Friday 6 January 2012

Optimising industrial energy production & use

New Industrial Energy Group and "True Energy" technology to address €1.45 billion global imperative

Monitoring burner operation at
Tata Steel’s Port Townsend facility
The "Smart Energy Initiative" is a global programme just announced by Emerson Process Management. It is designed to combine its unmatched industrial energy expertise with advanced energy management technologies. This will enable customers to leverage more renewable fuels, lower energy costs and reduce emissions.

The company is focused on an estimated 1.45 billion euro market that is poised for strong growth as refineries, manufacturers, and other industrial customers face increased pressure to adopt lower-cost fuels. With energy comprising 30 per cent or more of a facility’s overall operating costs – combined with higher prices for fossil fuels and new global emissions mandates – industrial customers are increasingly looking to waste fuels, biomass, and other renewable sources as a solution to these challenges.

The new Industrial Energy Group will specifically focus on modernising and improving the performance of powerhouses, the onsite utilities that provide steam and electricity to power industrial operations, while also improving how the manufacturing process consumes energy. This holistic approach ensures the greatest efficiency in production of energy, plus reduced waste and inefficiencies where energy is used. Emerson technologies and expertise provide the industry’s only turnkey energy optimisation programme to help refiners, chemical producers, and other manufacturers significantly reduce energy costs and emissions.

"With industrial manufacturers consuming an estimated 50 per cent of the world’s energy, combined with rising fossil fuel prices and global mandates for reduced emissions, our customers need more than incremental efficiencies in energy management," said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. "With our Smart Energy Initiative, Emerson is introducing a fundamentally new platform that can change energy economics globally."

New patent-pending innovation
At the heart of Emerson’s integrated technology platform is its "True Energy" technology, a patent-pending innovation for calculating the actual calorific values of fuel sources, which makes reliable energy production predictable and repeatable.

"Our True Energy Combustion Control platform reinvents the current model of combustion management, which has been around since the 1920s and is still in practice today," said Chip Rennie, director of Industrial Energy for Emerson. "This brings about nothing short of a reinvention of combustion models, which will make the prevalent use of low-cost fuels like biomass achievable and sustainable."

For the first time, Emerson’s proprietary suite of software, combined with field control technologies, enables the powerhouse to interchangeably use the most available and affordable renewable or waste fuels – wood waste, food by-products, animal waste, or manufacturing by-products like petroleum coke or off-gases – to consistently create steam to power their operations. It also delivers 21st century combustion solutions for greater efficiency and reliability when using waste and other renewable fuels, which burn and deliver energy at variable and unpredictable rates.

Helping customers meet global emissions mandates
Modernising industrial powerhouses for greater sustainability not only reduces energy costs but also helps companies reduce emissions and meet global regulatory mandates. The European Renewable Energy Directive 20/20/20 seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent and increase the share of renewable fuels in the European Union’s energy mix by 20 per cent by the year 2020. China, the world’s largest energy consumer, aims to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent to 45 per cent by 2020 and to use non-fossil fuels for about 15 per cent of its energy. According to the International Energy Outlook 2010 report, renewable energy is expected to grow by 1.8 per cent annually to represent 8 per cent of total energy use in the industrial sector.

"We have seen tremendous growth for certain projects, such as biomass-to-energy conversion, where we have many customers running on renewable fuels 95 per cent of the time," Sonnenberg added. "Given our track record and energy management leadership, we anticipate 25 per cent to 35 per cent growth in industrial energy projects over the next five years."

Recent applications of Emerson’s industrial energy solutions include increased steam production from scrap wood at a commercial power facility, more stable operation of a university’s utility boilers, and more stable and efficient consumption of by-product gases at a steel mill.

"Emerson’s work at our Port Talbot (UK) steel mill is helping us make better use of ‘indigenous’ fuels – such as blast furnace gas and coke oven gas – that are by-products of our manufacturing process," said Andrew Rees, manager of a boiler upgrade project for Tata Steel. "The improved controls are part of a comprehensive energy management project that’s expected to reduce powerhouse energy consumption by 3 per cent to 5 per cent and help Tata Steel achieve its vision of becoming energy self-sufficient."   
(see also "Upgraded boiler controls enable greater use of waste fuels in Welsh steel facility" 24 November 2011)

Team combines expertise and critical technologies
Emerson’s new Industrial Energy Group is headed by Rennie, a 25-plus-year powerhouse operations expert. Emerson technologies that add real-time intelligent capabilities to the energy-generating process are Emerson’s SmartProcess™ Boiler and SmartProcess Energy Management software. These comprehensive solutions are designed to overhaul dated equipment and methodologies used by the majority of industrial powerhouses, as well as provide a new approach to "greenfield sites".

Emerson’s innovative SmartProcess Boiler technology delivers a new and unique real-time combustion control solution to address the inconsistent nature of renewable and waste fuel sources, automating and simplifying management of sudden changes in calorific value or the availability of those fuels.

SmartProcess Energy Management is another sophisticated software application that runs in real-time, closed-loop control to balance steam systems, manage electrical demand swings and upsets, identify opportunities to buy and sell power, improve efficiency, and run an entire industrial utility at the lowest cost automatically.

"Improving energy efficiency at a customer site by just 1 per cent to 2 per cent can translate into hundreds of thousands of euros in savings, and substituting a waste fuel for a purchased fuel can save millions of euros annually," said Rennie. "Opportunities like these are now too big to ignore. We look forward to helping our customers bring their powerhouse facilities up to 21st century performance standards."

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