Tuesday, August 12, 2014

From Chemical Processing: Simulation Saves Energy

"Simulation Saves Energy" from Chemical Processing: full article here

Here is an sample from the article covering SimSci software being used for energy efficiency, but I highly recommend that your read the whole article.

Schneider Electric, which gained a portfolio of simulation products with its recent acquisition of Invensys, also is finding energy efficiency to be a driving force in business today: “Energy efficiency is a common thread across all of the industry verticals and among the different processes within each vertical. Profit margins are very tight and energy is a large portion of any plant’s operating cost. Therefore, efficient usage of energy is key to remaining competitive in the global market,” says Joseph McMullen, the company’s Cohasset, Mass.-based product marketing manager.

Two simulation products in particular focus on energy efficiency: ROMeo process optimization software, which enhances plant performance by minimizing utility use, and SimSci APC, which allows operators tighter control of product specification and thus the opportunity to increase throughput and reduce energy use. This year, a completely revamped version of SimSci APC came out. The company also is developing its new SimCentral platform, which combines steady-state and dynamic modeling and optimization into a single user interface and delivers simulators with ergonomics and usability akin to those of today’s smartphones and tablets.

 “…The following units/processes are particularly energy intensive and are of specific interest to Schneider Electric customers: distillation columns; boilers; heat exchanger networks; and pump and compressor trains,” he adds.

McMullen cites a project at the Star Petroleum Refining (SPR) refinery in Rayong, Thailand, as a good illustration of what process modeling can achieve.

SPR approached Schneider with a challenging list of requirements, including: diagnosing performance bottlenecks; improving decision-making capabilities; making identification of faulty instrumentation easier; monitoring, optimizing or enhancing plant yields and profitability; and automating optimization and reporting.

Using SimSci ROMeo Online Performance Suite modeling software, which is designed to show what currently is happening at the plant so users can make appropriate and timely business decisions, SPR was able to increase throughput, reduce energy usage and improve regulatory compliance at the refinery.

The modeling also revealed an interesting problem: “We optimized the plant based on a rigorous model. Normally, real-time operation will drop the pressure for improved separation but we found in one column that it increased the pressure. Then we checked and realized that this column was already flooded,” notes SPR process engineer Bussarin Sapsawaipol."