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Sustaining Performance Improvements in Energy Intensive Industries
Experience has shown that significant opportunity for performance improvements exists in energy intensive operations. Often, efforts to improve efficiency focus on vendor-led initiatives to improve operations of particular equipment. This approach assumes the overall efficiency of the system is simply a function of the individual units. However, many more factors contribute to overall performance improvement. These external factors contribute greater weight to poor performance than do equipment efficiency issues. It is common to have a very efficient process that runs very ineffectively. Despite efforts to improve efficiency of specific processes, subtly complex operations defy lasting improvement due to increased reliance on the judgment of human operators. Below the surface, process operators and managers have very different goals for when operating the process. These differences cause significant barriers to sustained performance improvements. The magnitude of performance losses can be orders larger than simple equipment efficiency losses. Rule-based Energy Management and Reporting Systems (EMRS) have proven themselves capable of overcoming the human factors that limit overall system performance. The EMRS is capable of applying the process managers judgment at all times, capturing transient opportunities as they arise. Reporting systems change the process performance reporting paradigm from “How did we do?” to “What prevented us from doing better?” Changing the reporting perspective is key for maximizing performance over time as well as forming an operating culture that is focused on continuous improvement.
Moore, D. A. (2005). Sustaining Performance Improvements in Energy Intensive Industries. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from