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Optimizing the Design of Heat Exchanger Networks in Crude Oil Refineries

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Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR,volume 212)


The scarcity of energy resources and environmental impacts have made the pursuit of energy efficiency a pressing matter in several industries, such as car manufacturing, consumer appliances, and lighting. Factories and industrial plants also face rising energy costs and tightened energy regulations, and as such, energy conservation efforts often yield significant returns. In chemical plants, energy is used in several forms such as electricity, steam, and gas, and some of its common uses include pumping fluid, running equipment, and heating and cooling. This chapter will primarily focus on designing energy efficient heating and cooling networks for chemical processes, which is illustrated by an application to crude distillation in an oil refinery.


  • Cold Utility
  • Cold Stream
  • Utilizing Heat Exchangers
  • Fractional Distillation Process
  • Stream Matches

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  1. 1.

    In reality, fractional distillation processes have several treatment units and feedback flows that are not considered in this model. We are considering a simplistic model in this chapter to better illustrate the heat exchanger network designing method, which can be used for a more complete model as well.

  2. 2.

    Remember that \(k\rm W\) is a unit for the energy rate (i.e., energy per unit time), so \(k\rm Wh\) (kilowatt-hour) is an energy unit.

  3. 3.

    Larger heat transfer between streams leads to less consumption of energy utilities.

  4. 4.

    The capital cost of a heat exchanger device typically increases with its surface area.

  5. 5.

    \(\Updelta T_{\min}\) values typically range from 5 to \(35^{\circ}\rm C\).

  6. 6.

    For example, see [11] and [12].

  7. 7.

    A node H i represents the total supply of heat from both H 1 and H 2 into the ith temperature interval.

  8. 8.

    A node C i represents the total heat demand for cold streams C 1 and C 2 in the ith temperature interval.

  9. 9.

    For all the HEN design schematics (Figs. 11.3611.46), the following apply: The thin lines in the drawings represent cold streams while the thick lines represent hot streams. Each stream segment has its temperature indicated (in \(^{\circ}\rm C\)) with a circle superscript, and each heat exchanger has its duty value (in \(k\rm W\)) indicated on its bottom right. For utility heat exchangers, the utility is indicated on the heat exchanger’s top right. The stream names are shown in boxes at the start and end points of each stream.


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Correspondence to Majid M. Al-Gwaiz .

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Al-Gwaiz, M.M., Murty, K.G. (2015). Optimizing the Design of Heat Exchanger Networks in Crude Oil Refineries. In: Murty, K. (eds) Case Studies in Operations Research. International Series in Operations Research & Management Science, vol 212. Springer, New York, NY.

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