Project Synopsis

Determined the feasibility of operating a propane fractionation system using chilled glycol instead of air-cooled overhead condensors.

Project Summary

EVALUATION OF A LIGHT ENDS FRACTIONATION SYSTEM FOR GLYCOL COOLING OPERATION

Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted by the client, a producer of aerosol propellants, to evaluate an existing light ends fractionation system for the production of propane.  PROCESS had previously assessed propane production in this system using the air-cooled overhead condensers.  This evaluation, an add-on to the original assessment project, determined the feasibility of operating the system using chilled glycol that would become available as part of a proposed plant expansion.

PROCESS performed the following tasks in support of this effort:

  • Using PROCESS' licensed commercial computer process simulation software the existing fractionation towers were modeled for two propane feedstocks.  The conditions simulated for each case were governed by the plant’s current product purity and recovery.
  • Simulation results were then used to assess the column’s hydraulic loading.  Process parameters were manipulated to maximize column throughput while maintaining loading within a normal design range.
  • The plant's glycol and hot oil systems were evaluated to ensure these systems were capable of delivering the required utilities at the prescribed operating conditions.

The operating conditions determined in the study were summarized in a letter report submitted to the client.  The results showed significant production increases could be achieved with the installation of appropriate heat exchangers and condensers.

Industry Type

  • Light-ends Hydrocarbon Production

Utilized Skills

  • Fractionation system design
  • Utilities systems evaluation
  • Front end engineering design (FEED)

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