in Excrude Exsteam Ex furnace Exker osteam Exdieselsteam ExAGOsteam (14)

Usually the enthalpy of the vapour and liquid stream should be calculated as function of
temperature, pressure, and composition of each stream. However, because liquid are
incompressible and if low to moderate pressure system is assumed, then the enthalpy is calculated
as a function of temperature and composition based on linear fit of heat capacity with
hiL AiLT BiLT 2 (15)
Justine D. Daquioag BSChE

hiv AivT B vT 2 H iV (16)

H iV implies pure component heat of vaporization at reference temperature(0F for this

For multicomponent systems, mixing rules applies. The molar average of the pure component
enthalpy is the vapour enthalpy while for liquid enthalpy, non idealities is accounted for by heat
of mixing.
ln i
hmix RT i xi (17)
Vapour and liquid enthalpy for mixture therefore, is given as
h v i yi hiv (18)

h L i xi hiL hmix

Tray efficiency is a strong function of the physical properties of the vapour and liquid streams. It
is also affected, to a lesser extent, by the Sow rates and tray layout. In the latter case, only hole
diameter, hole area and weir height have a small inSuence on the tray efficiency. The optimum
design, which gives the maximum number of equilibrium stages in a column, is often obtained at
minimum tray spacing and minimum number of Sow paths that satisfy the hydraulic design


Osuolale, F. N. (2015). Energy Efficient Control and Optimization Techniques for Distillation Process.