Optimum FCCU performance requires understanding current unit operations and capabilities, setting clear goals and strategies and then implementing these strategies. In this course, you will:

Learn to use data more effectively. Refinery data acquisition systems can deliver an overwhelming amount of real-time data. The course introduces monitoring systems that distill data into manageable amounts of information and provide targeted reports for each stakeholder. It also covers how to use the data to identify current and future unit problems and potential opportunities for improvement.


Find out about refinery computer control systems—and how to make sure they help your refinery maximize profits. The modern refinery relies on complex computer programs to make many profit-critical decisions. Crude selection, production targets and key unit operating conditions usually determined by the refinery LP. Individual unit operations are often controlled by an Advanced Process Control System while other key questions are evaluated with a rigorous kinetic model. This program shows how to evaluate these systems’ performance, and if they are truly driving toward maximum profit and/or achieving other strategic goals. 

Learn a methodology for troubleshooting complex systems. Optimum economic performance cannot be achieved unless problem areas are quickly identified and corrected. This troubleshooting methodology is useful to the individual troubleshooter as well as multi-person teams. The program uses real-life examples to illustrate how to use this information to achieve continuous optimum performance in both the short and long term.

This course is ideal for anyone involved in refinery process engineering, refinery planning, unit operations, process modeling, catalyst sales andtechnical service. Supervisors of these functions will also find this program valuable.  Although the focus is on FCC unit monitoring and optimization, many of the principles discussed also apply to other refinery process areas

Program Outline 

  • Process Monitoring

    • Overview and Goals
      • Types of Monitoring
      • Monitoring Program Components
        • Feeds & Yields
        • Catalyst Performance
        • FCC Material Balance
        • Coke and Heat Balance Calculations
        • Constraint Giveaway
        • Catalyst Circulation
        • Pressure Balance
        • Reaction Mix Tests
        • Corrosion

    Building a Monitoring Program

    • Key Process Indicators
    • Daily / Weekly Trend Monitoring
    • Deviations from Expectation
    • Reporting

    FCC Troubleshooting

    • Identifying problems
    • Troubleshooting methodology
    • Causes and Effects
      • Reactor and Regenerator Hardware
      • Feed Issues
      • Catalyst Issues
      • Circulation Problems
      • Environmental Issues
      • Rotating Equipment Issues
      • Columns and Fractionator Issues

    Optimization Strategies

    • Strategic Goals
    • Minimizing Cost vs Maximizing Profits
    • Battery Limit Economics
    • Refinery Gate Economics

    Daily Optimization

    • Goals / Operating Targets
    • Maximizing Utilization
    • Advanced Process Control
    • Monitoring the APC

    Longer-Term Optimization 

    • Predicting / Accounting for Unit Degradation
    • Catalyst Deactivation/Make-up
    • Fouling and Corrosion
    • Testing / Maintaining LP FCC Sub-Model
    • Feed & Catalyst Selection
    • Optimization Meetings
    • Evaluating Alternative Strategies
    • Evaluating Capital Changes


     Using and Maintaining Process Models 

    • Reactor / Regenerator Yield Models
    • Distillation Heat / Material Balance Models
    • Heat Exchanger Train Models
    • Evaluating Vendor Proposals


    Troubleshooting Exercises

  • Optimization Case Studies 



 Alan R. English, an independent consultant, has extensive experience in the petroleum refining industry. During his 40 plus year career, he helped dozens of refineries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East optimize their performance. He was employed at KBC Advanced Technologies, Sunoco, Chevron and Gulf Oil. Al led the development and commercialization of the use of tin for vanadium passivation and bismuth for nickel passivation. He has authored or co-authored 13 publications and twice served on the NPRA (now AFPM) Q & A Panel. He holds three US patents. Al has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University and an Executive Masters degree in Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania.