The history of SPYRO® simulation software

The history of SPYRO® simulation software started in the late sixties when a kinetic and mathematical model was postulated by the first program author, Professor Mario Dente. Soon thereafter a team consisting of Professor Dente and Professor Eliseo Ranzi among others, was formed which took upon them the further development.


In the late seventies the cooperation of the program authors with the industrial partner KTI (Kinetics Technology International) started. KTI, now part of the industrial group TECHNIP, is an engineering company specialized in ethylene plants and furnaces. In joint cooperation, the program was tuned and validated. The program was extended with kinetic equations to cover heavy distillate cracking feedstocks. Further the functionality in terms of I/O and calculation options was largely extended to transform the software to fulfill the industrial requirements. In 1978, the program was applied for industrial application the first time. A large set of SPYRO®calculations were executed to be used as a database for a global plant optimization system in use at a European liquid cracker. In 1979, a first full license was sold to a US based ethylene producer. After 1979, SPYRO® became widely known in the ethylene industry and gradually became the world standard in ethylene yield prediction. The famous ULLMAN Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry makes a reference to SPYRO® in that sense. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, SPYRO® was continuously tuned and validated against an expanding industrial and pilot plant experimental database. This process is continuing even today.

Also the functionality of SPYRO® was enhanced, the kinetic database was extended for the very heavy liquid cracking such as hydrotreated VGO’s and waxy distillates. During the early eighties prototype adiabatic cracking reactors were developed by several operators. Adiabatic cracking features ultra short residence times in the order of 5 milliseconds and high operating temperatures to provide the required conversion and selectivity. Under those circumstances, dilution steam cannot be regarded as inert and the SPYRO® model was extended to take into account the role of the hydroxyl radical, which is an intermediate component in thermal steam reforming reactions forming CO and CO2. Also the program was extended by the transfer line exchanger model TES and coupled with newly developed firebox and convection section simulation programs. Those programs are particularly useful not only for the complete simulation of existing furnaces but also for the optimum design of new cracking furnaces. Furthermore, the SPYRO® model has been successfully linked and used in third party CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) package simulations. This combined software is in use by Technip to perform fluid dynamics studies in new large capacity furnace designs, new furnace concepts, etc. The latest release of the SPYRO® program; SPYRO® Suite 7 is a completely revised and modernized version. New equation based mathematics are used which offer many advantages such as flexibility in the simulation definition among many others and an even better calculation accuracy for the SPYRO® users.

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