From the raw materials to the end-product release, online analyzers can be used to improve refinery efficiency and profitability through all processes. A map illustrating the flow of oil and gas processing, along with a recently released article explains the role of process analyzers in petroleum product creation. The article is titled, “The Role of Process Analyzers in Refineries to Process Crude Oil into Usable Fossil Fuel Products.”
The Advanced Process Analysis Refinery Measurement Map
The Process Analysis Refinery Measurement Map shows which analyzer to use at each process along the way. For example, for total sulfur-nitrogen applications in liquids, solids and gases, use ATOM Instruments laboratory and online elemental analyzers. Or measuring viscosity? Look to SoFraser’s MIVI process viscometers as an alternative analyzer that measures the viscosity at the line temperature and can be combined with Temperature Compensated Viscosity calculations. When the fuel blender is producing petroleum products that are intended to be used as lubricants, then the analyzers can be used to monitor the Viscosity Index according to ASTMD 2270. Additionally, NIR measurements can be made to monitor the alkylation process. Specially, DG-NIR technology can be used to investigate the number of alkyl groups attached to the naphthalene (degree of alkylation) and ratios of monoalkylnaphthalene (MAN), dialkylnaphthalene (DAN), and polyalkylnaphthalene (PAN), used in High – performance synthetic lubricants.
Fuel Blending and Pipeline Management
After the different grades of fuel have been appropriately blended, they can be sent by a pipeline to the terminal for shipment all around the world. At the downstream terminal, fuel identification by NIR spectroscopy ensures that the correct and in-specification petroleum products are loaded onto the ships and sent to the customer. NIR spectroscopy (either full spectrum or discrete wavelength photometers) can provide significant information about the product itself and classify it according to the grade of gasoline, diesel, fuel oil, etc. Pipeline product interface detection methods are both fast and reliable utilizing the full range NIR-O spectrometer which can be used to provide nearly complete chemical information on the sample. Alternatively, the ClearView db multi-wavelength photometer yields more limited information, but would still provide rapid interface detection plus some chemical information.
Sample Interfaces for Refinery Processes
These instruments use fiber optic cables and direct insertion probes into the pipe to measure the product as it flows by. Guided Wave pioneered in-line fiber optic sample interfaces more than twenty-five years ago, with the introduction of the SST (Single Sided Transmission) Probe. This probe permits precise spectroscopic analysis of products directly in the process line without the need for sample systems and their associated investment and installation costs, lag times, failures, and constant maintenance requirements.
In refineries, there are various operations that make the use of the SST probe ideal. For example, in para-xylene and petrol/gasoline plants where the sample is very clean (free from particulates and moisture), a direct in-situ SST probe is the best choice. It allows direct process measurement with simple installation in a pressurized line. However, for diesel/gas oil applications it is highly recommended to use a heated Multi-Purpose Flow cell (MPFC) with a heated incoming line to dissolve the trace levels of water in the sample.