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. Modelling Proves No Mission Is Impossible

Dr Schwarz used CFD to examine potential modifications for solving temperature differences and combustion problems which were affecting energy efficiency within the regenerator.
by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (SPX) Oct 19, 2007
Complex modelling work completed by CSIRO has helped identify and solve flow distribution problems at BP's Bulwer Island refinery, saving the company millions of dollars in operating cost. In what could be a world first, researchers used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to develop a complete, three-dimensional reactive model of a fluidised bed catalytic cracker regenerator to help identify effective modifications for improving unit performance.

CSIRO Minerals research program leader Dr Phil Schwarz and BP Bulwer Island Refinery process support superintendent John Lee worked closely on the project. The duo received the 2006 Engineers Australia John A. Brodie Medal - awarded for contributions to chemical engineering - for their paper on the work.

Although BP staff believed they understood the problem and how to fix it, the potential cost of getting it wrong led to them calling in Dr Schwarz.

Dr Schwarz used CFD to examine potential modifications for solving temperature differences and combustion problems which were affecting energy efficiency within the regenerator.

"CFD allowed us to identify why these problems were occurring in the first place. Having this information meant we were able to model a range of potential design improvements and identify the most effective solution," says Dr Schwarz.

"The modification chosen has improved energy efficiency, reduced emissions from the regenerator stack and is saving the refinery several million dollars in annual operating costs."

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