Powering Tomorrow’s Refineries

Oct 18, 2023   Written by Michelle Wicmandy and Carlos Ruiz

Energy and GHG Emissions Management Drives Sustainability

In September 2023, the KBC Visual MESA® team attended the Latin American Refining Technology Conference (LARTC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With 50 expert speakers and more than 200 private meetings, this prestigious 3-day content-led networking event attracted over 550 professionals to learn about the critical role of energy efficiency in driving the refining industry’s future towards decarbonization. To ensure sustainability, refiners must quickly adapt to low-carbon hydrogen and biofuels, which have become increasingly popular due to changes in consumer demand and increasingly stringent carbon-reduction legislation.

Federico Neira, Joana Variani, and Carlos Ruiz presenting at LARTC Federico Neira, Joana Variani, and Carlos Ruiz share expert knowledge on emissions management solutions.

Cornerstone of Sustainable Refineries

During a panel discussion, KBC’s Carlos Ruiz, Ph.D. and Federico Neira, along with Joana Variani of Acelen Mataripe Refinery discussed practices and tools for emissions monitoring, accounting, and optimization. They emphasized that energy efficiency is a cornerstone for creating sustainable refineries. By implementing comprehensive energy and emissions optimization strategies and embracing digital tools, refineries can improve their bottom line as well as play a key role in reducing emissions, thus contributing to a greener future.

Two people giving a joint presentation. Ecopetrol and KBC discuss their optimization project in a joint presentation.

Energy Efficiency Improvement and Emissions Reduction Case Study

Ecopetrol and KBC jointly presented their recently commissioned real-time optimization project using Visual MESA Energy Management System at Barrancabermeja refinery, Colombia, during the technical sessions. The optimization led to significant economic savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

They spoke about challenges that refineries face with respect to energy and emissions real-time monitoring and optimization, and how an energy efficiency management system can help them successfully execute a green shift in their refinery. As a result of implementing an optimization tool, energy costs and emissions can be minimized by performing online balance calculations and calculating optimal operational actions. In addition, GHG emissions reporting needs were discussed, that includes auditability and compliance with norms.

Advanced Technology for Sustainable Refining

At the event, KBC’s Visual MESA team Federico Neira alongside Critian Rojas and Carlos Ruiz explained the benefits of Visual MESA GHG Emissions Management advanced capabilities to attendees.

Committing to Long-term Decarbonization Strategies

The refining industry, although mature and operating at full capacity, faces increasingly challenging threats. Thus, it's essential to address sustainability. Sustainability in refining involves balancing environmental, social, and economic objectives with business goals. This approach requires continuous collaboration and conversation among the industry’s leading stakeholders who proactively manage change and commit to long-term decarbonization strategies.

Group of people standing together Visual MESA team: Federico Neira, Sebastian Cuneo, Carlos Ruiz, Cristian Rojas, and Edgardo Benvenuto.

The Visual MESA team is dedicated to contributing to the industry’s decarbonization efforts. Our commitment includes leveraging our energy management leadership, refining expertise, and facilitating ongoing dialogue among the industry’s key stakeholders. Our work showcases our energy efficiency improvements, demonstrating how refineries can adapt to meet these challenges. These advancements highlight that energy efficiency is not just a cost-saving measure but also a significant contributor to reducing CO2 emissions. As a leading member of the industry, the Visual MESA team aims to leverage energy management strategies and tools to power the refineries of the future.