In comparison to other branches in industry, the production chains in chemical industry are characterized by high complexity. The manufacturing processes of fine chemicals, basic chemicals, polymers or even pharmaceuticals are integrated in complex systems. This applies not only to physical integration of the production line but also integration resulting from using the same platform for energy and utilities supply. For this reason, chemical industries tend to cluster together, to benefit from the possibility of production integration, which consequently contributes to reduced energy demand, use of by-products and increases competitiveness.
Total site integration offers huge potentials for energy savings, for instance through the energetic integration between processes. The heat of exothermal processes can be used in endothermal reaction or separation processes. In doing so, a proper design of steam pressure levels of the steam network on the site is essential. In a large manufacturing site approx. 50% of thermal energy can be satisfied by heat integration between exothermal and endothermal processes . In addition, a well-balanced material usage is recommended so that most of the byproducts can be used. Heat integration by pinch analysis for a total site is discussed in Chapter 6.
Additionally, a pivotal point of total site network is highly efficient energy supply system, based on power plants using cogeneration (combined heat and power generation). With cogeneration it is possible to achieve a total efficiency in the region of 90% compared with modern power generation plants with efficiencies in the range of 45% to 55%. Another dimension of integration is the thermal use of by-products for instance from the refinery as alternative fuels.
The physical and energetic integration within a chemical manufacturing site offers the advantage of use of by- and co-products of different plants. This enables reduction of waste of raw materials and increase in the overall profitability of the plant. Energy consumption expressed in primary energy can be reduced by integrating energy consumers and energy suppliers by utility networks (e.g., steam network, but also cooling media and ammonia network). The impact on integration (total site network) must be thoroughly considered in cases where, for example, projects leading to reduced energy consumption are carried out. Due to the integrated nature of the system, energy savings and energy integration must always be considered simultaneously. Leimkühler et al. discuss this aspect at the example of a sulfuric acid network .
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