November 2015

Special Report: Plant Safety and Environment

Improve alkylation operational safety using operator training simulators

Although simulators have been deployed widely in process industries, unique thermodynamic and physical phenomena are involved in the process that made modeling such systems very difficult in the past.

Martinez, C., PDVSA, Puerto La Cruz Refinery; Willetts, I., Rodriguez, K., Schneider Electric

Alkylation is the process of synthesizing isooctane (alkylate) by reacting isobutane with C3 and C4 olefins. The alkylate end product is a high-value product, derived from relatively lower-value, lower-molecular-weight hydrocarbons. Although different licensors of alkylation processes exist, there are essentially two primary routes to synthesize alkylate, both using strong acid catalysts—either sulfuric acid (H2SO4) or hydrofluoric acid (HF). Alkylation grew in importance over the last 50 years, driven in part by expansion of global refining capacity. This was also from growth in fluidized catalytic crackers (FCC) and coker units that produce olefins or alkenes from the heavier crude compo

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