Debottlenecking: What It Is And How It Can Help Optimize Downstream Processesby Amit Joshi content writer
The rising size of global economy has put an ever increasing demand on petroleum products. This demand can only fulfilled by either creating more plants or by debottlenecking the existing plant capacity. Even if the construction of new plants become inevitable, debottlenecking of existing plant is always a good idea since it supplements the existing production. Some of the major goals of debottlenecking are: specifications modifications, throughput increases, and alteration of yield. Anyway, the main intention of setting these goals is to eventually enhance the profitability of the plant.
The most challenging task in the entire process is finding the areas of focus that might really be consequential in increasing the plant capacity. The companies that have gained expertise in locating such precise focus areas become highly efficient and hence highly competitive. To gain such an expertise, knowledge of entire processes of each plant units is a prerequisite.
Anyhow, all companies with expertise follow certain standard procedures. One of the first step during debottlenecking is to examine the overall capacity of the plant. This capacity is then compared with the norm or design specifications. If the plant capacity emerges out to be lower than expected, the individual units of the plant are inspected to locate the cause of consequence. In many cases, the lower production capacity is reversed by simply changing the system parameters to match recommended design values. If the situation does not improve by this measure then other steps, such as, replacing or retrofitting equipment are taken. Other than this, indirect methods like simulation models can also be used to assess the performance of entire of plant or individual units.
Although, the entire purpose of debottlenecking is production enhancement, it should never be at the cost of safety. Each plant has its own upper limit, and the production should not exceed that limit. Therefore, the debottlenecking team takes care that the production capacity does not exceed its suggested plant limit even if individual pieces of equipment are capable of handling higher capacity.
Successful completion of debottlenecking can lead to many positive outcomes. For instance it can help in, achieving highly accurate mass and process flow diagrams; locating maximum performance point of the process; determining critical control variables; determining degree of stability of each process; attracting more accurate design information; reducing instances of unplanned maintenance and shutdown; preventing the build up of fine particles in piping systems and other instruments.
Created on Aug 28th 2017 05:06. Viewed 661 times.