Truly optimal process design
PSE's design optimisation service applies model-based engineering approaches to determine optimal designs for process plants or key process equipment.
High-fidelity models – steady-state and/or dynamic – are used to simulate and optimise many aspects of equipment or process design or operation rapidly and accurately, enabling better, faster and safer decisions.
PSE's advanced process modelling technology and well-established methodologies provide us with a unique advantage.
Model-based design can be applied at a unit or process level, and at the front-end-engineering design (FEED) or detailed design stage. Typical examples are:
- optimal reactor design. High-fidelity predictive models of physics and chemistry are used – coupled with CFD models where required – for detailed design of complex reactors, including internal geometry. Catalyst shape, size and loading can also be optimised if required.
- optimal design of distillation column configuration. Mixed integer optimisation techniques are used to determine simultaneously optimal feed tray location, number of trays and heat integration as well as optimal values of 'continuous' design variables such as column diameter or operating conditions.
- optimal design of separation sections. Similar techniques are used to determine the configuration of entire separation sections for optimal CAPEX and OPEX. This can result in consolidation or elimination of columns.
- simultaneous (whole plant) optimisation of reactor and separation sections. Reactor and separation section designs are highly interdependant. Considering both sections within the same optimisation results in truly optimal design.
- optimal design of operating policy. Batch recipes can be optimised to complete in minimum time within product quality constraints, or to maximise product quality.
What are the benefits
The benefits are, quite simply, better design and better operations, leading to:
- lower capital and operating cost (CAPEX and OPEX)
- higher profitability through increased throughput and better and more consistent product quality
- faster time-to-market for new processes or technologies
- reduced technology risk
- better compliance with health, safety and environmental requirements.
In one recent reactor-and-separation design case for a petrochemicals plant, integrated oil company REPSOL were able to eliminate two columns entirely, resulting in significant capital savings.