Cologne site takes action in big and small ways to reduce emissions

In late June 2022, INEOS in Cologne announced it had secured state support for a feasibility study into a green hydrogen project that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100,000 tonnes per year. It’s one part of a larger drive towards net zero in Cologne, which produces products for the INEOS Olefins & Polymers business (and other INEOS businesses). The site is taking concrete action in big and small ways to increase efficiency and reduce emissions - here are just three examples.

Cooling tower optimisation cuts electricity use

A big share of electricity at the Cologne site is used to operate its cooling towers. Considering this significant impact our team launched a pilot project on one of the cooling towers to increase the energy efficiency using a specialist software solution.

“The goal was to reduce electricity consumption in the tower by more than ten per cent," explains project manager Udit Sharma.

The on-site team together with the project partner, Ökotec Energiemanagement GmbH, developed models considering all the relevant system parameters, for example cooling demand levels, running pumps and fans and weather forecast. Over a two day horizon, this data based model enabled the team to continuously forecast the most optimal, energy efficient mode for the tower operation.

"The cooling tower operators can continuously view the recommendations for the best possible operation on a dedicated dashboard in the control room and adjust the system operation accordingly," says operations project coordinator Clara Breuer.

When there are too many fans and pumps in operation, and energy use is more than necessary, the production and cooling tower operators can take quick, targeted action.

After the devoted efforts and feedback from energy operations team, it is working: in the first three months of 2022, a total of 215,000 kilowatt hours of electricity were saved in the selected cooling tower.

Work is now ongoing to roll out the same approach to the other site cooling towers.

Ultrasonic device helps reduce energy use and emissions

The team adopted the use of a state-of-the-art ultrasonic device in the energy assets that identifies compressed air or control air leaks, recording the ultrasound frequencies and making them audible via headphones.

It then calculates the amount of compressed air leaking out; the spot in the system is marked; and the values are stored in a digital file. Then measures are taken to eliminate the leak.

It paid off, reducing energy use by 361 megawatt hours per year, or over 200 tonnes of CO2 per year.

But it has other advantages as a multi-function detector. The device locates compressed air and control air leaks over a distance of up to 50 metres. In the case of inaccessible leakage points, that saves scaffolding costs and, more importantly, reduces safety risks.

A great example of how a simple improvement can help to create a safer, lower carbon site.

Dashboards empower operators to improve energy efficiency

Identifying the most resource efficient way to operate large production plants can be challenging. Control Room teams need to make judgements based on various operating conditions, such as different products, temperatures and catalyst selectivity.

The introduction of new dashboards in 2019 provided operators with a support tool and an approach for increasing energy efficiency by:

  • Guiding operators to the root causes of deviations from the most efficient operation using visual, big data-based insights
  • Providing insights that empower operators to adjust process parameters like temperature or pressure to optimise the energy and resource efficiency of the plants

The implementation of the dashboard has saved up to 5% of total steam consumption in process plants on the site, reducing the site’s carbon footprint. The benefit of a tool that blends transparency, intuition and simplicity.

The continuous optimisation of operations is just one of the measures being taken in INEOS to accelerate the transition to a net zero economy - read more.

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