I&I Awards $50,000 Grant for Further Development of Distillation Column Flooding Predictor
August 24, 2001
DOE's Office of Industrial Technologies (OIT) Inventions & Innovation Program awarded a grant of more than $50,000 to inventor George Dzyack of 2ndpoint, Inc., to further develop and test his "Distillation Column Flooding Predictor." The technology is used to improve the chemical and petroleum-refining processes.
The distillation column flooding predictor is a pattern-recognition system that will provide a more accurate estimation of distillation-column flooding in the chemical and petroleum-refining processes. The technology can predict a flood event up to 60 minutes before actual flooding and temporarily relax heat input, thereby avoiding flooding damage and providing a greater margin of safety while operating 2%-5% closer to the flood point and simultaneously increasing throughput.
Current predictor-control techniques often rely on tower-delta pressure to indicate an approach to flood. The problem with this technique is that many distillation processes experience normal day-to-day fluctuations in tower-delta pressure; therefore, determining what's normal and what's a potentially serious situation can be difficult. The distillation column flooding predictor identifies patterns of transient tower instabilities that are known to precede tray flooding. Because the distillation column flooding predictor is much more accurate, it can reduce maintenance costs, increase plant use and efficiency, and may increase product revenue.