Refining India 2023 Conference Newspaper

6-7 NOVEMBER 2023

Guiding the crude-to-chemicals complex towards a net-zero future


Nuclear gauges and alternative level technologies in critical refinery applications 3 How to keep your risk-based inspection program functioning efficiently 4

Sophie Babusiaux AND Thierry Leflour Axens

In today’s world, the expanding chemical value chain requires superior processing flexibility to shift hydrocarbons from fuels to olefins and aromatics molecules, achiev- ing excellent conversions and yields. In response to this demand, crude-to- chemicals (CTC) complexes integrate the latest advanced refining and petrochemi- cal technologies. Value capture in a CTC complex begins with pushing forward the conversion of residue streams within the conversion block, followed by the selective processing of intermediate light and heavy naphtha products in the olefins and aromat- ics blocks, respectively, to finally feed the polymers value chain. Selected mature and advanced technolo- gies must be efficiently combined in a CTC complex to convert most of the bottom of the barrel into targeted petrochemical intermediate products, including ethylene, propylene, benzene, and paraxylene. In this article, the discussed conversion blocks are centred on HS-FCC™ or H-Oil ® core technologies, which are advanced rep- resentatives of the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) or ebullated bed hydrocracking con- version routes, respectively. The selected core conversion technol- ogy is embedded in a tailored conversion scheme. Here, full conversion hydrocrack- ing units are used to upgrade atmospheric and vacuum distillates from either straight- run or cracked origin into high quality light and heavy naphtha to feed the olefins and aromatics blocks. The olefins block is organised around steam cracking technology, which is the most common route to olefins, followed by selective hydrogenations to obtain on- specification monomers and co-mono- mers to feed the high-value polymers value chain. If selected for the conversion block, HS-FCC technology adds direct propylene production at a higher yield than conven- tional FCC technologies. The ParamaX ® aromatics block produces aromatics from heavy naphtha and further embeds aromatics extraction, rearrange- ment, and purification processes. It also benefits from synergies with the conversion and olefins blocks to valorise the aromatics of all intermediate streams in accordance with the CTC concept.


Benefits of spiral and welded plate heat exchangers Enhancing environmental sustainability in the oil and gas industry: the REE concept Hybrid loading of regenerated and fresh catalyst for a lower carbon footprint Novel reactor for three-phase hydroprocessing applications Transforming hydrogen production for a greener future with water electrolysis

Chemical bases

Steam cracker & Olens production



Light Naphtha

Petrochemical transformation block


Crude oil distillation and conversion block


Ogas & light cuts



Heavy Naphtha

Naphtha upgrading & A romatics complex



Figure 1 CTC: Unlock the petrochemicals in the site


Choosing between HS-FCC or H-Oil as the core conversion technology and, beyond that, defining the adequate combination of technologies to best serve the conversion, olefins, and aromatics blocks objectives depends on two things: Thanks to a combination of low-carbon solutions & technologies, Axens can bring CTC complexes closer to a net-zero carbon future that is technically feasible and economically viable  The petrochemical products mix to be yielded from the selected crude blend qualities  Respecting project profitability targets in the forecasted economic environment and fulfilling project environmental goals. This assessment requires recognised technical expertise in feeds and product qualities, mastering each technology, as well as a deep understanding of CTC pro- jects. This includes their economic and

environmental evaluation, design execu- tion, and servicing in real-life operations. Appropriate selective technical solutions and continuously improved energy-efficient process designs, such as the third-genera- tion energy-efficient (3GEE) ParamaX tech- nology, now make it possible to deploy CTC complex technologies in compliance with even the most stringent carbon footprint reduction objectives, helping the industry to decarbonise sooner. The carbon footprint of the CTC complex can be reduced by applying lower-carbon solutions. The first step includes a renew- able power supply to rotating machines, the replacement of selected fired fuel gas heaters with electrical heaters, and the pro- duction of low-carbon hydrogen through electrolysis using renewable electricity. The second step deploys CO₂ capture solutions. Advamine TM pre-combustion CO₂ capture technology is used for a lower car- bon emission hydrogen production process, which enables hydrogen firing. DMX TM post- combustion CO₂ capture is used on flue gases from fired heaters, gas turbines, and boilers. Both solutions are proven technolo- gies for capturing CO₂ before release into the atmosphere. The captured CO₂ is then compressed, transported, stored or eventu- ally used. Thanks to a combination of low-carbon solutions and technologies, Axens can bring CTC complexes closer to a net-zero carbon future that is technically feasible and eco- nomically viable. Contact:


K Model: The future of blending


Benzene Toluene Ethylene Gasoline Propylene Styrene Butadiene PX

Crude oil Ref. Naphtha







Increasing chemicals by integrating refinery with petrochemicals 12 Used lubricating oil in India: treasure or trash? 13 Enhancing profitability using high-efficiency heat exchangers 15 Cost-driven natural gas vs hydrogen power for generators 16

CO₂-derived bio-based polycarbonate: A route towards sustainability 18


Hoerbiger Eurecat Nexson Becht Berthold Axens Alfa Laval

2 4 8

13 14 17 19 20



refining india 2023

REE Reliable, Efficient, Environmentally Sound Audit

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REE is an integrated engineering approach that is unparalleled in the oil and gas industry. We focus not only on individual components or compressors, but on the entire fleet and the interaction with plant processes. This will help your business perform better, reduce emissions and grow sustainably. Thanks to REE, you can maximize your fleet’s performance and leverage the full savings potential.

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refining india 2023

Nuclear gauges and alternative level technologies in critical refinery applications

David Williams berthold

unexpected shutdowns, equipment dam- age, reduced throughput, and increased maintenance costs. All of these elements have the potential to lead to an increase in operational expenses.⁴ The time frame of a unit shutdown after a foam-over can vary depending on the severity of the foam-over. In extreme cases, it may be shut down for several weeks to physically clean the solidified foam in the overhead line, fractionator tower strainers, and other relevant components. The previ- ously mentioned expenses not only result in an increase in maintenance costs but also contribute to a decrease in the opera- tional availability of the delayed coking unit. In the event of a delayed coker shutdown, the refinery may need to decrease the total throughput to the crude distillation unit. Additionally, other units, such as the fluid- ised catalytic cracker and mild hydrocrack- ers, may also see reductions in their feed rates. This reduction in operational units can greatly reduce the operational margins of a refinery.⁵ Conclusion Nucleonic gauges, suitable for severe con- ditions, excel at monitoring levels in crucial applications. By incorporating these meas- uring devices, companies may improve operational effectiveness and safety cri- teria, eventually safeguarding valuable assets and ensuring the safety of individu- als. Nucleonic gauges emerge as a trusted ally in volatile environments with flammable or explosive materials, considerably lower- ing ignition hazards. Because of their unri- valled dependability, they are a favoured choice for safety shutdown systems. References 1 Edwards J E (2010). Select the Right Liquid Level Sensor – It’s important to con- sider a variety of factors when choosing the type of technology. Retrieved from https:// equipment/fluid-handling/article/11372865/ select-the-right-liquid-level-sensor 2 Difference between Invasive and Non-Invasive and Intrusive and Non-Invasive (2019, June 26). Instrumentation Tools: https://instrumenta- intrusive-non-intrusive/ 3 Kister H Z (2003). What caused tower malfunc- tions in the last 50 years? Trans IChemE , 81 (Part A), 62-72. doi: 10.1205/026387603321216941 4 Hart (2014) Sawarkar et al (2007). Petroleum Residue Upgrading via Delayed Coking: A Review, A N Sawarkar, A B Pandit, S D Samant, J B Joshi, The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering , Vol 85, Feb 2007. 5 Williams, Feldmann (2021, Sept). Increase reli- ability and profitability in delayed coking units Global refiners are always seeking new tech- niques to optimise their refinery assets with the purpose of maximising their profitability. Digital Refining . cle/1002656/increase-reliability-and-profitabil- ity-in-delayed-coking-units

Fundamentally, each level measur- ing technique comes with a unique set of advantages, but it also has built-in limita- tions. The ultimate choice is contingent upon the particular demands of the given application, prevailing environmental fac- tors, the properties of the fluid in question, and financial factors. Case studies One of the most common malfunctions iden- tified in a study by Kister³ was that tower failure was related to faulty level measure- ment or control, which caused excess base level and premature tower flooding. For instance, in one case, it describes a pro- pane deasphalting unit where the level con- troller failed, causing the tower to flood. The remedy was to install a nuclear level gauge and a redundant level control valve. Similarly, another case describes a crude distillation unit where the level transmitter did you know? nucleonic gauges, suitable for severe conditions, excel at monitoring levels in crucial applications failed, causing the tower to flood, exceed- ing the reboiler return. The remedy was to install a nuclear level gauge and a redun- dant level transmitter. This study highlights the importance of proper level measurement and control to prevent tower malfunctions. By learning from past malfunctions and implementing preventive measures, engineers and oper- ators can avoid falling into the same traps and ensure safe and efficient tower opera- tion. The study recommends installing bet- ter level measurement, primarily nuclear levels, and ensuring adequate level indica- tion to prevent excess base level and pre- mature tower flooding. By following these recommendations, operators can minimise the risk of tower malfunctions and ensure safe and efficient operation.³ The inaccuracies in the level measure- ment of the coke drums can exert a sub- stantial influence on both the quality of the product and the output of the delayed coker. The coking process facilitates the conversion of heavy residuum, leading to the generation of lighter and more economi- cally valuable gasoils. The optimisation of feed rate is dependent upon an accurate determination of the level, as it enables the maximisation of yields while simultaneously limiting the potential incidence of a drum foam-over. The foaming over of a drum in the delayed coking unit can have a substan- tial impact on the refinery’s overall profit- ability through numerous means, including

In order for important equipment in an oil refinery to function in a smooth and produc- tive manner, accurate level measurement is an essential component. Making sure that the readings are accurate not only improves the efficiency of the refining process but also keeps the workers, the equipment, and the environment safe. The desalter, the delayed coker, and the fluidised catalytic cracker are three units that greatly rely on this precision for a variety of reasons. The accurate and reliable measurement of lev- els in critical applications is paramount to ensuring not only the efficiency of indus- trial processes but also the safety of both personnel and the environment. The choice of appropriate technology for these meas- urements can directly influence the robust- ness of a system and, in many scenarios, the margin between successful operation and catastrophic failure. Within this con- text, nucleonic gauges have emerged as a frontrunner, boasting a degree of reliability unmatched by many other level measure- ment technologies. Refineries employ a combination of var- ious level measuring methods selected according to the particular needs of the application. Variables like the make-up of the process fluid, the environment, the required level of precision, and the cost of installing and maintaining the instruments frequently have an impact on the decision. The technique of measuring level using differential pressure (DP) is known for its versatility. The versatility of this technol- ogy extends from storage tanks to reactor vessels, supported by its extensive histori- cal background and well-known principles. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowl- edge that this approach has certain con- straints. For example, DP measurements might be susceptible to variations in fluid density or external air pressures. In the event that there are changes in the specific gravity of the fluid, it becomes necessary to perform recalibration in order to maintain the accuracy of measurements.¹ The utilisation of displacer level meas- urement provides a reliable and consistent method of measurement, even in scenar- ios where there are fluctuations in liquid densities. This characteristic makes it a very suitable option for accurately meas- uring interfaces or in circumstances where there are changes in liquid-specific grav- ity. One potential drawback is that, due to its mechanical composition, the system has movable components that may experience wear and tear over time, requiring periodic maintenance. The presence of very viscous liquids or slurries may impede the displac- er’s motion, potentially impacting the accu- racy of the measurement.¹ capacitance level measurement Capacitance level measurement is pre- ferred in situations where prioritising min- imal maintenance is crucial, especially owing to the absence of mechanical com-

ponents. Moreover, it demonstrates proficiency in managing a wide range of cir- cumstances, including specific substances with corrosive properties. Nonetheless, the reliance on a uniform dielectric constant of the medium in order to get precise meas- urements might pose a constraint. In addi- tion, the accumulation of probe residue may occasionally impact measurements, neces- sitating periodic maintenance.¹ Radar level monitoring Radar level monitoring is widely recognised for its non-contact characteristic, render- ing it highly suitable for substances that are volatile or prone to corrosion. The robust- ness of this technology, demonstrated by its capacity to maintain dependability when encountering various obstacles such as vapours, high temperatures, or fluctua- tions in liquid characteristics, reinforces its prominent role in several refinery oper- ations. However, occasionally, using tech- nology may come at a slightly higher cost compared to using alternative strategies. Moreover, intricate settings may require a process of calibration or tuning in order to guarantee precise measurements.¹ benefits of Nucleonic gauges Nucleonic gauges stand out in the domain of level measurement due to their non-intru- sive nature, making them ideal for high- temperature, high-pressure, or corrosive situations. Their non-invasive technique not only protects them from potential wear and corrosion but also assures an amazing level of stability unaffected by changes in the qualities of a substance. This non-contact technique of measuring also makes them resistant to changes in fluid parameters such as density and viscosity. A really non-contact device is charac- terised by its lack of interference and non- intrusiveness to the process. To illustrate the distinctions among non-intrusive, non- invasive, and non-contact, it should be noted that a non-invasive device does not disrupt the flow of a process fluid. While non-intrusive implies that the devices do not make direct contact with the process fluid, it can be either invasive or non-inva- sive.² Occasionally, the phrase ‘non-con- tact’ is employed to indicate that a device does not physically touch the process fluid. However, it should be noted that such instruments, like through air RADAR, none- theless intrude into the vessel. This unique ability assures constant and trustworthy readings even in changing pro- cess circumstances, removing the possible dangers associated with erroneous data. Precision is praised for these gauges, which promote predictable and consistent indus- trial processes. The lack of moving com- ponents, along with a non-contact mode of operation, results in low maintenance needs. Furthermore, their resistance to external disturbances such as foam or ves- sel internals emphasises their toughness.



refining india 2023

How to keep your risk-based inspection program functioning efficiently

Matthew K Caserta BECHT

will also include equipment not inspected since the last assessment. These unit- wide reviews are normally completed on a time-based interval (five or 10 years) prior to an upcoming unit outage or after a major unit outage. This also gives an opportunity to align corrosion control documents and integrity operating window (IOW) programs to RBI reviews. Now, at this point, the observant reader will notice this article does not try to define ‘reassessment’, ’revalidation’, ‘ever- greening’, or ‘updating’. This omission is by choice. These terms mean different things to different owner-users. At a recent API Standards meeting, defining these terms became difficult as each operating com- pany uses them differently. So, this article has chosen to focus on what needs to be done and not necessarily worry about the terms used. Need to update your risk-based inspec- tion program? Becht can help. Contact us for help on keeping your RBI program func- tioning effectively and efficiently.

at intervals not to exceed 10 years or more often if warranted by process, equipment, or consequence changes. It should also be noted here that API RP 580 does not address the timing for these types of updates, deferring that to the Inspection Codes. What does all this mean to the Inspector? There are two different types of triggers for reviewing the original RBI assessment:  Event-based : Something occurs that gives new information that could affect the original RBI analysis. This can include things like new inspection information, changes in feedstocks, changes in unit operation, unexpected failure, and unit revamps, among many others.  Time-based : All three inspection codes listed above mention a maximum of 10 years for review (and approval) of the RBI assessment. What is industry best practice? Most owner-users manage their RBI updates in two different ways:

As owner-users continue to rely on exist- ing risk-based inspection (RBI) programs, the question of how to keep an RBI pro- gram functioning and compliant continu- ally comes up in discussions. Mechanical integrity professionals want to know what needs to be done and when it needs to hap- pen. Let us start with code requirements: API 510 10th Edition, 2nd Addendum 6.3.2 The RBI assessment shall be reviewed and approved by the engineer and inspec- tor at intervals not to exceed 10 years or more often if warranted by process, equip- ment, or consequence changes. API 570 4th Edition, 2nd Addendum 5.2.5 The RBI assessment shall be updated at least every 10 years or more often if process or hardware changes are made or after any event that could signif- icantly affect damage rates or damage mechanisms. API 653 5th Edition, 2nd Addendum The RBI assessment shall be reviewed and approved by a team as above

 Equipment updates : When an event occurs, like those listed above, many owner-users will update individual assess- ments and determine a new RBI interval. This typically happens on a daily basis as new information is gained. Did you know? most owner-users manage their Rbi updates in two different ways: equipment or unit-wide updates  Unit-wide updates : while not specifi- cally stated in the Inspection Codes, most owner-users will periodically review the RBI analysis for an entire unit to ensure any changes not captured are accounted for in unit reviews. These unit-wide updates



refining india 2023

Benefits of spiral and welded plate heat exchangers

C.VIGNERON nexson group

Nexson is a French company based in Garchizy in the Nièvre region. Aware of environmental issues, the company helps manufacturers optimise their manufactur- ing processes by saving energy. It provides its customers with concrete solutions to combat energy wastage and its impact on the environment. Heat exchangers play a crucial role in various industries, including oil, gas, refin- ing and petrochemicals. They are essential for efficient heat transfer, which is often required for different processes in these industries. Two commonly used types of heat exchangers in these sectors are spiral and welded plate heat exchangers. Spiral Heat Exchangers Some of the key uses and benefits of Nexson’s spiral heat exchangers include:  Single channel : Single channel flow is a unique feature.  Self-cleaning effect : Thanks to the sin- gle channel configuration, a turbulent flow is created to handle tough media. As it is a single-channel heat exchanger, if there is any cross-section reduction inside the channel, flow velocity will increase, flush- ing out the deposit.  Space-saving design : They have a compact footprint, making them ideal for installations where space is a constraint. They offer a high heat transfer surface area relative to their size, maximising heat exchange within limited space.  Robust construction : Nexson uti- lises high-quality materials and employs advanced manufacturing techniques to ensure the durability and longevity of its spiral heat exchangers. This makes them suitable for harsh operating conditions, including corrosive environments.  Versatile applications : They are highly versatile and well-suited for a wide range of applications in the oil, gas, refining and petrochemical industries. They are par- ticularly useful for heat exchange involving high fouling or fouling-prone fluids, as their self-cleaning mechanism minimises main- tenance requirements.  Tough process conditions : Thanks to their robust construction, they are designed to handle cycling duties. They can expand without mechanical failure when pressured or by increased temperature. Welded Plate Heat Exchangers Nexson’s welded plate heat exchangers offer excellent heat transfer performance and flexibility along with the following benefits:

 Evolutionary design : GreenBox adapt- able and removable baffles make it easy to adjust pressure drop and fluid velocity to meet thermal performance.  Versatile configurations : Nexson offers a wide range of plate materials and construction options, allowing its heat exchangers to handle various process flu- ids and conditions. This flexibility ensures compatibility and performance across dif- ferent applications.

Applications in oil, gas, refining and petrochemical Industries

Both spiral and welded plate heat exchang- ers find extensive use thanks to their excel- lent thermal performance and compact designs. They play a vital role in various processes, such as: • Crude oil desalting, gas dehydration, atmospheric and vacuum distillation, fluid did you know? heat exchangers are trusted solutions for critical heat transfer applications catalytic cracking, hydrocracking, vis- breaking processing, bitumen process- ing, catalytic reforming, amine treating, sour water stripping, alkylation, catalytic hydrodesulphurisation, hydrotreating, and monoethylene glycol reclamation • Petrochemical production: Spiral and welded plate heat exchangers are employed in separating and cooling various chemical compounds, ensuring efficient heat recovery. Conclusion Spiral and welded plate heat exchangers provide significant benefits. Their efficient heat transfer capabilities, space-saving designs, durability, and versatility contrib- ute to improved process efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and enhanced overall performance. With Nexson’s focus on qual- ity and innovation, its heat exchangers are trusted solutions for critical heat transfer applications in the oil, gas, refining and pet- rochemical industries.

Figure 1 Nexson Group spiral heat exchanger

 Optimal heat transfer efficiency : The corrugated plates in the welded plate heat exchangers create turbulence in the fluid flow, enhancing heat transfer efficiency. This results in reduced energy consumption and improved overall process performance.  Close temperature approach : The unique corrugated plate design allows the GreenBox™ – S to reach a very close tem- perature approach and even reach cross- over temperature by achieving high heat transfer K coefficient values.  Compact size : They have a compact

design, making them easy to install and well-suited for applications with space and weight restrictions. Their modular configu- ration allows for customisation to suit spe- cific heat transfer requirements.  Easy to inspect : Thanks to the totally bolted design, you can easily dismount the unit for inspection and cleaning.  Interchangeable ‘heart’ : Thanks to their modular construction, Nexson can remove parts that need to be replaced and, at the same time, keep the parts in good condition.

Lifting lug

Top at head





Panel with nozzle

Reinforcement for full vacuum



Bottom at head

Spar (column)



Figure 2 Nexson Group GreenBox welded block heat exchanger

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refining india 2023

Enhancing environmental sustainability in the oil and gas industry: the REE concept

Nikolaus Lubega and David Malik HOERBIGER

Introducing the REE Concept At the heart of Hoerbiger’s approach lies the REE (Reliability, Efficiency, Environmental soundness) concept. Unlike traditional assessments that target indi- vidual components, REE considers the complex interactions of one or more com- pressors within plant processes. This approach aligns with the industry’s grow- ing emphasis on comprehensive site and multi-site optimisation. Over a decade of experience in REE activities has ena- bled Hoerbiger to develop a sophisticated framework that not only evaluates com- pressor performance but also sets the same in perspective to identify hidden potentials for improvement. The REE Index: A Benchmark for Excellence Central to the REE concept is the REE Index, an innovative standardised meas- ure of compressor performance (see Figure 1 ). This index ranges from 0–10, which offers a comprehensive evaluation of reliability, efficiency, and environmen- tal impact. By comparing compressors to industry benchmarks, Hoerbiger offers a clear picture of each machine’s standing. The REE Index acts as a strategic guide, identifying both challenges and opportuni- ties for enhancement. Three Steps to Enhanced Plant Performance Hoerbiger’s approach to optimisation unfolds in three strategic steps (see Figure 2 ):  Creating a fleet overview : A com- prehensive assessment of the compres- sor fleet’s performance reveals gaps and potential. By benchmarking each machine against industry standards, Hoerbiger identifies areas for improvement.  Analysing and prioritising : Collabor- atively with operators, a Fleet Development Plan is crafted. This plan outlines improve- ment projects with a focus on reliability, efficiency, and environmental soundness. Detailed calculations and business cases aid decision-making.  Implementing solutions : REE Audits, conducted by experienced experts, pave the way for tangible improvements. Concrete solutions are developed, aligned with maintenance schedules, and doc- umented in Compressor Development Plans. One interface to view your fleet’s performance and improvement potential Hoerbiger’s proprietary Fleet Performance Platform determines key performance parameters and benchmarks these against the industry’s best performer (see Figure 3 ). The analysis examines each compres- sor of a single- or multi-compressor unit individually and ranks the reciprocating compressor fleet. This way, we can provide you with a bird’s eye view and uncover hid- den potential.

The oil and gas industry stands at a crossroads, facing the urgent need for sustainable practices amid global environ- mental concerns. Hoerbiger, a global leader in reciprocating technology, brings a unique perspective to the forefront, with a focus on environmental sustainability. All major processes in refineries rely on reciprocating compressors, which are crit- ical elements of many production units. They are also big machines that either con- tribute directly or indirectly to the plant’s power-related CO₂ emissions, depending on whether electricity is generated on-site or imported. Often, inefficient capacity control systems lead to thousands of tons of CO₂eq unnecessarily emitted or the need to send excess process gas to the flare on a regular basis. Furthermore, every compressor out- age that requires the cylinders to be opened results in a blowdown of compressors, con- tributing to CO₂eq emitted. Every hour a compressor is in operation, fugitive emis- sions occur, and even a stopped compressor has standby leakages causing CO₂eq emis- sions. While a lot of these CO₂eq emissions are avoidable, there is often a lack in visibility of the improvement potentials. One of the key emitters of CO₂ in a refinery are the reciprocating compressors. For ref- erence, the power consumption of the world- wide reciprocating compressor population emits the same amount of CO₂eq as the whole of The Netherlands. Hence, there is huge potential to avoid CO₂ emissions either through alternative emission control strate- gies, sustainable power sources, efficiency improvements, or more reliable operation. Advanced multi-compressor efficiency and reliability simulation allow us to effi- ciently zoom out and benchmark each compressor’s performance – including car- bon emissions – within thousands of recip- rocating compressors in many different processes worldwide. It showcases how to efficiently zoom in and drill down in detail on identified targets to quantify emissions. It also shows how to outline specific tech- nically as well as commercially feasible and proven solutions that reduce the carbon footprint of the entire reciprocating com- pressor fleet and its impact on the plant. DID YOu know? Every hour a compressor is in operation, fugitive emissions occur, and even a stopped compressor has standby leakages

Figure 1 Plant-wide reciprocating compressor performance assessment by the REE Index

1 Create a eet overview

3 Carry out an REE audit and implement solutions

2 Analyse, rene and prioritise

Figure 2 Three steps to enhanced plant performance












Tech. values


Eciency: 34,537,357.67 kWh Environment: 15,542.42 tCOe

Figure 3 Fleet Performance overview (ranked by criticality)

Table 1 Novel way to assess sustainability


refining india 2023

the entire fleet, enabling the identification of critical compressors. Its Zoom-In Mode investigates deeper, analysing DCS trends for detailed insights. By harmonising both modes, Hoerbiger crafts strategies that optimise performance and reduce opera- tional expenditures. A Roadmap to Sustainability As the refining industry navigates a rapidly evolving landscape, the need for sustaina- ble practices grows paramount. Hoerbiger’s approach offers a comprehensive roadmap towards a more environmentally responsi- ble future (see Figure 4 ). By optimising the compressor’s maintenance and operating strategies, the company empowers plants to balance operational efficiency with reduced carbon footprints. The advance- ment of cutting-edge technologies helps prevent vented and fugitive emissions, and diminish energy-related emissions, estab- lishing novel industry benchmarks. Conclusion Hoerbiger’s participation in Refining India 2023 conference marks a significant

milestone in the journey toward sustain- able practices in the oil industry. The REE concept, combined with innovative digital tools, forms the bedrock of the company’s mission. As the industry grapples with the challenges of the present, Hoerbiger sets new standards in sustainability, offering pragmatic solutions that drive both profit- ability and environmental responsibility. technologies helps prevent vented and fugitive emissions, and diminish energy-related emissions The advancement of cutting-edge

Figure 4 Emission reduction strategies

Empowering Sustainable Decisions The intersection of technology and sustain- ability forms the core of Hoerbiger’s con- tributions. Through data-driven insights, the company empowers operators to make informed decisions that align with decar- bonisation goals. By balancing conflict- ing priorities, Hoerbiger bridges the gap

between operational needs and environ- mental responsibility.

Optimising with the Fleet Performance Platform Hoerbiger’s proprietary Fleet Performance Platform is the cornerstone of its strategy. This platform provides a bird’s eye view of


Hybrid loading of regenerated and fresh catalyst for a lower carbon footprint

Siddharth Sagar eurecat

Catalysts are typically one of the larg- est controllable costs for a refiner. Reusing properly regenerated catalysts avoids unnecessary spending and com- plements environmental sustainability. A pool of reusable catalysts is a valuable resource for refiners to manage their fill costs and precious foreign exchange. The reuse of catalyst does not only reduce the cost, but also reduces the CO₂ footprint significantly. Hybrid loading is a practice followed by many refiners in which the reactor is loaded with fresh catalyst (at the bot- tom) and regenerated/rejuvenated cata- lyst (at the top). Hybrid loading renders almost similar performance with signifi- cant cost savings and very negligible/no performance. Sulphur Reactivity The idea of hybrid loading is to combine regenerated catalyst at the top of the reac- tor and fresh catalyst at the bottom. In the top bed, no complex reactions occur, so catalyst activity does not hamper the per- formance of the unit. The highly reactive sulphur species with high reaction rates of removal at the top of the reactor are not limited by catalyst activity. Therefore, regenerated catalysts are good enough to provide the needed activity at the top of the reactor. Higher activity is required as the feed progresses through the unit, so fresh catalyst is loaded in the bottom beds (see Figure 1 ).

Reactive sulphur Low activity required

Unreactive sulphur High activity required




























Figure 1 Sulphur reactivity

overall activity is that one does not need a 100% new-generation active catalyst in the entire reactor system. As mentioned earlier, in the top bed of the reactor, a sim- ple reaction occurs. So, a little lower active catalyst is good enough to act there. In the bottom part of the reactor, a difficult reac- tion occurs, so one needs a highly active catalyst there. So, Case 2 does not have any impact on cycle length and unit perfor- mance but results in cost saving and CO₂ footprint saving. economical and sustainable Hybrid loading is well-proven practice through years of experience by many refin- ers, which cost-effectively maximises the performance of the unit. Hybrid loading is also supported/guaranteed by catalyst manufacturers. Hybrid catalyst loading is an economical and sustainable approach to drive profitability and promoting circu- lar economy.

Case 1

Case 2

Calculated RVA Measured RVA Relative fill cost

120 120

110 120


100% 100%

<85% 100%

Relative cycle length


Relative CO₂ footprint 100%


Prior gen catalyst = 100 RVA Latest gen catalyst = 120 RVA Prior gen rejuvenated catalyst = 95 RVA Case 1 is for 100% fresh catalyst is loading having no usage of regenerated. Case 2 is hybrid loading of 40% rejuvenated catalyst (at the top) and 60% fresh catalyst (at the bottom).

Case 1

Case 2

Figure 2 Hybrid catalyst loading

Hybrid Loading Figure 2 will help in understanding the benefits of hybrid loading. In hybrid load- ing (Case 2), one is likely to save total cost by >15% and able to reduce CO₂ by 24% reduction in carbon footprint. When calcu-

lated mathematically for Case 2, it might appear that there is a loss of activity (10 units). However, when actual RVA is actu- ally measured in a simulation plant, it is observed that RVA remains the same for both cases. The reason for this unchanged




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refining india 2023

Novel reactor for three-phase hydroprocessing applications

Vinod Kumar, Abdul Quiyoom, Pranab K Rakshit and Ravi Kumar V Corporate R&D Centre, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd

Conclusions Hydroprocessing is typically carried out in a TBR and requires severe operating con- ditions. There are various disadvantages to using TBRs, such as high feed vaporisa- tion, high pressure drop, and high product inhibition. A novel reactor (CFR) has been conceptualised and studied in detail to overcome the drawback of the TBRs. It has been established that the CFR will result in higher conversion without any quench stream. The fruits of the tech- nology can be reaped in many forms per the requirements and concerns of the pro- cess, such as reduction in energy require- ments, reduction in gas-to-oil ratio, reduced pressure, and higher reactor throughput. The CFR is energy efficient, saving 15-20% of energy for hydropro- cessing applications. References 1 Meyers R A, Handbook of Petroleum Refining Processes . McGraw-Hill, 2004. 2 Murali C, Voolapalli R K, Ravichander N, Gokak D T, Choudary N V, Trickle bed reactor model to simulate performance of commercial die- sel hydrotreating unit, Fuel, 86, 1176–1184, 2007. 3 Carbonell R, Multiphase flow models in packed beds, Oil Gas Sci. Technol. 55, 417– 425, 2000. 4 Larachi F, Iliuta I, Al-Dahhan M A, Dudukovic M P, Discriminating trickle-flow hydrodynamic models: Some recommendations. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res . 39, 554–556, 2000. 5 Lappalainen K, Alopaeus V, Manninen M, Aittamaa J, Improved Hydrodynamic Model for Wetting Ef ciency,.PDF. 8436–8444, 2008. 6 Parihar P U, Ravikumar V, Kaalva S, Methods and Apparatus for Three Phase Contacting and Reactions in a Cross Flow Reactor, 33, 2018. 7 Yadav A et al., Corrigendum to Modeling of three-phase radial flow reactor for diesel hydro- treating, Chem. Eng. Sci. 257, 2022, 117713]. Chem. Eng. Sci. 268, 118429, 2023. 8 Yadav A, Roy S, Aijaz T, Modeling of three- phase radial flow reactor for diesel hydrotreat- ing. Chem. Eng. Sci . 257, 117713, 2022.

Hydroprocessing treats heavy hydrocar- bon feedstocks with hydrogen to cre- ate high-quality fuels in a heterogeneous, exothermic process. It involves hydrogen reacting with hydrocarbons to produce desired fuels and lubricants. This typically occurs adiabatically with temperature control through intermediate quenching. The conventional method employs a three- phase packed bed reactor known as trickle bed reactors (TBRs) under high pressure and temperature. This process removes hetero-atoms (S, N, metals), saturates unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins, aro- matics), and cracks heavier molecules to obtain desired quality products. 1 During hydroprocessing, as reactions progress, hydrogen sulphide (H₂S) and ammonia (NH₃) accumulate, reducing hydrogen partial pressures and also inhib- iting the reactions (see Figure 1 ). Elevated concentrations of these compounds hin- der desulphurisation, denitrogenation, and other saturation reactions, affect- ing catalyst acidity and conversions. This often requires high-severity operation and increased catalyst inventory to meet qual- ity specifications. In the TBRs, a high gas-to-oil ratio is used, which leads to undesired vaporisa- tion of hydrocarbon feed and lighter prod- ucts during the reaction, 2 as shown in Figure 2 . In addition, a higher gas/oil ratio and longer mean flow path for gas leads to increased pressure drop. Further, gas phase hold-up increases along the length as gaseous products are generated. This results in inefficient utilisation, insuffi- cient catalyst wetting, and higher cata- lyst requirements for given throughput and desired product quality and yields. 3,4 Further, the increased residence time of intermediate products such as naphtha and diesel in the reactor leads to more gas production and excessive hydrogen con- sumption. Dry spots are also formed in the catalyst bed in the process, which leads to underutilisation of catalyst in the reactors. To ensure the desired property of treated hydrocarbon, the hydroprocessing con- sists of multiple stages to overcome ther- modynamic equilibrium, increasing the operational cost. 5 Cross Flow Reactor (CFR) The CFR is a three-phase gas-liquid-solid reactor with several advantages over con- ventional TBR.⁶ A schematic representa- tion is shown in Figure 3 . In CFR, liquid feed flows downward through the fixed catalytic bed. Gaseous components such as H₂S and unreacted H₂, from the cata- lytic reactions, flow in the radial direc- tion and are continuously removed from the catalyst bed, which limits the extent of product inhibition. As the gases must travel only the catalyst bed radius, the pressure drop across the bed is signifi-



600 Nm/m 400 Nm/m 200 Nm/m






















Mole fraction of HS

Temperature (˚C)

Figure 1 Effect of H₂S concentration on relative desulphurisation rate

Figure 2 Feed vaporisation with temperature and gas-to-oil ratio 2

cantly reduced. Also, introducing H2 uni- formly across the length of the catalyst bed enables maintaining a high partial pressure of H₂ throughout the reactor. It also leads to an increased rate of hydroprocessing reactions and a reduc- tion in both catalyst deactivation and gas-to-oil ratio requirements. A patent US9914104 has been granted on the reactor technology. 6 Diesel Hydrodesulphurisation (DHDS) DHDS is a process in which H₂ is used for removing sulphur from the diesel stream

at high temperature (300-350 º C), high pressure (40–60 bar), and high gas-to-oil ratio (around 400 Nm³/m³). Application of CFR in the DHDS process has been simulated using an in-house-developed 2D mixing cell network (MCN)-based kinetic model 7,8 for an industrial-scale reactor. Figure 4 shows that when CFR is used, it maintains similar temperature profiles across the reactor length with- out using a quench. Moreover, it can pro- vide the same reactor outlet temperature (~370 º C), which is directly linked to the reactor conversions like TBR even when the gas inlet temperature is much lower (26 º C). This saves 15-20% of energy for gas heating, which proves the process is energy efficient.

Recycle gas

Liquid feed





CFR, TG = TL = 326 C CFR, TG = 300 C, TL = 326 C TBR, TG = TL = 326 C



Gas ow






Reactor length (m)

Liquid ow

Figure 4 Temperature profile for diesel hydrodesulphurisation process reactor

Figure 3 Schematic representation of CFR


Decarbonisati n Technolo gy The transition to sustainable fuels & energy

August 2023 Decarbonisati n Technolo gy Powering the Transition to Sustainable Fuels & Energy



Powering the transition to sustainable fuels and energy




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refining india 2023

Transforming hydrogen production for a greener future with water electrolysis

Jagadesh Donepudi and Rodolfo Tellez-Schmill KBC, a Yokogawa company

between 5 and 10 USD/kg compared to grey hydrogen, which costs about 1.5 USD/kg. Monitoring Water Electrolyser Performance In this dynamic area, process simulation models have become increasingly impor- tant. With a simulator, the user now has the ability to model alkaline, PEM, anion exchange membranes, and solid oxide electrolysers. Users can build digital twins for green hydrogen production processes for design and operation. Furthermore, operation engineers can leverage digital twins to monitor the performance of the water electrolyser. It helps pinpoint poten- tial issues related to asset performance, such as electrode degradation, corrosion, and excessive energy costs. Process simulator software can be used to build simulations and digital twins of water electrolysers to perform the follow- ing activities. • Design engineering : Process simula- tion models support critical process and mechanical design activities, including flowsheeting, heat and mass balances, equipment sizing, process optimisation, equipment/instrumentation datasheets, equipment and piping material selection, designing process control strategies, as well as assessing hazards and operability. • Plant operation : Process simulation models, when connected to plant data, create a digital twin, aiding asset monitor- ing, data reconciliation, unit monitoring, optimisation, retrofitting, energy manage- ment, and emissions monitoring to ulti- the PEM electrolyser is easy to handle and maintain while mately enhance profitability and safety. • Operators training : Dynamic simula- tions can be incorporated into operators’ training systems to expedite the learning curve of how the system works before the plant is commissioned. • Real-time optimisation and advanced process control : Process simulation mod- els enable ongoing adjustment to market changes, disturbance accommodation, plant optimisation, retrofitting, and hazard reduction to increase profitability. • Research and development : Process simulation models facilitate in-depth analy- sis of current technologies, exploration of future technologies, and identification of potential challenges within the electrolysis domain. generating high- purity hydrogen

There is a global trend toward producing clean hydrogen to achieve the ambitious net zero emissions target by 2050. The US government has made strides in this direction, recently publishing its National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap. 1 Underlying this initiative is the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. Along with this initiative is the need to produce affordable, clean hydrogen, with a target price of 1 USD/kg of hydrogen in one decade. Currently, the estimated pro- duction cost of hydrogen via electrolysis ranges between 5 and 7 USD/kg of hydro- gen. The US aims to produce 10 million metric tons (MMT) of clean hydrogen per year, mirroring similar targets from the EU across all its member states by 2030. Within the realm of hydrogen production, the use of alkaline electrolysis is well-estab- lished. While it has been applied on a large scale for decades, it also presents technical challenges. These obstacles include high energy consumption, installation costs, and maintenance costs due to corrosive alkali materials. The proton exchange mem- brane (PEM) electrolyser represents a new technology. It is easy to handle and main- tain while generating high-purity hydrogen (99.99% dry basis). PEM, however, also displays some flaws, such as high manufac- turing costs for membranes and requiring precious metals for electrodes. The Government of India announced its Green Hydrogen Mission² to achieve net zero emissions by 2070. This green initia- tive spans multiple sectors, including refin-

Electric power


Hydrogen_PEM 1949 STD_m/h

166.6 kg/h 100.0 wt %

PEM electrolyser

Figure 1 PEM electrolyser in Petro-SIM process simulator


1 atm 1 atm 5 bar 5 bar 10 bar 10 bar 30 bar 30 bar 50 bar 50 bar 90 bar 90 bar





1.10 1.15 1.20 1.25

100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240 260 280 Temperature (˚C)

0 20 40 60 80


Figure 2 Voltage calculations for electrolysis at different pressures and temperatures

Producing Green Hydrogen The important aspect of producing green hydrogen involves the electrolyser, which is the technology that splits water into its core elements of hydrogen and oxygen. They are important for efficient and scal- able hydrogen production. The estimated cost of producing green hydrogen ranges

ing and petrochemical processes, fertiliser production, mobility, steel manufacturing, and railways. This road map includes man- ufacturing 5 MMT/year of green hydrogen through green electricity and bioprocesses by 2030, where refineries and fertiliser manufacturers are the major consumers of this resource.

2.1 2.0 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2

54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 41 42 40

Current density, A/cm

H production rate, kg/h

1800 1600 1400 1200 1000

0.1 0.09 0.08 0.07 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.03 0.01 0.02 0

800 600 400 200 0

Electric power, kW

Current density, A/cm

Figure 3 System curves assess voltage requirements and hydrogen production


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