Time [h

Figure 4.9 Effect of advanced process control loop.

Because of the decreased variation of the concentration curve the operators could reduce the setpoint of the concentration, that means choose a setpoint closer to the product specification. Now the column is operated with a lower reflux ratio and therefore with lower energy consumption. This example shows that the implementation of process control loops, which means an investment, often leads to high energy savings. Within a comprehensive energy project the process control expert is therefore a member of the team.

Process Improvements

In this part of our systematic approach we examine improvements to the process by changing the process itself. Here we consider disruptive innovations therefore the time scale for these measures is medium or long. Our experts who analyze the process come up with novel ideas, which have to be investigated further. Some example for such ideas:

• Change to solvent with better separation characteristics.

• Use alternative raw materials if the C02 footprint of the raw materials is high.

• Evaluate the reaction kinetics that may lead to an alternative reactor concept.

• Heat integration by additional or different equipment.

• Advanced equipment types (for example process intensification or micro technology).

• Exchange of columns by membranes.

This is only a small selection of measures that were discussed in our projects.

The savings potential of these ideas will be evaluated. Then we discuss with the customer if a further elaboration of the measure will be pursued.

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