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TPU Researchers to Help Halve Fuel Consumption at Petroleum Refineries

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On Wednesday, July 21, Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) reported that its experts had presented a technology enabling to reduce energy consumption in hydrocracking. It is the processing of high boiling oil fractions to produce fuel in refineries.

By introducing this technology, a company can achieve a 54% reduction in fuel gas and fuel consumption and a 20% reduction in electricity, TPU's Press Office informs. The researchers are convinced that such results can be achieved in almost every industrial production. It can be used to improve the chemical and gas processing industry and in food manufacturing.

"For example, there are three heat fluxes. The first is steamed, the second is cooled with water, and the third is heated in the oven. To save energy, we can heat the first and the third streams by the second one. There are dozens of such streams in a real company," says Stanislav Boldyryev, a senior researcher at TPU's Research School of Chemistry & Applied Biomedical Sciences.

To create the optimal flow structure, scientists used pinch technology, the principles of continuous integration, graph theory, and the basis of thermogravimetric exchange. Pinch technology is used to minimise total energy consumption in systems with streams requiring heating and cooling. Streams can recover thermal energy and allow for reuse. Graph theory allowed for structural optimisation of the heat exchanger network, which helped minimise the number of machines needed from 10 to 2. Hence, it is possible to reduce the capital cost for rebuilding production.

This method also reduces the environmental impact. Fuel savings at the refinery where the experiment was conducted helped reduce CO2 emissions by 19,000 tonnes annually.

Let us recall that the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas's researchers have come up with a new concept. Their research focuses on the development of new functional materials and catalysts for petroleum processing and petrochemistry. For this purpose, they are suggesting to use halloysite. That is a natural, nanotube-shaped aluminosilicate mineral.