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December 17, 2009

New MTP process modeled dynamically

Gerald Ondrey

Bayer Technology Services (BTS; Leverkusen; collaborated with Lurgi GmbH (Frankfurt, both Germany; to implement an operator training simulator (OTS) for a Lurgi’s new methanol-to-propylene (MTP) process. At the core of the MTP process is a complex, heterogeneously catalyzed reaction process, for which BTS developed a realistic and dynamic simulation model. The operator crews for the first two industrial-scale MTP plants for the production of propylene from coal-based methanol are currently being trained in China with the OTS in preparation for their future duties. The training can be conducted either via a terminal server client on site or at the site of the actual OTS system at Lurgi in Germany. BTS and Lurgi have concluded a maintenance agreement for the long-term maintenance and further development of the MTP training simulator.

“With the help of the OTS system from Bayer Technology Systems, we can use dynamic simulation to reliably verify — and, if necessary, optimize — plant layout, operating points and critical operating steps during the detail engineering phase. This is particular important in this case because we don’t have any industrial-scale reference for the MTP process. We were also able use realistic operating scenarios to perform detailed testing of our control concepts at an early stage – long before the actual plant is started for the first time,” says Matthias Linicus, director of Process Execution at Lurgi. “Furthermore, the direct coupling to an actual control system allows us to check the implementation of the instrumentation and control system and to predefine settings for the control parameters tested. As a result, we expect the startup of the plant to go smoothly next year,” adds Lurgi project manager Lutz Janko.
BTS has been successfully developing training simulators for Bayer Group customers for many years, and with the MTP training simulator for Lurgi has now achieved an additional milestone in the worldwide marketing of OTS systems. “We are proud to have acquired Lurgi as our first internationally prestigious customer in the plant construction sector. We hope to develop a long-term relationship with Lurgi involving our OTS technology, and not just for the MTP process. With just slight modifications, the OTS system developed for Lurgi can also be used to model additional plants of the same type, resulting in substantial cost savings,” says Christine Maul, head of Advanced Manufacturing Solutions at BTS.

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