Energy Management Information Systems Evolve to See the Bigger Picture

Energy is the largest controllable operating cost at most process plants. A typical refinery or petrochemical plant may spend $200–300 million per year on energy — so cutting just 3% in energy cost can save $6–$9 million per year. Such energy savings always result in direct bottom-line benefits. Poorly designed and overly simplistic energy performance indicators often drive energy savings at the expense of product yield or quality. However, a well-designed energy management information system can minimize energy cost without impacting production and, in some cases, can even enhance process performance.

Traditional energy monitoring applications mainly focus on improving energy-side key performance indicators for fired boiler and heater efficiencies, energy intensity, utilities’ marginal cost, etc. These monitoring applications rely on inputs from various process measurement instruments, with temperature leading the way, to verify performance.

However, covering an expanded range of production parameters — including energy supply, demand and recovery, product quality and process yields — requires integration of the process with energy simulation, monitoring and optimization tools. This whitepaper shows how to overcome traditional barriers to energy saving by using rigorous process simulations to monitor performance and determine optimum operating targets for improving both energy and process performance.