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This page is obsolete. Please refer to the OLI Wiki page that replaces this page: Getting Started with Aspen Plus and OLI


Table of Contents


The OLI Alliance suite for Aspen PLUS has been around for quite some time. OLI's unique electrolyte chemistry is implemented as a property set within Aspen Plus. This interface has been available since version 8.0 of Aspen Plus and has undergone many revisions over the years. The advantage of using OLI's electrolyte package in Aspen PLUS is that OLI accurately predicts the chemistry for many systems and the user only need to know how to create the property package. What the user currently knows about Aspen PLUS is all that is needed to know to actually perform simulations.

This guide pertains to the unique skills that the user will require to create the property set.

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The Aspen PLUS OLI license actually consists of two parts. One part is distributed by Aspen Technologies and the other is distributed by OLI. It is useful to think of the license in terms of a lock and key. Aspen Technologies provides the "Lock" and OLI provides the "Key".

What is confusing to new Aspen PLUS OLI users is that the OLI Property Package seems to be available to all users regardless if they have licensed the OLI portion (the "KEY"). What Aspen has done to make distribution easier is to provide a license tag in the Aspen license file for OLI (this is the "LOCK" part). This turns on the OLI Property Package in the Aspen PLUS GUI (graphical user interface). So it would seem that the user can pick the OLI Property Package without ever contacting OLI Systems. What is also confusing is that Aspen Technologies has been permitted to provide the OLI Alliance Suite for Aspen PLUS installation files on their CD (disk 6).

Alas, this is not true. If you do try this exercise you will find that a licensing error will appear informing you that you do not have a license for OLI. You do, in fact, need to contact OLI Systems.

Once you obtain a valid OLI License for Aspen PLUS OLI then you can properly use the OLI Properties in Aspen PLUS.

One historical note, if you have a multiyear license for Aspen PLUS and had version 2004.1 or earlier you may not have the OLI tag in the Aspen License file. The current agreement between Aspen Technologies and OLI Systems allows Aspen to provide this tag. You will need to contact Aspen Technologies for the updated license file.

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Downloading and Installing

The latest versions of the OLI interface to Aspen Plus can be found on our download web site. You will need a current serial number that contains an expiration date to download the software. Such a serial number is:


Some installations are for network copies. For these installations there is a server serial number which is used to install the OLI License Manger Server program on a host computer somewhere on the network. OLI encodes an expiration data in such a serial number. With the network licence comes a client serial number. This serial number does not include an expiration date. We did not include an expiration date because it is far easier for network administrators to update the server program than to run around and update hundreds of client programs. Unfortunately this means that you as the user can not use the serial number on your client computer to download the software. Contact OLI for the server serial number and then you can download the software.

Installing the software requires local administrative privilege. We will write several files to a new folder containing the OLI chemistry generation routines plus some files in the Aspen PLUS program files tree. This tree may be write-protected on your computer. During the installation you will be asked for the client or stand-alone serial number provided by OLI.

We do have a short video on network installations for you to review.

OLI Currently supports the following Aspen PLUS versions V7.3.2, V8.0, V8.2, V8.4, V8.6, V8.8, V9.0

OLI will try to support all versions of Aspen Plus as practical.

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To run Aspen PLUS OLI the user must first generate an OLI Chemistry Model external to Aspen PLUS. OLI provides two tools for this purpose; the OLI Chemistry Model Generator (which is similar to the ESP chemistry model generator) and the OLI Chemistry Wizard. Both programs perform the same task and are modified from the standard OLI programs to work with Aspen PLUS.

The end result of both OLI programs is the creation of an Aspen PLUS "BKP" file which contains the chemistry paragraph and the chemistry ID for the OLI chemistry model. Also created is the OLI Chemistry Model File which is also known as the "DBS" file. Both the BKP and DBS files must reside in the same folder for Aspen PLUS OLI to operate properly.

We have prepared a video which will show the overall steps in creating and running a simple Aspen PLUS OLI case using Aspen PLUS 7.1 (but the concepts are the same for earlier versions of Aspen).

A written guide with more examples of using Aspen PLUS OLI has also been prepared. This guide was prepared with Aspen PLUS 2006.5.

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How does the Aspen PLUS OLI interface work?

The OLI electrolyte thermodynamic package that is to be used with Aspen PLUS is created externally to Aspen PLUS. OLI provides two chemistry creation programs for this purpose. Both of these programs create two files required by Aspen PLUS. The diagram below show this graphically.

The items in blue are routines developed by OLI. Based on the users desired chemistry, the objects in green are created. The BKP file is the standard Aspen PLUS BKP file. We use an older version of this file so we are upwardly compatible with later versions of Aspen PLUS. We also create a DBS file. This is the actual chemistry model used by OLI. It is a subset of OLI's massive database and is more easily managed. It also contains the cross reference files to Aspen PLUS names. We also create an "ASP" file which is in reality the Aspen PLUS "INP" file. We rename it since OLI also uses a file with same file extension.

The objects in yellow are Aspen PLUS routines. The model manager (also known as the graphical user interface) uses the BKP file created by OLI. To this file the user will add unit operations. The Simulation Engine calls the OLI Numerical Engine for the actual evaluation of the Electrolyte Properties and convergence of the equation sets.

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What Unit Operations are supported in the Aspen PLUS OLI interface?

There are many unit operations that are supported in the Aspen PLUS OLI interface. As time progresses this list will expand. The short answer is if you can select the OLI Property Set in the unit, then it is supported. Here is a partial list of supported unit operations.

  • Mixers
  • SEP
  • SEP2
  • Heater
  • FLASH2
  • FLASH3
  • RADFRAC (see note)
  • PUMP

Note: RADFRAC (and older RATESEP) blocks do not actually use the full OLI thermodynamic package. Most unit operations make the call to the OLI interface for both thermodynamic properties and to converge the equation set. RADFRAC will only use OLI's thermodynamics for the properties. The column calculations in RADFRAC are still calculated by Aspen PLUS.

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Converting OLI Names to Aspen Names (The OLI-Aspen Cross Reference File)

Many names used by OLI are the same as in Aspen PLUS. For example, hydrochloric acid is both HCL in OLI and Aspen PLUS. This is an easy conversion. In some cases, especially with hydrated salts, the naming gets a bit complicated. For example the solid Na2CO3.10H2O in OLI converts to NA2CO310W in Aspen PLUS.

The OLI Chemistry Wizard and Chemistry Generator will create a cross-reference list of names at the bottom of the generated DBS file. This cross-reference list is current at the time Aspen PLUS is released. As time progresses, OLI will add to its database at a much faster rate than does Aspen PLUS. This means that you will be manually adding cross-reference names (not to be confused with Alias names). You can avoid this tiresome task by manually updating your cross reference lists.

The name of the file is OLIASpenPLUSCompXRef.lis and can be found in the following folders after installation:

Aspen PLUS 2006.0: C:\Program Files\OLI Systems\Alliance Suites\Aspen OLI 2006\Databanks

Aspen PLUS 2006.5: C:\Program Files\OLI Systems\Alliance Suites\Aspen OLI 2006.5\Databanks

Aspen PLUS 7.1 C:\Program Files\OLI Systems\Alliance Suites\Aspen OLI V7.1\Databanks

Below is a partial listing of the file for Aspen 2006.0

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OLI added blocks to Aspen PLUS (EFLASH and EFRAC)

With the installation of the OLI interface for Aspen PLUS come two user added unit operations. These are the EFLASH and EFRACH blocks. The user must enable these added unit operations via the library function in Aspen PLUS. Each block has its own unique properties separate from Aspen PLUS unit operations.


The EFLASH block is unique in that it allows for four phase separation. No such unit exists in the standard Aspen PLUS unit operations. You can simultaneously separate a vapor, aqueous, organic and solid phases. Below is a schematic of the unit operation:


The EFRACH unit operation is the Aspen PLUS equivalent to the OLI ESP multistage unit operations or to the older OLI ProChem/Frachem unit operations. Some chemical systems solve better and faster using the OLI EFRACH block over the RADFRAC block. In EFRACH, Aspen PLUS uses both the OLI thermodynamic properties as well as the OLI numerical solving routines. Below is a schematic of the EFRACH unit operation.


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How to switch thermodynamic frameworks in the same model?

This is a short 11:30 minute video on how to change from the AQ thermodynamic framework to the MSE thermodynamic framework without having to rebuild the entire Aspen PLUS flowsheet. The video uses V7.2 of Aspen PLUS

How to switch Frameworks (YouTube)

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