Integrated design of chemical plants with energy conservation (the design of an energy efficient styrene plant)

  • Auday Saeed

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Energy consumption is one of the main areas in the study of chemical process design. It is usually referred to as the critical element that is continuously needed for running a chemical process, and is daily effected by the prices of energy. Therefore, poor designs which are not energy integrated normally lead to less profit due to high consumption of energy. These simple economics are the reason for tackling the area of energy integration in process design. A styrene production process is taken to be the model process for carrying out the design work incorporating the various energy integration techniques.

    A thorough review of the published work in this subject area was the first step in this research work. This has been followed by calculating mass and energy balances around the overall plant and the individual process steps, so that information about flowrates and energy consumed and released was obtained for the base case. After this all the possible distillation sequence configurations were tested in order to find the sequence that required least energy compared with all the other possible sequences. This step is the first part of integrating the distillation train. The second part considered the heat exchanger network associated with the distillation train and this has been taken in the context of overall process integration. "Pinch technology" was used as an aid for targeting the minimum hot and cold utilities required, designing the heat exchanger network that was compatible with the minimum use of utility and to seek further improvements on the process heat exchanger network which made it capable of recovering even more energy.

    Utility supplies are designed with respect to the process design, hence the next step considered the interaction between the utility and process design. Thus, the utilities were introduced in a more efficient way, resulting in a better heat exchanger network and increasing the interprocess heat exchange. Finally the steam and power system in the styrene plant was tested in order to determine how much this system had benefited due to the overall efficiency of energy supply and demand.
    Date of AwardOct 1990
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Polytechnic of Wales

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