Process simulators can access rigorous heat exchanger calculations through CAPE-OPEN interface standard

Process simulators are vital to designing, maintaining, and operating today’s refining, petrochemical, and chemical processing facilities.

By Fernando J. Aguirre and Joseph W. Holmes

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Process simulators are vital to designing, maintaining, and operating today’s refining, petrochemical, and chemical processing facilities. However, process simulators are only a part of the toolset needed; more rigorous unit operation models such as HTRI’s Xchanger Suite are needed to more accurately design and troubleshoot heat transfer equipment.

CAPE-OPEN is an international standard that defines rules and interfaces which allow CAPE (Computer-Aided Process Engineering) applications or components to interoperate. The standard is maintained by CO-LaN (www.colan.org). Using the CAPE-OPEN interface standard, rigorous unit operation models can be embedded and executed directly within a process simulation flowsheet. This methodology eliminates the need to manually transfer process or fluid physical property information between the process simulator and the rigorous unit operation model, thus making the calculation process more efficient and reducing the potential for errors.

With the release of Xchanger Suite 4.0, HTRI has implemented version 1.0 of the CAPE-OPEN standard for unit operations. This allows users of this software to embed rigorous models for air-coolers, economizers, plate-and-frame heat exchangers, and shell-and-tube heat exchangers in any CAPE-OPEN compliant simulator. At the present time, the interfaces have been successfully tested with HYSYS 3.2, Aspen Plus versions 12.1 and 2004, as well as a development version of PRO/II 7.1.

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