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Olefin Plant Energy Savings through Enhanced Automation

Douglas C. White, Emerson Process Management, 2119 Albans, Houston, TX 77005-1517

Energy is the single largest controllable cost for olefin plants and the recent rise in prices has caused most plants to look even more closely at their usage. Automation and advanced automation can significantly reduce usage across all areas of the plant. Some of these savings can be achieved with no investment, only changes in normal operating procedures. In other cases improvements to on-line analyses, measurements and control action are justified but generally require relatively modest investments. The management of the utilities at a major olefin site can be difficult with many daily operating decisions that must balance competing economic and production issues. Real time modeling of process and utility equipment and monitoring of the energy usage in plants permits allocation decisions to be made much more frequently and accurately, often resulting in substantial savings. In this paper, results from many installations are summarized to provide guidance to olefin plant staff on likely areas for savings. Olefin plants are complex and highly integrated and analysis of potential energy savings must recognize this complexity and integration. A systematic evaluation methodology is presented to insure that projected savings are both realistic and attainable with the proposed investment. Examples from several different plants are included.