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Research Papers: Petroleum Engineering

A Robust Three-Phase Isenthalpic Flash Algorithm Based on Free-Water Assumption

[+] Author and Article Information
Ruixue Li

Faculty of Engineering,
School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering,
University of Alberta,
9211 116 Street NW,
Edmonton, AB T6G 1H9, Canada
e-mail: ruixue2@ualberta.ca

Huazhou Andy Li

Faculty of Engineering,
School of Mining and Petroleum Engineering,
University of Alberta,
9211 116 Street NW,
Edmonton, AB T6G 1H9, Canada
e-mail: huazhou@ualberta.ca

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Petroleum Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received July 6, 2017; final manuscript received August 19, 2017; published online September 28, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Daoyong (Tony) Yang.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 140(3), 032902 (Sep 28, 2017) (10 pages) Paper No: JERT-17-1339; doi: 10.1115/1.4037901 History: Received July 06, 2017; Revised August 19, 2017

Isenthalpic flash is a type of flash calculation conducted at a given pressure and enthalpy for a feed mixture. Multiphase isenthalpic flash calculations are often required in compositional simulations of steam-based enhanced oil recovery methods. Based on a free-water assumption that the aqueous phase is pure water, a robust and efficient algorithm is developed to perform isenthalpic three-phase flashes. Assuming that the feed is stable, we first determine the temperature by solving the energy conservation equation. Then, the stability test on the feed mixture is conducted at the calculated temperature and the given pressure. If the mixture is found unstable, two-phase and three-phase vapor–liquid–aqueous isenthalpic flash can be simultaneously initiated without resorting to stability tests. The outer loop is used to update the temperature by solving the energy conservation equation. The inner loop determines the phase fractions and compositions through a three-phase free-water isothermal flash. A two-phase isothermal flash will be initiated if an open feasible region in the phase fractions appears in any iteration during the three-phase flash or any of the ultimately calculated phase fractions from the three-phase flash do not belong to [0,1]. A number of example calculations for water/hydrocarbon mixtures are carried out, demonstrating that the proposed algorithm is accurate, efficient, and robust.

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Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Flow chart of the multiphase isenthalpic flash algorithm based on the free-water assumption

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Case study 1 (water/C3/C16 mixture): comparison between temperatures obtained by the new isenthalpic flash algorithm and those obtained by Zhu and Okuno [28] at 80 bar

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Case study 1 (water/C3/C16 mixture): (a) absolute deviations between the calculated total molar enthalpies obtained by the conventional three-phase isothermal flash and those obtained by the three-phase free-water isothermal flash at 80 bar and different temperatures and (b) mole fraction of C3 in the water-rich phase as calculated by the conventional three-phase isothermal flash at 80 bar and different temperatures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Case study 1 (water/C3/C16 mixture): evolution of the number of phases and temperatures as a function of the iteration number of the outer loop at 80 bar and four different values of the specified enthalpy: (a) Hspec = −15,000 J/mol, (b) Hspec = −8000 J/mol, (c) Hspec = 0 J/mol, and (d) Hspec = 8000 J/mol

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Case study 2 (water/pseudo-components mixture): comparison between temperatures obtained by the new isenthalpic flash algorithm and those obtained by Zhu and Okuno [28] at 30 bar

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Case study 2 (water/pseudo-components mixture): variation in the number of iterations as a function of the calculated temperatures experienced by the new isenthalpic flash algorithm at 30 bar

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Case study 2 (water/pseudo-components mixture): evolution of the number of phases and temperatures as a function of the iteration number of the outer loop at 30 bar and four different values of the specified enthalpy: (a) Hspec = −49,000 J/mol, (b) Hspec = −45,000 J/mol, (c) Hspec = −28,000 J/mol, and (d) Hspec = −24,000 J/mol

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Case study 3 (water/C1/C7/CD mixture): comparison between temperatures obtained by the multiphase isenthalpic flash algorithm provided in this work and those obtained by Zhu and Okuno [37]: (a) at 20 bar and (b) at 210 bar

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Case study 3 (water/C1/C7/CD mixture): (a) mole fraction of C1 in the water-rich phase calculated by the conventional three-phase isothermal flash at 210 bar and different temperatures and (b) comparison between the phase fractions obtained by the three-phase free-water isothermal flash and those obtained by the conventional three-phase isothermal flash at 210 bar and different temperatures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Case study 3 (water/C1/C7/CD mixture): evolution of the number of iterations as a function of the calculated temperatures at 210 bar as experienced by the new isenthalpic flash algorithm

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