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Operating Opportunities

Operations usually wrings every last bit of capacity out of their existing facilities. By trying various operating conditions, plant operators, engineers, and supervisors learn the limits of the equipment. Depending on the exact bottleneck, some of the following suggestions may allow higher capacities:

  • Modify operating specifications and conditions. One example that usually increases both capacity and profitability is increasing the amount of impurities up to specification limits.
  • Raise tower pressures if the trays or overhead condenser is limiting. Note that there is an energy penalty for running at higher pressures.
  • Lower tower pressures if the bottom trays or reboiler are limiting.
  • Install higher capacity catalyst, activated support, and dense load reactors.
  • Install larger control valves.
  • Running pumps in parallel can sometimes debottleneck hydraulic circuits depending upon the shape of the pump and system curves. Note that an analysis of the pump hydraulics should be made for long term parallel pump operation.
  • Run with lower product tank levels if the product pumps are limiting.
  • Use parallel rundown lines if the product pumps are limiting.
  • Replace sodium chloride with calcium chloride in limiting driers.

 

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