Heat Exchanger Network Retrofit of an Oleochemical Plant through a Cost and Energy Efficiency Approach

Valli Trisha, Kai Seng Koh, Lik Yin Ng, Vui Soon Chok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Limited research of heat integration has been conducted in the oleochemical field. This paper attempts to evaluate the performance of an existing heat exchanger network (HEN) of an oleochemical plant at 600 tonnes per day (TPD) in Malaysia, in which the emphases are placed on the annual saving and reduction in energy consumption. Using commercial HEN numerical software, ASPEN Energy Analyzer v10.0, it was found that the performance of the current HEN in place is excellent, saving over 80% in annual costs and reducing energy consumption by 1,882,711 gigajoule per year (GJ/year). Further analysis of the performance of the HEN was performed to identify the potential optimisation of untapped heating/cooling process streams. Two cases, which are the most cost-effective and energy efficient, were proposed with positive results. However, the second case performed better than the first case, at a lower payback time (0.83 year) and higher annual savings (0.20 million USD/year) with the addition of one heat exchanger at a capital cost of USD 134,620. The first case had a higher payback time (4.64 years), a lower annual saving (0.05 million USD/year) and three additional heaters at a capital cost of USD 193,480. This research has provided a new insight into the oleochemical industry in which retrofitting the HEN can further reduce energy consumption, which in return will reduce the overall production cost of oleochemical commodities. This is particularly crucial in making the product more competitive in its pricing in the global market.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Issue number2
Early online date12 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Heat exchanger network
  • Optimisation
  • Retrofit
  • Sustainability
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Energy(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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