Sunday, June 26, 2016

Robust Prediction of Gasoline Properties Using Spectroscopic Methods Dynamically Corrected with Lab Data

Spectroscopic methods for measuring in-line blended gasoline have many advantages over conventional on-line analyzers, such as very fast, very precise measurements, simultaneous multiple parameter measurements, and very high reliability, at a reasonable cost. Spectroscopic analysis methods in this paper refer only to FTIR, Raman, and Magnetic Resonance Analysis.

The major shortcomings of using spectroscopic methods or any inferential model-based  parameter determination are:
·       Inaccurate inferential model predictions of parameters of interest, e.g. gasoline octane values,
·       Lack of a practical, how-to guide to build simple but reasonable inferential (chemometric) models.
·       Lack of a simple methodology to dynamically correct the predicted parameter value of an imperfect inferential model by comparing it with a credible value, e.g. Lab

This paper addresses these problems with a robust solution and scheme for reliable gasoline (or any fuel) blend property parameter prediction (chemometric) model development method, and dynamic correction of the model parameter prediction with Lab data.

The scheme is based on well-known principles of inferential model-based prediction of process stream quality in place of a real parameter measuring device, e.g. octane knock engine. The model output is corrected periodically with Lab data to within the ASTM reproducibility of that parameter.

The described approach has been used since 1960’s with the advent of practical process control computers to implement composition control without using on-line property analyzers [1], and later to validate octane knock engines and NIR-type spectroscopic analyzers since 1986 [2, 3], and is a derivative of tank quality integration used in in-line blend property control since its inception in 1965 [4].

The scheme is valid for:

·       * Any fuel blending (gasoline, diesel, bunker), or any mixture of liquids
·     *   Any parameter for which an inferential model can be developed, e.g. AKI, RVP, etc.
·       * In-line fuel blending scheme, either rundown blending or component tank blending
     Get a copy of full paper at

Friday, June 24, 2016

Global 0.5% Sulfur Bunker Spec and Brexit

What’s the connection, you say? It is the blatant disregard of the will of the people by the political elites, not just the European Commission, but in case of bunkers, also the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The British elites and their Oxford cliques, including the Prime Minister (and his family) pushed a flood of EU rules and regulations down the throat of British people while enriching themselves by avoiding taxes and money laundering  (according to the leaked Mossack-Fonseca Panama papers).  The British man-in-the-street resented the perpetuation of the same Oxford-inbred clique and rejected the “more of the same” recipe by voting to leave the EU.

Are the Brits alone? No. France is making similar noises with the National Front and Marine LePen, and even Francois Hollande mentioned Frexit,  and then Holland, Denmark,…the dominoes are clearly visible…

And then there is the good old USA…where Mr. Trump and Bernie Sanders are riding high in the middle class revolt against more of the same corrupt and dishonest political elite that strangled the US since 1950’s …buying elections, increased taxes, lip service, no job creation, treating war veterans like garbage,  impoverishment of the middle class, etc.

The IMO, an agency of the UN, is considering imposing a global 0.5% Sulfur spec for marine bunker fuel either in 2020 (IMO-preferred) or a bit later, 2025. 

The global 0.5% Sulfur spec is being set not by logical and rational techno-economic considerations, but by political considerations of unelected members of IMO, driven by the same EU-centric bureaucrats paid by the EU taxpayers, in the name of progress and environmental consciousness. 

Damned be the consequences!  Higher consumer prices for goods transported by ships, putting out of business ship owners with older vessels, and more unemployment in the marine bunker fuel business.  Just what the EU and the world needs...fewer jobs!

Just like the Brexit, come 2020, many people outside EU and US ECA waters will avoid calling at these ports, and completely ignore the IMO global specs by continuing use of the cheapest high Sulfur bunker fuel possible. This will be the undoing of the IMO.

Scrubbers as abatement method to lower SOX emission work, but at $4 to $5 million a piece plus maintenance headaches and costs are an expensive temporary “band-aid”.  

A good solution is a combination of gradual switch to 1%S fuel for a couple of years, perhaps switching to 0.5% S gasoil by 2025, and by increasing engine efficiency to burn less fuel.

Ara Barsamian