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Energy-Efficiency Opportunity Assessment Tool for Chemical Plants and Refineries Running at Low Utilization Rates

The chemical and refining industries are primarily continuous processes that are designed and optimized for maximum production. It is well known that during times of low demand these operation become less energy efficient. Due to historically low fuel prices and the uncertainty associated with th duration of low demand periods, energy efficiency at low demand operating conditions has not been given much consideration.

With the escalation of energy prices in the last 5-10 years along with extended periods of low deman and thin profit margins, improving a plant's operating energy effiency is a successful and proven way to increase profitability and gain a competitive edge!

This tool was developed for plant owners, operators and energy managers. The tool provides basic information to help plants improve their energy efficiency in general, with a special focus on low-cost opportunities that can be realized during periods of low demand. It is a collection of BestPractices fro the DOE, general industry literature, academia and industry experts. It is compiled in a format that helps direct the user to specific information related to energy-efficiency opportunities at their plant.


Opportunity Estimator

The tool provides basic with a special focus on low-cost s a collection of BestPractices from It is compiled in a format that ncy opportunities at their plant.nt Tool for Chemical Utilization Rates ses that are designed and es of low demand these operations he uncertainty associated with the erating conditions has not been h extended periods of low demand y is a successful and proven way agers. .

i. trended and reported? Are there corporate goals for energy efficiency? Answer no no no no Recommendations There is a high opportunity to save energy in this area Site Operational Practices What is the current utilization rate compared to full-load design operations? Are utilities being wasted due to load mismatch. fans. etc.e. steam venting? Are distillation column reflux rates in flow control.e. i.Energy-Efficiency Opportunity Assessment Tool for Chemical Plants and Refineries Running at Low Utilization Rates Energy Management Program Does the plant have an on-site Energy Leader? Are energy efficiency targets established for operating at low utilization rates? Is progress towards energy efficiency targets measured.) have Variable Speed Drives? Is site energy (steam and power) production being optimized? Are heater oxygen targets being achieved at current charge rates? Answer <60% yes yes no no no Recommendations There is a high opportunity to save energy in this area EE Knowledge and Training Is the plant's fixed vs variable energy consumption analyzed and documented? Has training been provided to operators on energy efficiency & BestPractices? Are operators involved in activities related to improving plant energy efficiency? Are energy metrics visible to the operators? Answer no no no no Recommendations There is a high opportunity to save energy in this area Overall Rating There is a High Overall Opportunity . independent of rates? Do a majority of the large centrifugal machines (pumps.

This should be an empowered leader that has the support of site management. 2 There should be training and expectations for operators to utilize dashboards to monitor and manage plant energy efficiency. These KPIs should include energy users that have been picked as energy reduction focus areas. cross-functional energy team directing the site energy program. 2 Each site should have an active. Energy Projects 1 Review energy project lists to determine if a previously identified project is now feasible during times of low production demand. 2 Conduct benchmarking studies to compare the plant's energy efficiency to that of other units or plants in the company or industry. . For example.Energy Management Program Section Leadership 1 Each site should have an Energy Leader. 3 Establish targets for energy efficiency during times of low utilization. His/Her role is to support the energy program and promote energy efficiency in all aspects of site operations. 3 There should be a site Energy Champion that is also a member of upper management. fans. Energy Metrics and KPIs 1 Energy Metrics and Key Process Indicators (KPIs) should be displayed on dashboards. 4 In addition to site level targets. visible to operators. CTW pumps. etc. compressors. trended and reported. Metrics and Targets 1 As a minimum. In the case of a large site with many production units. energy intensity (EI) should be tracked as a measure of energy efficiency at the site or plant. it is helpful to have a designated energy focal point at the individual unit level. corporate energy goals should be established. and is usually expressed as BTU per lb. Progress towards these targets should be measured. EI is the energy used per unit of production. It should include all forms of energy used at the plant.

Procedures should be developed and used for this optimization operation. etc. 2 Match steam and waste heat producers with consumers through production planning and optimization. how long should a boiler or other fired equipment be kept on line with little or no load? Variable Frequency Drive Applications 1 Turn off circulation/transfer pumps when not in use.e. Multiple Unit. 3 Procedures for operating at low rates should include appropriate discipline.Site Operational Practices Section Matching Generation with Consumers via Production Scheduling 1 Match fuel gas producers with fuel gas consumers through production planning and optimization. compressors. etc. Develop Turndown Operating Discipline 1 Develop and document turndown scenarios for each unit. 5 Evaluate boiler and furnace fans for VFD application. 3 Multiple equipment (furnaces. at extreme turndown conditions a heater may run at 8%-10% O2 with the stack damper at minimum stop and the air registers almost closed. However. 2 There is a need to rationalize production when making the same product at multiple sites and demand is low. most efficient equipment run at highest rates. etc. For example. boilers. With proper controls. 1 Optimize furnace efficiency around stack O2 percent.5% above that point. along with opportunity gaps. The business may need to consolidate production to fewer sites. 2 Use variable frequency drives on appropriate centrifugal compressors or pumps that would otherwise run at constant speed and/or recycle at low rates. the target should be to achieve O2 below 3% and operate in a safe manner at the desired firing rate. 4 Monitor Turbo machinery efficiency for optimizing their operations. 2 Develop monitoring guidelines for running at reduced rates to ensure the plant is at it's optimum. highlight the 5 best and 5 worst heaters. i. 4 Develop operating discipline for keeping units on hot standby. . 3 Evaluate cooling tower water and process pumps for VFD application. boilers. Heaters. or Train Optimization 1 Dual trains should be optimized so that minimum energy is being used. 4 Evaluate cooling tower fans and fin-fan heat exchangers for VFD application. 2 Evaluate and install turndown capabilities for fired equipment. Determine the O2 point (by field testing) at which the heater runs out of air (CO breakthrough) and set the operating O2 target at ~0. For example. This is a big opportunity in refineries where there are a lot of furnaces and heaters. etc. Boilers. alarms and trips.) should be base loaded properly.. Production Scheduling 1 Evaluate reducing the number of shifts or days of production to decrease fixed energy consumption. Site. to maximize efficiency at lower rates and eliminate startup/shutdown losses. including furnaces. heaters. Optimization Tools for Furnaces. checklist. for upstream and downstream units. 3 Include refinery heater efficiency as part of site or plant reporting.

5 Consider the use of vacuum pumps or steam ejectors to balance steam loads. reduce heat exchanger flow to maintain delta T. Operation at lower rates may allow for longer maintenance intervals. especially for exchangers. 7 Consider advanced computational modeling techniques for distillation control to save energy. 2 Consider converting products with low demand into products that are in high demand. steam trap losses. heaters. Miscellaneous (driven by economics vs EE) 1 When generating steam at low rates. thereby reducing column reflux and reboiler duty. Batch Operations 1 Focus on scheduling. Consider modifying column control to maintain constant reflux ratio when feed rates change. product purity can exceed specifications. Evaluate reducing circulation during times of low production. Maintenance & Utilities 1 Use predictive maintenance vs planned preventive maintenance for optimum process cleaning intervals. This would reduce energy consumption during periods of low occupancy and plant shutdowns. convert acetylene to ethylene. and minimizing fixed energy usage like recovery systems. support systems. utility supplies.e. Bring product purity back to specifications. recovery systems. 6 Develop operating discipline to determine reflux ratio vs rates for processing multiple feedstocks. i. depending on site steam balance. 3 If reflux is in flow control and independent of column feed rate. 3 Consider fuel switching and renegotiation of contracts to take advantage of operation at lower rates.e. etc. . consider purchasing steam from a third party when economically feasible. 5 As rates are lowered. compressed air low rates increase dryer speed and/or turn down air flow to keep from over drying product. 3 Minimize utility losses (Steam leaks. 2 As rates are lowered. 2 Incorporate building energy management systems to save energy in office buildings and industrial facilities. 4 Consider upgrading the control system to automatic control with an economic payout and subsequent savings in energy requirements.Distillation 1 Circulation in absorber-stripper systems is often fixed and independent of rates. boilers. 2 Use low demand periods to shut down and clean process equipment that will improve energy efficiency. 4 Utilize contract manufacturing to reduce energy demand at under-utilized facilities. i. etc. 6 Solids drying . the reflux ratio will increase as feed rates are lowered. and maintain efficiency.) by conducting regular assessments and having BestPractices management programs for them. Process Cooling & Facilities Energy Management Systems 1 Optimize chiller plants and refrigeration units which are used for industrial process cooling and building HVAC.

2 Empower operators to act as 24-hr energy managers in the plant. Add opportunities to the plant project list for prioritization and implementation. Encourage all employees to turn off equipment when not in use. Understanding the Plant Energy Usage 1 Understand the plant's energy footprint . fans. How to find Opportunities 1 Perform an assessment to identify opportunties during times of low utilization. at low utilization. etc. This includes lights.fixed and variable process loads. General Energy Efficiency Culture 1 Address the total energy efficiency culture at the site.Energy Efficiency Knowledge and Training Section Operator Knowledge and Engagement 1 Foremen and operators should be sufficiently skilled and trained to incorporate energy conservation techniques in their job duties. 4 Reward and recognition plans should be in place to encourage employee engagement at all levels in energy efficiency activities. 3 Ensure that systems are in place and operators are trained sufficiently to optimize Actual vs. Quantify this gap and compare it at full rates. audits of specific systems. Target energy metrics on a daily basis. 2 Evaluate the plant's energy efficiency vs state-of-the-art or some other benchmark. Everyone should know what they can do to save energy. The gap at low rates should not be greater than the gap at full rates. 3 Establish targets for energy efficiency during times of low utilization. This also includes equipment in office buildings. . etc. brainstorming sessions. This assessment could include a review of the Mass & Energy Balance flowsheets for opportunities. pumps.

How to use this tool? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Go to the tool tab directly. The tool also calculates an overall color-coded opportuntiy score at the bottom of the page. If your version of Excel doesn't default to autocalculate. 2) Site Operational Practices. • Multiple choice questions score -1. Questions are weighted with factors of 1. or 3. click on the "to topic" link next to the answer for that question. then please hit the "F9" key for calculating. 1) Energy Management Program. System specific energy assessments will identify true technological opportunities. To learn more about a specific question or area. . • This tool does not evaluate your system specific technological potential for energy savings. To learn more about improving efficiency in one of the three general categories. click on the title link at the top of the general category section. or click on the link on the Introduction sheet Answer the questions under the three general categories. Please refer to the US DOE ITP BestPractices Tools that address the broader question of technological improvement. and 3) EE knowledge and Training The tool calculates a color-coded opportuntiy rating at the bottom of each general category section. or 1 • Opportunity messages are based on the category scores and overall score. 2. How does the tool work? • Yes or no answers to questions score points if the answer indicates an energy savings practice. 0.