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Innovative Approach for Process Selection and Tank Design to Maximise Storage Capacity with Limited Plot Area

Innovative Process Design

A regional leader in chemical manufacturing and trading was setting up a new hydrocarbon processing and storage terminal in Middle East. The client was facing significantly reduced economic viability due to the need of processing multiple feedstocks in separate facilities. TCE was engaged as a consultant to assess and suggest a cost effective way of dealing with such multiple feedstocks without multifold increase in CapEX which would render the project unviable.

Solution: After a thorough assessment and evaluation of all the available processes, TCE came up with opportunities where a variety of process mixes or solutions can be distilled to commercial grade valuable chemicals.

TCE conceptualised, optimised, simulated and designed a set of distillation columns to operate 4 sets of distinct and varied purification/separation processes using the same set of distillation columns, there-by minimising CapEx and providing integration of the new facility with client’s existing terminal.

Further to this, TCE proposed setting up a pilot plant to validate the process. Data from the pilot was used to fine tune the design of the commercial facility and scaled up by 30X and successfully executed.

Highlights:

  • First such installation for Client.
  • Entire basic engineering right from feasibility to process selection done in-house at TCE-HCBU.
  • 14 different separation processes evaluated to select the right set of 4 process combinations to ensure minimal TotEx, commercial advantage and ease of operations.
  • Designed the operation of the columns on a campaign basis to ensure smooth switch over from one process to another, with minimal contamination and interruption to terminal.
  • Highly optimised process block layout to minimise foot print.

Optimised Tank Design for Maximum Storage

The plot area was very small (220 X 130 = 30000 sq. m) and the requirement was to maximise the storage capacity of the terminal by installing 30 tanks of various diameters along with other facilities. The conventional internal floating roof would result in a loss of around 1 to 1.5 m height of tank and hence reduced storage capacity.

Solution: By suggesting Aluminium internal floating roofs the height of the roof would be reduced to 350 mm from 500 mm. Through this value addition, the net increase in the storage volume is around 6000 m3, which is equivalent to one tank of 17 m dia X 27 m ht.

Intangible benefits like periodic painting can be avoided for the floating and dome roofs can be avoided. Aluminium has excellent heat reflection capabilities which reduces the evaporation of the product stored and hence lowers emission losses. The storage tank heights normally in the region were 25 m max. All the 30 tanks were designed with height of 27 m instead of usual 25 m height. With this the volume is further enhanced.

Following are the benefits due to the value addition proposed:

  • Ground improvement cost savings
  • Foundation cost savings
  • Tank material and labour cost
  • Aluminium floating roof and dome roof cost and painting cost