By Shell Catalysts & Technologies on Dec 16, 2021
Raízen Argentina’s refinery in Buenos Aires, working with Shell Catalysts & Technologies (SC&T) and more than 25 Argentine companies, has built and erected a new crude distiller column in November 2021. It is part of a project that strategically positions the refinery for the future in relation to the processing of unconventional crude, such as that from the Vaca Muerta basin. It also improves the flexibility of the refinery and allows it to adapt more easily to current market conditions.
The new crude distiller column measures almost 50 metres high and 6 metres in diameter; it weighs more than 245 tons. It took seven days to transfer the column from the fabrication site to the refinery, travelling more than 60 kilometers in a special truck that was 77 metres long.
The new crude distiller column should have uninterrupted operation throughout its target cycle length, due in part to the revamped side stripper and drier columns. SC&T developed the new crude distiller column design specifications and performed adequacy checks for the side stripper and drier columns. SC&T also provided the internals design consisting of Shell Calming Section trays, structured packing and conventional downcomer trays.
At project completion, the new crude distiller column will be integrated with other existing equipment in the Crude Distiller 5 unit. Although this is unconventional, the team was able to overcome some design challenges and use a significant portion of the existing assets. This enables Raízen Argentina to maintain their operational efficiency and productivity along with a wider operating range.
This project enables the refinery’s Crude Distiller 5 unit to process shale oil from the Vaca Muerta basin. Thisallows Raízen Argentina to optimise its crude diet from a strategy and economic standpoint. The unit aims to process maximum throughput of light-API (American Petroleum Institute) shale oil while maintaining the capability of processing mid-API crude oil as well.
“The new crude distiller column will be able to process lighter crude oil. This will allow Raízen Argentina to produce lighter products, which will help reduce the carbon footprint of the refinery,” said Diego Esposito, Sales Director, Latin America with SC&T. “We continuously strive to help our customers to increase their efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.”
The project improves Raízen Argentina’s ability to be flexible and to adapt to current market conditions.It also makes significant contributions to its sustainable management through the generation of efficiencies that allow better yields and reduction of emissions.
Raízen is an integrated energy company which produces and sells ethanol, sugar, fuels and bioenergy. It is a Joint Venture between Royal Dutch Shell and the Cosan Group with a presence in Brazil since 2011. In 2018 Raízen established itself in Argentina, and since 2021 the company has also been active in Paraguay.
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