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Simulation, Turnarounds, and FCC Operational Cycles

Presented By

Sam Clark - CPFD Software LLC


courtesy of CPFDSimulation of FCCUs and components is becoming commonplace. Simulation has been shown to identify root causes of underperformance, test the effects of changes prior to implementation, and minimize the risk of unforeseen negative consequences of changes. Recent AFPM and WRA publications have demonstrated the role of simulation via case studies and discussed related economics. This presentation, in contrast, answers a practical question: When in an FCCU operational cycle should simulation be used?

The timing of simulation efforts within the overall scope of the FCCU operational cycle is an important consideration. For example, insights gained from the simulation can inform equipment design decisions, but only if there is sufficient time available to allow for full design, manufacture, and delivery of equipment prior to turnaround.

This paper examines the benefits and constraints of using simulation at multiple points in the operational cycle between turnarounds including considerations related to timing, collaboration between stakeholders, and economics. Case studies from multiple North American and international refineries, performed using Barracuda Virtual Reactor®, are presented to illustrate the use of simulation for: establishing baseline behavior, turnaround planning, post-audit analysis, and responding to unexpected scenarios including unplanned shutdowns. By understanding the advantages and limitations of using simulation at each point in the operational cycle, engineers and managers can more effectively plan for long-term upgrades, and be ready to respond to short-term needs as they arise.

Sam Clark - CPFDSam is a Senior Project Engineer at CPFD with 13 years’ experience applying computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to solve problems in a variety of industries. He has been with CPFD since 2008, using Barracuda Virtual Reactor to simulate fluid-particle systems. Sam has worked on industrial-scale projects including FCCU regenerators, reactors, and strippers, coal and biomass gasifiers, and CFB boilers. He has authored multiple papers on applications of Virtual Reactor, and presented at conferences around the world.

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