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Look out for our fortnightly "Software Tip" which provides some useful tips that could potentially
save you time and produce unexpected results at your fingertips. Contest details below.

Tip 5: Modelling Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel Hydrotreaters using D HTR-SIM™



To be proactive with more and more stringent specifications on diesel products, do you want to simulate your diesel hydrotreater and find out the optimum operating conditions for ultra-low sulfur diesel production?


KBC has developed and implemented a lumped kinetic model of for use in simulating commercial ultra-low sulfur diesel hydrotreaters from D HTR-SIM™ 5 onwards. You can easily switch on the new ULSD mode in the simulation and calibrate the unit for ULSD operation now!



In the following paragraph, brief steps show how to calibrate an existing diesel hydrotreater model. If you have more questions on your plant model, please feel free to contact the KBC software helpdesk (

  1. Prepare the data needed for calibration. KBC has developed the model with in an innovative way so that the user does not need to provide detailed sulfur species information. Typical test run data will suffice. For example, typical feed data requirements include:

    a.   Feed Type (eg. Straight Run, FCC LCO, etc.)

    b.   Total sulfur in the feed stream 

    c.   T95 distillation temperature 

  2. Open an existing diesel hydrotreater model. On the Home tab of the ribbon bar, click the Calibrate drop-down menu, and select Distillate Hydrotreater Calibration to activate the calibration.

  3. On the calibration panel on the right-hand side, go to Data tab and click View Current Data. Input the data in the Multi Viewer window for streams, reactor and product separators.

  4. Close the Multi Viewer. To activate the ULSD mode, double click open the hydrotreater unit, on the Calibration page, select the Miscellaneous page in the Input Tuning Factors section. Scroll down the list and find the ULSD Factors section. Switch the ULSD Mode Option to Yes.

  5. On the Operating Data tab, select the Feed Data page and ensure the feed types for each feed stream are defined. If the type is left emply, model will treat the feed streams as straight run by default.

  6. On the Reactor/Calibration tab of the ribbon bar, click Calibrate . After Calibration is successful, you will see the factors for easy, medium and hard sulfur are shown in red in the ULSD Factors section.

  7. On the Operating Data page, select ULSD sulfur profile to view the sulfur distribution template developed for different feed types. Straight run (SR) and FCC LCO (LCO) are derived based on actual pilot plant data. FDT #3 to FDT#5 are feed types that users can define. Profile 1 shows how the T95 Distillation point of feed decides how much each of the DBTs (DiBenzoThiophene) species (M=methyl, DM=dimethyl, TM=trimethyl) are present. Profile 2 shows easy, medium, and hard sulfur can be distributed into each of the DBT species.

  8. On the Reactions/Calibration tab of the ribbon bar, click Accept and select Accept All Calibration Data. Now you have a calibrated ULSD Diesel Hydrotreater model for case studies!

  9. The following is a case study with the results showing higher WABT could potentially lead to higher bottom sulfur content due to a shift of the reaction kinetics. The optimum operating temperature to achieve minimum sulfur is around 695F.

Note: ULSD Calibration only applies to scenario where product S content is no more than 25 ppm.

We will be checking on how well you do by asking some simple questions in June. Three lucky winners will be picked and receive KBC exclusive gifts. Do keep a look out for our periodic email.

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KBC has a unique blend of talent, experience and capabilities that allows us to provide a full spectrum of services to our clients, including strategic investment support, asset optimisation and sustainable workforce development. With KBC's market-leading software solutions and intellectual property, clients can capture the information needed to realise millions of dollars of profit improvement through process modelling of all aspects of oil and gas production fluids through upstream and downstream processing.

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