New Approach to Refinery Process Simulation with Adaptive Composition Representation

Heiko Briesen, Wolfgang Marquardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The established technique for simulation of refinery processes is the use of pseudocomponents. However, in order to increase the economical benefit of plant operation, it seems inevitable to include molecular information in petroleum mixtures characterization. This will lead to a strong increase of problem size. For this new class of models, there currently seems to be no special algorithms available. The classic pseudocomponent approach is compared with a newly developed solution strategy, which is explicitly developed to efficiently solve simulation problems with a high detail in composition representation. The new solution strategy is an adaptive multigrid method based on a wavelet-Galerkin discretization. With the wavelet-Galerkin discretization the model can easily be formulated on various levels of detail. In an iterative procedure the multigrid concept exploits these different formulations to construct correction-term approximations to the true solution. The discretization of these correction-term models is now done with a detail in composition representation that is determined by a residual-based adaptation strategy. The proposed method has been implemented for a simple 9-stage distillation column and tested for a variety of feed mixtures. In all investigated tests the proposed method proved to be superior to the conventional pseudocomponent approach in terms of accuracy and efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-645
Number of pages13
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptivity
  • Complex multicomponent mixtures
  • Model reduction
  • Multigrid
  • Petroleum
  • Pseudocomponents
  • Simulation


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