Thermodynamic evaluation of distillation columns using exergy loss profiles: a case study on the crude oil atmospheric distillation column

Amir Hossein Tarighaleslami*, Mohammad Reza Omidkhah, Ali Ghannadzadeh, Roozbeh Hoseinzadeh Hesas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Web of Science)


This paper presents a case study on the crude oil atmospheric distillation column of Tabriz refinery plant to show the applicability of exergy loss profiles in thermodynamic examination of the different retrofit options. The atmospheric distillation column of Tabriz refinery has been revamped as a consequence of increase of the plant capacity to 100,000 bpd. To cover the deficit of feedstock of the revamped unit, a blend of the existing feedstock with imported crude oil is used as a feedstock. However, to investigate how the blend of these two different types of crudes as a feedstock has an influence on the operating conditions, the examination of the column is needed. Exergy as a comprehensive thermodynamic property which translates the temperature, pressure and composition change into a common unit has been chosen to evaluate the distillation column thermodynamically. Furthermore, the exergy loss profile of the base case serves as a scoping tool to pinpoint the source of inefficiencies. Then, the exergy loss profile as a screening tool has found the retrofit options which are likely to yield greatest energy saving from a list of retrofit options proposed by the industrial partner. In the presented case study, the exergy loss profile identifies the best retrofit option with 17.16% reduction in exergy losses, which finally lead to 3.6% reduction of primary fuel demand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
JournalClean Technologies and Environmental Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Exergy
  • Process simulation
  • Crude oil atmospheric distillation column

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