Efficient short-term scheduling of refinery operations based on a continuous time formulation

Zhenya Jia, Marianthi Ierapetritou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


The problem addressed in this work is to develop a comprehensive mathematical programming model for the efficient scheduling of oil-refinery operations. Our approach is first to decompose the overall problem spatially into three domains: the crude-oil unloading and blending, the production unit operations and the product blending and delivery. In particular, the first problem involves the crude-oil unloading from vessels, its transfer to storage tanks and the charging schedule for each crude-oil mixture to the distillation units. The second problem consists of the production unit scheduling which includes both fractionation and reaction processes and the third problem describes the finished product blending and shipping end of the refinery. Each of those sub-problems is modeled and solved in a most efficient way using continuous time representation to take advantage of the relatively smaller number of variables and constraints compared to discrete time formulation. The proposed methodology is applied to realistic case studies and significant computational savings can be achieved compared with existing approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1019
Number of pages19
JournalComputers and Chemical Engineering
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Continuous time formulation
  • Refinery operation
  • Scheduling
  • Spatial decomposition


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