Process simulation, integration and optimization of blending of petrodiesel with biodiesel
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With the increasing stringency on sulfur content in petrodiesel, there is a growing tendency of broader usage of ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) with sulfur content of 15 ppm. Refineries around the world should develop cost-effective and sustainable strategies to meet these requirements. The primary objective of this work is to analyze alternatives for producing ULSD. In addition to the conventional approach of revamping existing hydrotreating facilities, the option of blending petrodiesel with biodiesel is investigated. Blending petrodiesel with biodiesel is a potentially attractive option because it is naturally low in sulfur, enhances the lubricity of petrodiesel, and is a sustainable energy resource. In order to investigate alternatives for producing ULSD, several research tasks were undertaken in this work. Firstly, base-case designs of petrodiesel and biodiesel production processes were developed using computer-aided tools ASPEN Plus. The simulations were adjusted until the technical criteria and specifications of petrodiesel and biodiesel production were met. Next, process integration techniques were employed to optimize the synthesized processes. Heat integration for petrodiesel and biodiesel was carried out using algebraic, graphical and optimization methods to maximize the integrated heat exchange and minimize the heating and cooling utilities. Additionally, mass integration was applied to conserve material resources. Cost estimation was carried out for both processes. The capital investments were obtained from ASPEN ICARUS Process Evaluator, while operating costs were calculated based on the updated chemical market prices. The total operating costs before and after process integration were calculated and compared. Next, blending optimization was performed for three blending options with the optimum blend for each option identified. Economic comparison (total annualized cost, breakeven analysis, return on investment, and payback period) of the three options indicated that the blending of ULSD with chemical additives was the most profitable. However, the subsequent life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and safety comparisons demonstrated that the blending of ULSD with biodiesel was superior.