Profitability / Energy Efficiency Improvement

By Jerry Lacatena

Every facility owner is very interested in maximizing their profits. With energy consuming a substantial portion of a petroleum refinery’s or petrochemical plant’s operating costs, the range of effort required to address this can vary significantly. At Carmagen Engineering, Inc. (CEI), we’re committed to the cause of improving energy profitability/efficiency in a cost effective manner. We typically advise our clients not to jump into time and resource-intensive programs head first, but rather to take a phased approach. We first focus on a few major opportunity areas based on our experience to reap the “low cost/no cost” opportunities first, and also identify/prioritize areas that are worthwhile for more detailed analysis.

Our program is delivered through a streamlined four-step process utilizing a team led by an energy management expert, supported by a fired equipment or heat exchanger specialist if needed. Client participation throughout the process is a key ingredient to its success, while at the same time increasing the capabilities of client staff. The four steps are:

SCOPE: This first step sets the stage by quantifying expected results, and then defining the scope, objectives, boundaries, constraints, plans, and schedule for the next steps. Quite often, immediate action can be taken on some items identified in this first step and begin seeing benefits, which also help fund subsequent steps.

ASSESS: Identifying and sharing Best Practices and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) represent the heart of both the four-step process and the crucial Assessment Step. We will help the client focus attention on areas identified in Step One that represent the greatest opportunities. These typically include:

PLAN: In Step Three, engineers assist the plant in the preparation of a high-yield implementation plan that is built on the portfolio of attractive opportunities identified in the assessment step.

IMPLEMENT: While consulting assistance may continue through implementation, our engineers turn over leadership to the client’s organization at the beginning of Step Four, when they:

The level of effort required depends on the complexity of the systems involved. Once this initial phase is done, the path forward depends on the findings, technical issues, extent of options, and justification to pursue investigations in a more detailed manner. This may involve:

A subsequent newsletter article will discuss an example of an energy efficiency improvement study that was done for a client in the Far East.