Optimizing Refinery Blending Operations

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

For-Good-MeasureOptimized process control begins with accurate and reliable measurements. A Process Engineering article, For good measure (pp 39-40) highlights new measurement technologies which can be used in critical plant processes. The applications described range from clean-in-place operations in pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical processes to refinery blending operations.

Emerson's Marcelo Carugo


Emerson’s Marcelo Carugo describes how most manual processes in refineries have been automated, including blending operations. What was done with manual sampling sent to the lab is now done continuously. Marcelo noted:

…measurement uncertainty as small as 0.1% with blender controls, including flow meters providing blend information, can decrease profitability and the ability to meet tighter environmental specs.

He described how technology coupled with expertise helps to optimize blending operations:

We can work with them on their blending requirements and help them to identify issues with their analysers.

The blending process was automated historically to reduce octane giveaways. Marcelo explained that the reason behind the need for more optimized blending has shifted to regulatory compliance in many countries.

He shared how applications such as SmartProcess Blend Control & Optimization:

…support companies seeking regulatory control of their automated blend process for gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum-based products.

This pre-engineered application Emerson includes templates that are customized to fit the unique requirements of a particular project. It includes optional modules and features such as blend order management, analyzer trim control, recipe management, tank inventories and quality tracking. Whether for a new blend control system or the revamp of an existing system, services accompanying the page can range from up front design through construction and installation of fully-instrumented, skid-mounted, in-line blenders, analyzer houses and sample systems.

You can connect and interact with other refining experts in the Refining group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.