Use of Process Simulation for Plant Debottlenecking

Zulfan Adi Putra


This paper was aimed to illustrate the use of process simulation tools to find bottlenecks in a chemical plant. In practice, finding the first bottleneck of a plant is simply by increasing the capacity. However, two questions remain, e.g. what would the next bottleneck be and how big the first bottleneck needs to be expanded until the next bottleneck is reached. These questions can be repeated until eventually the whole equipment in the plant needs to be debottlenecked. Since it is impossible to answer the above questions in practice, a process simulation approach is utilized. Relevant equipment data and a validated thermodynamic model are used to build such a model. Plant performance trials are taken into account to estimate practical parameters such as fouling coefficients and plate tightness. This work requires strong interactions between operational people, consistent data gathering, and process simulation skill. The approach used in this work has shown that a reasonably accurate model can be built. The result has shown that the model can identify the first bottleneck as confirmed on the field. Sequence of bottlenecks and their corresponding increment of capacity increase have also been identified. The simulation results also illustrate the use of process simulation for plant debottlenecking.

Full Text:



Biegler, L. T., Cervantes, A. M., and Wächter, A. (2002). Advances in simultaneous strategies for dynamic process optimization. Chemical engineering science, 57(4), 575-593.

Litzen, D. B. and Bravo, J. L. (1999). Uncover low-cost debottlenecking opportunities. Chemical engineering progress, 95(3), 25.

Pegels, C. C., and Watrous, C. (2005). Application of the theory of constraints to a bottleneck operation in a manufacturing plant. Journal of manufacturing technology management, 16(3), 302-311.

Skogestad, S. (2004). Control structure design for complete chemical plants. Computers and chemical engineering, 28(1), 219-234.

Turton, R., Bailie, R. C., Whiting, W. B., and Shaeiwitz, J. A. (2008). Analysis, synthesis and design of chemical processes. Pearson Education.

Zhu, X. X., and Asante, N. D. K. (1999). Diagnosis and optimization approach for heat exchanger network retrofit. AIChE journal, 45(7), 1488-1503.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Indonesian Journal of Science and Technology

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Indonesian Journal of Science and Technology is published by UPI.
StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter
View My Stats