– Helps refiners maximise opportunity crude value and avoid fuel blending losses
Emerson Automation Solutions and TopNIR Systems, one of the world’s leading providers of blend analysis technology, today announce the industry’s first complete blending solution that includes online crude characterisation. This same technology is also used to improve performance in the product blending area of the refinery.
To remain competitive and profitable, refiners are increasingly challenged to work with opportunity crudes that provide a cheaper feedstock, but are more challenging to process. With the Emerson/TopNIR integrated blending solution, operators can confidently exploit the profitability opportunity of a wider array of different crudes by providing hydrocarbon property data in real-time that helps identify the potential value content in each crude stream.
Faster access to property data allows Emerson’s model predictive control (MPC) to modify and optimise crude stream mixtures while capturing product value during distillation. Asset monitoring applications minimise the impact of opportunity crudes on process units. These capabilities are a part of Emerson’s broad portfolio of automation technologies that help refiners optimise production, minimise downtime, and ensure that their operations are more agile.
“Downstream producers can tap the power of complete solutions for both crude and product blending operations that are designed, sold, installed, and serviced by a single supplier – all with support from Emerson’s global network of experts, consultants, and service technicians,” said Marcelo Carugo, global director of refining and chemical at Emerson.
TopNIR holds over 30 patents associated with near-infrared spectroscopy systems. One of these, Topological Near-Infrared Modelling, is a form of non-parametric modelling. TopNIR’s proprietary software can measure multiple properties of hydrocarbon streams faster than any other solution on the market today. This not only provides results well within ASTM repeatability and reproducibility standards quicker than other mathematical models, but it also adapts easily to operational changes and allows for a smaller maintenance footprint.
“TopNIR fits perfectly with Emerson’s advanced process control solutions by delivering full on-line analysis of any hydrocarbon stream in less than one minute, allowing real-time optimisation and superior quality control,” said Didier Lambert, CEO of TopNIR Systems.
In addition to improving crude blending performance, customers will now be able to streamline their operations on the fuel blending side of the refinery. The Emerson/TopNIR blending solution allows refiners to more easily test and adjust the characteristics of each blend to avoid touch-up blends that can result in millions of dollars in product quality giveaway each year. Refiners will also be able to minimise inventory and tankage costs, and ensure compliance with the latest global clean-fuel emissions regulations taking effect over the coming years.