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Flowsheet optimization of a lubricant base oil hydrotreatment process

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Author(s): Medeiros J. L. | Barbosa L. C. | Vargas F. M. | Araújo O. Q. F. | Silva R. M. F.

Journal: Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering
ISSN 0104-6632

Volume: 21;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 317;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: lubricant oil | hydrotreatment | compositional modeling | optimization

ABSTRACT
Unsaturated, nitrogenated and sulfured compounds may reach undesirable levels in lubricant base oils, requiring hydrotreatment (HDT) at high temperatures and pressures. HDT processes are well known for their high capital and operational costs due to the use of hydrogen, compressors and multistage heterogeneous reactors. Process costs are thus highly dependent on the applied conditions. An oversized process entails unnecessary costs and capital investment. On the other hand, mild reaction conditions lead to unspecified products. This work analyzes the process using a compositional modeling and a kinetic framework developed previously (Barbosa et al., 2002) for the HDT of lubricant base oils. The industrial reactor is rigorously modeled on an adiabatic and multistage configuration. For the remaining equipment in the flowsheet, we adopt shortcut models for compressors and exchangers. The process is then optimized in terms of its variables subject to product specification constraints.
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