Title:

Kinetic modelling simulation and optimal operation of trickle bed reactor for hydrotreating of crude oil : kinetic parameters estimation of hydrotreating reactions in trickle Bbed reactor (TBR) via pilot plant experiments : optimal design and operation of an industrial TBR with heat integration and economic evaluation

Catalytic hydrotreating (HDT) is a mature process technology practiced in the petroleum refining industries to treat oil fractions for the removal of impurities (such as sulfur, nitrogen, metals, asphaltene). Hydrotreating of whole crude oil is a new technology and is regarded as one of the more difficult tasks that have not been reported widely in the literature. In order to obtain useful models for the HDT process that can be confidently applied to reactor design, operation and control, the accurate estimation of kinetic parameters of the relevant reaction scheme are required. This thesis aims to develop a crude oil hydrotreating process (based on hydrotreating of whole crude oil followed by distillation) with high efficiency, selectivity and minimum energy consumption via pilot plant experiments, mathematical modelling and optimization. To estimate the kinetic parameters and to validate the kinetic models under different operating conditions, a set of experiments were carried out in a continuous flow isothermal trickle bed reactor using crude oil as a feedstock and commercial cobaltmolybdenum on alumina (CoMo/γAl2O3) as a catalyst. The reactor temperature was varied from 335°C to 400°C, the hydrogen pressure from 4 to10 MPa and the liquid hourly space velocity (LHSV) from 0.5 to 1.5 hr1, keeping constant hydrogen to oil ratio (H2/Oil) at 250 L/L. The main hydrotreating reactions were hydrodesulfurization (HDS), hydrodenitrogenation (HDN), hydrodeasphaltenization (HDAs) and hydrodemetallization (HDM) that includes hydrodevanadization (HDV) and hydrodenickelation (HDNi). An optimization technique is used to evaluate the best kinetic models of a tricklebed reactor (TBR) process utilized for HDS, HDAs, HDN, HDV and HDNi of crude oil based on pilot plant experiments. The minimization of the sum of the squared errors (SSE) between the experimental and estimated concentrations of sulfur (S), nitrogen (N), asphaltene (Asph), vanadium (V) and nickel (Ni) compounds in the products, is used as an objective function in the optimization problem using two approaches (linear (LN) and nonlinear (NLN) regression). The growing demand for highquality middle distillates is increasing worldwide whereas the demand for lowvalue oil products, such as heavy oils and residues, is decreasing. Thus, maximizing the production of more liquid distillates of very high quality is of immediate interest to refiners. At the same time, environmental legislation has led to more strict specifications of petroleum derivatives. Crude oil hydrotreatment enhances the productivity of distillate fractions due to chemical reactions. The hydrotreated crude oil was distilled into the following fractions (using distillation pilot plant unit): light naphtha (L.N), heavy naphtha (H.N), heavy kerosene (H.K), light gas oil (L.G.O) and reduced crude residue (R.C.R) in order to compare the yield of these fractions produced by distillation after the HDT process with those produced by conventional methods (i.e. HDT of each fraction separately after the distillation). The yield of middle distillate showed greater yield compared to the middle distillate produced by conventional methods in addition to improve the properties of R.C.R. Kinetic models that enhance oil distillates productivity are also proposed based on the experimental data obtained in a pilot plant at different operation conditions using the discrete kinetic lumping approach. The kinetic models of crude oil hydrotreating are assumed to include five lumps: gases (G), naphtha (N), heavy kerosene (H.K), light gas oil (L.G.O) and reduced crude residue (R.C.R). For all experiments, the sum of the squared errors (SSE) between the experimental product compositions and predicted values of compositions is minimized using optimization technique. The kinetic models developed are then used to describe and analyse the behaviour of an industrial trickle bed reactor (TBR) used for crude oil hydrotreating with the optimal quench system based on experiments in order to evaluate the viability of largescale processing of crude oil hydrotreating. The optimal distribution of the catalyst bed (in terms of optimal reactor length to diameter) with the best quench position and quench rate are investigated, based upon the total annual cost. The energy consumption is very important for reducing environmental impact and maximizing the profitability of operation. Since high temperatures are employed in hydrotreating (HDT) processes, hot effluents can be used to heat other cold process streams. It is noticed that the energy consumption and recovery issues may be ignored for pilot plant experiments while these energies could not be ignored for large scale operations. Here, the heat integration of the HDT process during hydrotreating of crude oil in trickle bed reactor is addressed in order to recover most of the external energy. Experimental information obtained from a pilot scale, kinetics and reactor modelling tools, and commercial process data, are employed for the heat integration process model. The optimization problem is formulated to optimize some of the design and operating parameters of integrated process, and minimizing the overall annual cost is used as an objective function. The economic analysis of the continuous whole industrial refining process that involves the developed hydrotreating (integrated hydrotreating process) unit with the other complementary units (until the units that used to produce middle distillate fractions) is also presented. In all cases considered in this study, the gPROMS (general PROcess Modelling System) package has been used for modelling, simulation and parameter estimation via optimization process.
