Optimizing Hydrogen Management in a Complex Refinery
A Spanish refinery processing 220,000 bbl/day commissioned PIL to deliver an optimization study to maximize the efficiency and profitability of their hydrogen network. In this case, 33,000 Nm3/h of hydrogen were currently wasted in the fuel purge (with 20,000 Nm3/h from SMR PSA tail gas), representing significant economic loss for the refinery. Additionally, operational flexibility in the complex hydrogen network needed to be improved to accommodate the various operating scenarios considered in the refinery.
PIL worked closely with the refinery engineers to deliver an optimization study to evaluate operational and structural changes in the hydrogen network that improved hydrogen efficiency (i.e. the ratio between hydrogen consumption and production). PIL’s software i-H2™ was crucial to accurately model and perform cascade optimization of the overall network, which ensured practical solutions could be obtained. PIL identified solutions with and without capital investment, as shown in the Figure. Such solutions improved profitability through better hydrogen utilization and light hydrocarbon recovery. Results from the optimization showed that €3.0 million per year of economic benefits can be readily achieved without any capital investment. Additionally, various retrofit options with payback times shorter than 1 year were identified to gain as much as €7.5 million per year while recovering up to 12,000 Nm3/h of hydrogen.