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J ournal of Science (J OS) 179

Vol. 2, No. 4, 2012, ISSN 2324-9854


Copyright World Science Publisher, United States
www.worldsciencepublisher.org


HYSYS Simulation of a Sulfuric Acid Plant and Optimization
Approach of Annual Profit


1
Niaz Bahar Chowdhury,
1
Zahid Hasan and
1
A. H. M. Biplob

1
Chemical Engineering Department, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

Email: niazche@gmail.com

Abstract Sulfuric acid is a basic chemical used intensively all over the world. One can determine the prosperity of a
nation by measuring the annual use of sulfuric acid of that country. Also sulfuric acid is a very important basic
chemical, widely used in different industrial sector. The main purpose of the study is to simulate and optimize the
annual profit 98.4% sulfuric acid plant by Aspen HYSYS 3.2. In this project, a simplified sulfuric acid production
process is simulated and optimized. In order to simulate this process some process operational data of the Sulfuric Acid
plant of WATA CHEMICALS LIMITED are used. The optimization criterion of the process is to maximize the annual
profit. This study will be helpful for the entrepreneurs who are interested to build a sulfuric acid plant. Also this study
will be very helpful for the plant operators to run the factory efficiently by minimizing the process system requirement.

Keywords Sulfuric Acid, Converters, Aspen HYSYS, Annual Profit, Optimization



1. Introduction

Aspen HYSYS is a market-leading process
modeling tool for conceptual design, optimization,
business planning, asset management, and
performance monitoring for oil & gas production, gas
processing, petroleum refining, and air separation
industries. Aspen HYSYS is a core element of Aspen
Tech's aspen ONE Engineering applications. It has
vast importance for chemical engineers to simulate a
process. This project contains a simplified simulation
of a sulfuric acid production plant which also
simulates an optimized annual profit. Sulfuric acid is
one of the most widely used and important technical
products. It is employed in the manufacture of
fertilizers, leather and tin plate, in the refining of
petroleum, and in the dyeing of fabrics
[1]


2. Methodology and Simulation

Simulation is done by Aspen HYSYS 3.2. Procedure
is described below
[2]
.

2.1. Components

The components used in this simulation are Liquid
Sulfur, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Sulfur Dioxide, Sulfur
Trioxide, Sulfuric Acid, and Water

2.2. Reaction involved

The reactions involved in this simulation are

S+O
2
=SO
2
,
2 SO
2
+O
2
=2 SO
3
,
SO
3
+H
2
O =H
2
SO
4


2.3. Fluid Package

In order to simulate the process as accurately
as possible COM thermo is selected as advanced
thermodynamics databank. In model phase
selection NRTL was selected for liquid phase
and Peng-Robinson was selected for vapor
phase.

2.4. Process Condition

The process conditions of this simulation is
described below

2.4.1. Streams

The conditions of the prime streams are

Table1. Stream Conditions

Condition
Pure
Liquid
Sulfur
Moist Air
(65%
RH)
DM
Water
Product
Temperature 105.0 30.0 30.0 75.0
Niaz Bahar Chowdhury, et al., J OS, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 179-182, 2012 180
(C)
Pressure
(atm)
2.0 2.5 1.0 1.0
Flow rate
(kmole/hr)
25.0 257.2 30 29.8

2.4.2. Converters

The conditions of various converters used in this
simulation are

Pass
Number
Inlet
temperature
(C)
Out let
temperature
(C)
Conversion
(%)
1
st
410.0 616.8 74.0
2
nd
438.0 489.7 70.8
3
rd

4
th

432.0
427.0
444.1
435.8
56.6
93.9

2.5. Unit Operations

The unit operations used in this simulation is

a. One Waste Heat Boiler
b. Three Interbed Coolers
c. Three Coolers
d. One Circulation Tank
e. Two Splitters
f. One Drying Tower

2.6. Unit Process

The unit process used in this simulation is

a. One Waste Heat Boiler
b. Three Interbed Coolers
c. Three Coolers
d. One Circulation Tank
e. Two Splitters
f. One Drying Tower

3. Process Description

Type Moist air is dried in the drying tower using
98% sulfuric acid. The resulting dry air, along with
liquid sulfur, is fed to a sulfur burner to produce
sulfur di oxide.


Figure1. Drying Tower and Sulfur Burner

The sulfur dioxide is converted to sulfur trioxide
by passing through 4 converter beds. The sulfur
dioxide from the sulfur burner is passed through a
waste heat boiler to lower the temperature before
entering the 1
st
converter bed.


Figure2. Four Single Pass Converter Beds

Between each of two consecutive converter beds,
there is also an interbed cooler for the same purpose.
Finally, the outlet gas from the 4
th
converter bed is
passed through a cooler.


Figure3. Absorption Tower and Circulation Tank

This cool gas, containing sulfur trioxide, is fed to an
absorption tower where it reacts with 98% sulfuric acid to
form 98.5% sulfuric acid. The stack gas from the
absorption tower consists predominantly of nitrogen. The
98.5% sulfuric acid is fed to circulation tank along with
demineralized water and, 97.5% sulfuric acid which
comes from the drying tower. The resulting concentration
of the sulfuric acid exiting from the circulation tank is
98.1%, which is split into two portions. One portion is
cooled and recycled back to the absorption tower. The
other portion is also cooled and further split into two
portions; one of which is the final product (98% sulfuric
acid) and the other portion is recycled back to the drying
tower
[3]
. Therefore, the above is a brief description of the
sulfuric acid production process simulated by us.

4. Results and Discussion
Niaz Bahar Chowdhury, et al., J OS, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 179-182, 2012 181

The result of this simulation is discussed in this
section

4.1. Optimized Function

The criterion of the optimization is to maximize
the profit. The function used for optimization is:

Proit [
1k

=
|]Finol ProJuct [
Ib
h
ProJuct Pricc [
1k
Ib
-
{IiquiJ Sulpbur [
Ib
h
Sulpbur Pricc [
1k
Ib
] -
{(Duty1+ Duty2 +Duty3 +Duty4 + Duty5 + Duty6 +
Duty7)[
Btu
h
u.uuu29S [
kwh
Btu
S (
1k
kwh
)}] 24 (
h
du
)
300 (
wokng du

)


Figure4: Optimization Spreadsheet

4.2. Variables

The optimization variables are temperatures of
a. Cool 1
st
Converter Bed Inlet
b. Cool 2
nd
Converter Bed Inlet
c. Cool 3
rd
Converter Bed Inlet
d. Cool 4
th
Converter Bed Inlet
e. Absorber Inlet
f. Cool Recycle 1
g. Cool Final Product



Figure5. Optimization Variables

4.3. Profit Maximization

The window which shows the profit maximization is
given below


Figure6. Maximized Profit

4.4. Product Composition

Niaz Bahar Chowdhury, et al., J OS, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 179-182, 2012 182

Figure8. Product Composition after Optimization

5. Limitations

a. In our simulation, all reactions are
considered as conversion reactions, though
they are actually equilibrium reactions. This
is done because sufficient data for
equilibrium type of reaction in Hysys were
not available.
b. In practice, solid sulfur is the raw material
input to the process, which is consequently
melted in a sulfur melter. But, in Hysys,
there is no such unit operation as sulfur
melter. As a result, liquid sulfur is directly
fed as the raw material for the process.
c. In practice, one 4-pass converter or two 2-
pass converters in series are used to convert
sulfur dioxide into sulfur trioxide. But in
Hysys, there is no provision for 4-pass or 2-
pass converter. So four single pass converters
in series are used in the simulation
[4]

d. In Hysys, there is no absorber where reaction
can take place. This type of unit process is
needed to convert sulfur trioxide to sulfuric
acid. In absence of that, conversion reactor is
used as an absorption tower.
e. In Hysys, there is no circulation tank where
mixing action take place without flashing.
This type of unit operation is needed to
convert 98.5% sulfuric acid to 98.1% sulfuric
acid. In absence of that, the unit operation
named mixer is used as a circulation tank.
f. To avoid complexity, all cooling actions are
done by simple coolers instead of shell and
tube heat exchanges or air coolers.

7. Conclusion

By doing this simulation project, the main features
of industrial production of sulfuric acid were
represented in a Process Flow Diagram. Satisfactory
results are obtained in optimizing the process,
keeping in mind the fact that the profit maximization
is done in a rather simple way. On the whole, using
this simulation approach will be helpful for the
process plant to optimize the annual profit.

Acknowledgements

We express our gratitude to Wata Chemicals Limited
for providing some basic information on Sulfuric acid
plant

References

[1] W. G. Davenport and M. J . King, Sulfuric Acid
Manufacture: Analysis, Control and Optimization,
3
rd
edition, Elsevier, New York, 2006, pp 33-38

[2] www.aspentech.com

[3] George T. Austin, Shreves Chemical Process
Industries, 5
th
Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York,
2008, pp 320-345

[4] W. W. Duecker, and J . R. West, The Manufacture of
Sulfuric Acid, Reinhold Publishing Corporation, New
York, 1966, pp 167-178

Vitae

Mr. Niaz Bahar Chowdhury was born in
Chittagong, Bangladesh. He obtained a B. Sc degree
in 2012 in Chemical Engineering department from
Bangladesh University of Engineering in Technology.
He worked as a Research Assistant in the above
department. His research interest includes LPG,
Process Engineering, Coal Gasification, and Thermal
Engineering.