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Emerson Exchange News - Smart Energy Initiative

The Emerson Global Users Exchange has descended on Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center this week--and brought record numbers with it.

Tata's control room
Tata's control room

The number of attendees appears to be settling in at just under 2,900. I suffered through a long flight delay and missed the keynote Monday morning, but Automation World's publisher Jim Chrzan filed this report.

Smart Energy Initiative

The big news of the day was the announcement of Emerson Process Management's Smart Energy Initiative. In a break from the traditional gee-whiz product announcements at the annual press conference, spokespeople laid out the challenges facing producers from energy and emissions and then proceeded to discuss solutions and customer stories. I found the linking of energy and emissions satisfyingly descriptive. It is a global program designed to combine Emerson's industrial energy expertise with advanced energy management technologies to enable customers to leverage more renewable fuels, lower energy costs, and reduce emissions.

Emerson is focused on an estimated $2 billion market that is poised for strong growth as refineries, manufacturers, and other industrial customers face increased pressure to adopt lower-cost fuels. With energy comprising 30 percent or more of a facility’s overall operating costs -- combined with higher prices for fossil fuels and new global emissions mandates -- industrial customers are increasingly looking to waste fuels, biomass, and other renewable sources as a solution to these challenges.

Emerson’s new Industrial Energy Group will specifically focus on modernizing and improving the performance of powerhouses, the onsite utilities that provide steam and electricity to power industrial operations, while also improving how the manufacturing process consumes energy. This holistic approach ensures the greatest efficiency in production of energy, plus reduced waste and inefficiencies where energy is used. Emerson technologies and expertise provide the industry’s only turn-key energy optimization program to help refiners, chemical producers, and other manufacturers significantly reduce energy costs and emissions.

"With industrial manufacturers consuming an estimated 50 percent of the world's energy, combined with rising fossil fuel prices and global mandates for reduced emissions, our customers need more than incremental efficiencies in energy management," said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. "With our Smart Energy Initiative, Emerson is introducing a fundamentally new platform that can change energy economics globally."

True BTU Technology

At the heart of Emerson’s integrated technology platform is its "True BTU" technology, a patent-pending innovation for calculating the actual BTU values of fuel sources, which makes reliable energy production predictable and repeatable.

Emerson's proprietary suite of software, combined with field control technologies, enables the powerhouse to interchangeably use the most available and affordable renewable or waste fuels – wood waste, food byproducts, animal waste, or manufacturing byproducts like petcoke or off-gases – to consistently create steam to power their operations. It also delivers 21st century combustion solutions for greater efficiency and reliability when using waste and other renewable fuels, which burn and deliver energy at variable and unpredictable rates.

Tata Steel in Wales

"Emerson’s work at our Port Talbot (U.K.) steel mill is helping us make better use of ‘indigenous’ fuels -- such as blast furnace gas and coke oven gas -- that are byproducts of our manufacturing process," said Andrew Rees, manager of a boiler upgrade project for Tata Steel to the assembled press corps. "The improved controls are part of a comprehensive energy management project that's expected to reduce powerhouse energy consumption by 3 percent to 5 percent and help Tata Steel achieve its vision of becoming energy self-sufficient."

Tata Steel's Port Talbot facility in Wales has upgraded control of its largest steam boiler using energy management technologies and services from Emerson Process Management. The new controls enable Tata to increase energy efficiency and maximize use of waste fuels, reducing emissions as well as reliance on purchased fuels.

The Port Talbot facility is Britain’s largest integrated steel mill, making over four and a half million tons per year of high-quality sheet steel for the automotive, construction and household appliance markets. It includes two blast furnaces and a basic oxygen furnace, as well as continuous casters and a strip rolling mill. To date Emerson has upgraded controls on three of the site's seven steam boilers.

"The boiler upgrades are helping us make better use of 'indigenous' waste fuels -- such as blast furnace gas, BOS gas and coke oven gas -- that are byproducts of our manufacturing process," continued Rees. "The improved controls are part of a comprehensive energy management project that’s expected to reduce powerhouse energy consumption by three to five percent and help Tata Steel achieve its vision of becoming energy self-sufficient."

Wireless Acoustic Transmitter

Further into this energy theme, Emerson introduced the Rosemount 708 Wireless Acoustic Transmitter. The transmitter helps processing plants significantly reduce their energy expenses and environmental impact by combining temperature measurement with acoustic "listening" that provides unparalleled visibility into the state of steam traps and pressure relief valves.

Darren Goodlin, an engineer with Anheuser Busch InBev, described a project he is working on that will reduce the energy costs of steam production by finding leaking steam traps. He calls the new product his "bionic ears" into the system.

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