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Reducing Safety Flaring through Advanced Control
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An advanced process control application, using DMCplus® (Aspen Technology, Inc.), was developed to substantially reduce fuel gas losses to the flare at a large integrated refining / petrochemical complex. Fluctuations in internal fuel gas system pressure required changes in C3/C4 make-up gas usage. These changes led, in turn, to some instability in the fuel gas system that sometimes required purge to the safety flare system to stabilize. As the composition of the fuel gas supply changed, so did its heating value, which caused fluctuations in the control of various fuel gas consumers. The DMCplus application now controls fuel gas pressure tightly and also stabilizes the fuel gas heating value. The understanding of each fuel gas provider and user was essential to the success of this application, as was the design of the DMCplus application. SmartStepTM (Aspen Technology, Inc.) - automated testing software - was used to efficiently develop the DMCplus models; however, a number of models were developed prior to the plant test period using long-term plant history data.
Hokanson, D.; Lehman, K.; Matsumoto, S.; Takai, N.; Takase, F. (2010). Reducing Safety Flaring through Advanced Control. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from