© sean riley
© sean riley

Project highlights efficiency of refineries and plants

An FP7-funded project has developed systems that help improve resource efficiency and save energy and costs in chemical processing plants.

Plastics, soaps and detergents, synthetic textiles and electronic equipment would not exist without chemicals. Everyday products such as these contain petrochemicals derived from oil or natural gas, which comes at an environmental cost and could contribute significantly to global warming, especially if not used efficiently.

By defining real-time energy and resource efficiency indicators, used daily by industrial chemical and process industries, the MORE project is able to provide information about the current efficiency of a plant, and about possible methods of improvement.

The project’s scientific co-ordinator, Sebastian Engell, said: “These indicators are based on the processing of real-time data that is available from existing standard measurements or new analytic measurements.”

The project has also assessed the environmental and cost impacts of using the systems at a refinery, a petrochemical complex, a chemical plant that processes renewable feedstock, and a plant that produces cellulose from wood sites. The studies demonstrate that the project’s approach can be applied to other sectors, including the bioeconomy sector.

Project co-ordinator Svetlana Klessova added: “The cost savings were the result of the optimisation of single evaporators and cooling towers. Resource efficiency contributes to creating a more economically competitive European process industry with a smaller carbon footprint.”

The energy saving at the cellulose fibre factory, for example, would be equivalent to a reduction of 2,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. The optimisation of the cooling towers likewise resulted in energy savings of about 250,000m3 of natural gas each year.

The project, which is set to be completed in October of this year, involves a collaboration of researchers from France, Spain, Germany, Finland and Austria.

Read MORE’s article written for Pan European Networks here.