Optimal production planning and pollution control in petroleum refineries using mathematical programming and dispersion models

Amani Alnahdi, Ali Elkamel, Munawar A. Shaik, Saad A. Al-Sobhi, Fatih S. Erenay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Oil refineries, producing a large variety of products, are considered as one of the main sources of air contaminants such as sulfur oxides (SOx), hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2), which are primarily caused by fuel combustion. Gases emanated from the combustion of fuel in an oil refinery need to be reduced, as it poses an environmental hazard. Several strategies can be applied in order to mitigate emissions and meet environmental regulations. This study proposes a mathematical programming model to derive the optimal pollution control strategies for an oil refinery, considering various reduction options for multiple pollutants. The objective of this study is to help decision makers select the most economic pollution control strategy, while satisfying given emission reduction targets. The proposed model is tested on an industrial scale oil refinery sited in North Toronto, Ontario, Canada considering emissions of NOx, SOx, and CO2. In this analysis, the dispersion of these air pollutants is captured using a screening model (SCREEN3) and a non-steady state CALPUFF model based on topographical and meteorological conditions. This way, the impacts of geographic location on the concentration of pollutant emissions were examined in a realistic way. The numerical experiments showed that the optimal production and pollution control plans derived from the proposed optimization model can reduce NOx, SOx, and CO2 emission by up to 60% in exchange of up to 10.7% increase in cost. The results from the dispersion models verified that these optimal production and pollution control plans may achieve a significant reduction in pollutant emission in a large geographic area around the refinery site.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3771
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution control
  • Dispersion models
  • Optimization of economic and environmental impacts
  • Refinery production planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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