Approximately 60% of the capital investments for a new producing plant are decided during its early design phases. By using a dynamic model at these stages to carry out some of the engineering studies, project costs could be driven down while sustaining project schedules and managing risks. The engineering dynamic simulation studies are carried out with a complete process model, including all relevant pieces of equipment with detailed design characteristics such as geometry of vessels, characteristic curves for valves, performance maps for compressors and pumps, sizing and parameters for columns, vessels and heat exchangers, controllers structure, insulation data for heat loss, elevations, reactions, thermodynamics, etc.
The process model is based on first principles with full thermodynamic properties. It is engineered to reflect the overall plant operation in such a way that differences between the simulation model and the actual plant are minimal. In fact, the dynamic model typically uses the same simulation software that was used in the design of the plant from where the steady state heat and material balances are produced, but the dynamic model incorporates more equipment details (valves, columns, compressors) and takes into account some hydraulics effects (static head, elevations, , nozzles, pressure flow equations) which produce a more accurate representation of the actual plant.