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Site-Wide Optimization Using an Operations Center
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"Most industrial sites consist of more that one individual production unit. Whenever this is the case, there is a natural tendency to treat the operation and performance of each unit as one entity within its own right. However, it is generally agreed that coordinated operation of multiple units provides a direct route to significant savings in the overall operating efficiency and profitability of a site. This paper examines the areas in which savings may arise and describes a computer-based system which has been installed within ICI to achieve coordinated high efficiency site operation. Without doubt, the sourcing, distribution and mode of utilization of energy has a profound effect on site economics. Where appropriate, co-generation can provide major savings. Although the basic economic analysis required to justify co-generation is relatively straightforward, more detailed examination of an industrial complex reveals that variations in the production rates from individual operating units can severely affect overall efficiency. A very strong case may be made to justify real time coordination of production activities on individual units and operation of appropriate selection/deployment of equipment for supply of heat and power. The concept here is to adjust both production units and utilities to provide the optimal profit in real time. ICI has developed a real time system which not only coordinates such activities within a major production complex but also relates and adjusts activities on other remote sites, hundreds of miles away. The system is based on the concept of a centralized Operations Center supported by main frame computing capability. This Center continuously picks up a comprehensive range of operating data from all plants on this, and satellite sites. The data are in real time and are fed forward via localized microcomputer installations. All significant operations concerning the overall profitability of production - as affected by unit capacity/operating conditions, and heat and power use - are supervised and controlled via the Operations Center. The central computer is equipped with an overall optimizer which can be used to select appropriate conditions. The system also provides a computer based procedure for issue and verification of work permits and other operator-related activities. As a result of ICI developing a real time system in which production units and utilities are controlled to yield overall economic performance, major savings have been achieved, compared to previous conventional operating procedures. These savings are significantly into the multi-million dollar range."
Boland, D. (1988). Site-Wide Optimization Using an Operations Center. Energy Systems Laboratory. Available electronically from