Molecular reconstruction of complex hydrocarbon mixtures: An application of principal component analysis



Three methods for reconstruction of the detailed molecular composition of complex hydrocarbon mixtures, based on their global properties, are compared: a method based on the Shannon entropy criterion, an artificial neural network and a multiple linear regression model. In spite of the broad range of naphthas included in the training set, the application range of the last two methods proved to be limited. Principal component analysis allowed to identify their three-dimensional ellipsoidal application range. In this subspace, the artificial neural network is more accurate than the multiple linear regression model and the Shannon entropy method. However, outside its application range, the performance of the neural network, as well as the regression model, decreases drastically. In contrast, the performance of the Shannon entropy method is not influenced by the characteristics of the considered naphtha, but rather depends on the number of available commercial indices. The Shannon entropy method yields comparable results to the artificial neural network, provided that a sufficient amount of distillation data is available to supply information on the carbon number distribution. Combining the reconstruction methods with a fundamental simulation model illustrates the necessity of having accurate feedstock reconstruction methods since they allow to capture the full power of fundamental simulation models for the simulation of industrial processes. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010