Air Separation Units (ASUs) Simulation Using Aspen Hysys® at Oxinor I of Air Liquid Chile S.A Plant

C.A. Leiva 1 , D.A. Poblete 1 , T.L. Aguilera 1 , C.A. Acuña 2  and F.J. Quintero 3
  • 1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile
  • 2 Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, 2390123, Valparaíso, Chile
  • 3 , Santiago, Chile


The method used to extract copper from its ores depends on the nature of the ore. The main process currently to separate copper from sulphide ores is the smelting process. The concentrated ore is heated strongly with silicon dioxide (silica), calcium carbonate and oxygen enriched air in a furnace or series of furnaces which is carried out using the injection of the air for oxidation the Fe and Si present in the raw material. Oxygen can be produced using several different methods. One of these methods is Air separation process, which separates atmospheric air into its primary components, typically nitrogen and oxygen, and sometimes also argon and other rare inert gases by cryogenic distillation. In this paper, simulation of air separation units (ASUs) was studied using Aspen Hysys®. The obtained simulation and model was validated with the operational data from the Oxinor I of Air Liquide S.A Plant. The ASU was divided into subsystems to perform the simulations. Each subsystem was validated separately and later on integrated into a single simulation. An absolute error of 1% and 1.5% was achieved between the simulated and observed the process variables(s). This indicated that Aspen Hysys® has the thermodynamic packages and required tools to perform simulations in cryogenic processes at industrial scale.

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