Last 8th July took place in Lyon (France) the 3rd Steering Committee of the project TOP-REF, corresponding with the month 18 of the project.
The meeting was hosted by COSMO and counted with the participation of every partner within the Steering Committee, as well as the Project Officer of the European Commission (Mr. Soren Bowadt)
The content of the meeting was focused on presenting the results achieved at this stage and the impacts achieved in the industry, as well as to pave the way for the models leading to the variables and the critical parameters that will be monitored and controlled. These tasks represent the main technical outputs expected for the next 6 months.
Since the very beginning the discussion was industry-driven and the meeting was structured according the requirements and expectations on each of the demo-sites.
Mr. Alfred Arias from Dow Chemical Iberia ( DCI) remarked the interest in finding blind inefficiency spots, implementing new non-invasive soft sensors and the decision making based on simplified plant models. Moreover, was highlighted the replication potential to other crackers worldwide and even other technologies.
On behalf of PETROGAL, Mr. Ruben Eiras explained their target to improve the Energy Intensity Index. One point in the EII means approximately 2M €. The main inefficiency point of the SINES refinery is the steam network, which is also the system with the highest replication potential to be implemented in other plant and intensive industries.
Mr. Joaquin Romero, from the fertilizer company FERTINAGRO, summarized the improvements achieved in the plant by means of the outcomes from the project. For example, there have been some remarkable consumption reductions, such as the use of Natural gas as fuel (4%), power (3%) and downtime (10%).
For each industrial case CIRCE explained the results obtained from the thermoeconomic analysis and how the process performance may be improved by changing the operating modes. All in all, the industrial partners agreed on the high potential of the thermoeconomical assessment and the exergy indicator as innovative tools to improve the resource efficiency in the intensive industry. This potential is based on the capability to assess the quality and the costs of the energy flows of any process, allowing the decision-making and the benchmarking of processes.
Another important part of the meeting was the preparation of the software tools and models, which will help to identify the variables and parameters to be monitored and controlled. This work includes the development of metamodels, Global sensitivity analysis and optimization of the processes by simulation. These working lines were presented by TUDO, CIRCE, COSMo and INOSIM. Indeed INOSIM presented a summary addressing the development of software tools and libraries within TOP-REF as one of the milestones of the project
Finally, TECNALIA provide an overview of the monitoring strategies, specially focused on soft sensors, and how the KRIs (Key Resource Indicators, specially exergy indicator), the variables, the KPA (Key Performance Attributes), and the optimized models will be integrated in the Monitoring and control tool.
The meeting was closed with the comments of the Project Officer, Mr. Soren Bowadt, who encouraged the consortium to work on the implementation of the results of the project over the intensive industry and support the SPIRE objectives.
In addition, Mr. Bowadt showed his expectations on the thermoecocomic approach to improve the management of industry efficiency with this innovative outlook, which could represent a rather important breakthrough in this field of knowledge.