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Optimization of Hot Standby


Jos de Souza and David Holden
Aspen Technology Inc
1293 Eldridge Parkway
Houston TX, 77077

Introduction
Energy Optimization is one of the key issues facing the chemical process industries today. The drivers are
both economic and environmental. Utilities are among the top operating expenses for manufacturers,
reflecting elevated energy prices and the energy intensity of the industry. The difference between the most
energy efficient manufacturers and those with average energy efficiency is approximately 30%, clearly
demonstrating potential for improvement. In addition to capital versus energy considerations,
environmental concerns now add new pressures to reduce CO2, NOx and SOx emissions. Deregulation of
the energy supply market in both the USA and Europe has made intelligent purchasing and use of utilities
very important.
However, the other side of the coin is reliability. The utilities systems form the backbone of any industrial
site. The loss due to an unexpected outage of process units due to lack of steam, fuel or power, usually far
outweighs the energy savings of reducing back-up utility equipment availability. So, how can one reduce
utilities operating costs without compromising the reliability of the site? What is the optimum trade-off
between reliability and cost?

Reliability
Most industrial sites use the so-called Reliable Capacity operating philosophy for their utilities systems.
Reliable capacity, also referred to as N-1 Capacity, is defined as the sum of generating capacities for a
given utility minus the capacity of the single largest generator.
For example, if a site has five boilers with the following capacities:
Boiler 1

150 Mlb/hr

Boiler 2

150 Mlb/hr

Boiler 3

150 Mlb/hr

Boiler 4

250 Mlb/hr

Boiler 5

100 Mlb/hr

Total

800 Mlb/hr

Reliable Capacity

550 Mlb/hr

(69% of total)

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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In other words, with all five boilers running, this system would be able to provide no more than 550 Mlb/hr
of steam reliably. The normal total steam demand of the process units on this site should therefore never be
expected to exceed 550 Mlb/hr. Several of the boilers (sometimes all) typically run on master steam
pressure control, and will automatically compensate if there is an outage of one of the boilers. The
reasoning behind this philosophy is that the process units should never be affected by a boiler failure, even
of the largest boiler.
While this simple operating philosophy does provide reliability, it suffers from several shortcomings, such
as:

The cost of running the boilers at high turndowns. In the above example, the average boiler load will
be 69% of full capacity. Most boilers are most efficient close to their full capacities. The difference in
additional fuel may be significant. In the example, if the site could run with only 4 boilers on line, the
average boiler load would go up to between 79% and 85%.

Why stop at just one boiler on hot standby? Surely the reliability is further increased by having two
boilers on hot standby, etc?

It does not consider any reduction of steam consumption when there is a boiler failure. For example,
there may be some steam turbines on the site, which can be turned down or switched off when a boiler
goes down. It may also be possible to turn down some condensing loads on the process units
temporarily. Some non-essential steam consumers could be taken off-line.

It does not consider the overall profitability of the site, including each process unit and the utilities
system. The process units are all assumed to be profitable all the time. One result of the deregulation
of the utilities markets has been high volatility in utilities costs and occasional very high peak charges.

While the above describes the situation with respect to utilities generation capacity there are many other
areas where reliability also needs to be considered.

Drive options
Many sites provide drive switching options on critical operations. So, for example, cooling water
pumps, instrument air compressors, boiler feed water pumps and main feed pumps may all be
equipment with both steam turbine and electric motor options.

Fuel supply
Alternative fuel supplies such as natural gas, fuel oil and LPG can be used to ensure a problem with
supply of one fuel does not leave the site without any source of fuel.

Electricity supply
Increasingly large sites are installing cogeneration systems. While the primary driver for this is usually
economics, a second important consideration is improved reliability of supply. It takes a brave person
to cut the site off from the local grid!

Operator knowledge
While this may not at first glance seem to be an obvious area of concern for reliability, many
companies have reported that one downside of increasing automation is an operations team less
knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with abnormal situations.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

ESL-IE-04-04-17

In todays competitive environment, most industrial sites cannot afford the luxury of an overly conservative
utilities operating philosophy. They need reliability but not at any cost.
As sites have developed, the above reliability issues have been addressed and redundancy has been built
into the utilities supply systems. As companies focus more and more on cost reduction, this redundancy
can be exploited as flexibility and used to reduce costs. In striving to achieve the best trade-off between
reliability and cost, todays sophisticated energy management tools can prove invaluable.
Such energy management tools need to provide the following:

No compromises on utilities reliability. However, the purchase, supply and use of utilities must be
optimized within the constraints of site reliability.

The ability to quantify the costs of increased reliability.

A tailored operating philosophy for the site. Each site has different characteristics, both on the utility
and process side, which dictate the best operational philosophy.

A holistic view of the whole sites economics, including process and utilities.

The ability to train operations personnel in optimum economic operations and to provide a what-if
capability to deal with the unexpected.

On-line real-time capability, with connections to live prices and process information management
systems, so that decisions are based upon the most up-to-date economic and process information.

A predictive capability which facilitates decisions based not only on current, but also on future utility
demands. The corrective action after an unexpected boiler failure depends very much on the duration
for which the boiler will be unavailable.

Aspen Utilities provides such a tool.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Overview of Aspen Utilities Capabilities


Aspen Utilities provides a business approach to the overall management of energy and utilities on
industrial sites; driving both technical and commercial excellence. The Aspen Utilities approach is based
on defining and improving the energy business processes that are important to the economic performance
of the site. By considering the total energy and utilities systems in a single integrated environment, Aspen
Utilities is able to capture all the relevant data and to transpose this into clear recommendations on how to
achieve lowest cost operation. In recognising the multi-user requirements, Aspen Utilities supports the
delivery of user-specific reports and recommendations using customised user interfaces to deliver precise
information in a clear and unambiguous way.
Figure 1 depicts the scope of Aspen Utilities. At its core is a detailed model of the utility system,
incorporating non-linear process simulation and multi-period, mixed integer linear (MILP) optimization
capability. This enables any utility system to be optimized to define the minimum cost operation of the
system. Both continuous variables, e.g. individual boiler loads, as well as binary variables, e.g. On/Off
statuses of equipment, are optimized. The multi-period capability allows the optimization to take into
account the costs and durations of start-ups and shut-downs of individual equipment. Therefore, the
optimized result represents not only what the process demands are now, but what they are expected to be in
the future. The cost objective function accurately reflects complex gas and / or electricity supply contracts
featuring multi-tier structures. Constraints such as availability of equipment, the needs for hot standby
capacity and maximum emissions limits are also incorporated. The model can be implemented online, in
which case real-time process data will be validated and reconciled to provide an accurate picture of current
system performance and utility demands, as well as the basis for optimization.

Aspen Utilities Scope


Power Import/Export

Fuel Import

Water

Utility System
Fuel
Gas
System

Water
System
Process
A

SideSideProduct

Process
B

Process
C

Product

Feed

Process
D

Product

SideSide-Product

Feeds
2000 AspenTech. All Rights Reserved.

Production System
Products

Waste
Water
4

Figure 1:
Aspen Utilities deals with the management and the optimization of the site-wide utility system and its
interaction with the production, water and gas systems and external utility suppliers.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Aspen Utilities can be used to identify the most cost-effective utility suppliers and contract parameters for a
given utility system flowsheet. This is applicable for daily/monthly/annual contract nomination, from a
fixed supplier or for contract evaluation studies to determine long-term gas or electricity suppliers. It can
also be used to determine the marginal price of gas and/or electricity on the site, and this can guide
decisions relating to the sale or purchase of electricity and/or gas on the spot market.
Figure 2 provides an overview of Aspen Utilities capabilities. Aspen Utilities is aimed at supporting
strategic as well as operational decisions. It provides a common decision-making framework for both types
of decisions. This helps the site management to set one common evaluation tool for all utilities-related
decisions in the site.

System Overview
DCS
Real Time Data Base
Data Improvement
Data Validation & Reconciliation

On-line
On-line Decision
Decision
Making
Making

Operational
Constraints

Off-line
Off-line Decision
Decision
Making
Making

Tariff
scenarios
Seasonal

variations
Changes in demand
Plant Demands

Lowest
Lowest Cost
Cost
Operation
Operation

Operations Advice
Turbine/ boiler on/off decisions
Flow distribution
Equipment fouling
Multiple objective functions

e.g. site expansion

Lowest
LowestCost
Cost
Scheme
Scheme

What-if Analysis
Tariff selection
Optimize Investment options
Significant changes in demands
Changes in fuel supply

2000 AspenTech. All Rights Reserved.

STRATEGIC TOOL

OPERATIONS TOOL

Tariffs

12

Figure 2:
The basic premise of Aspen Utilities is a common model and optimization basis for strategic and
operations decisions in a site.

A description of the business processes that Aspen Utilities supports is provided in Appendix A.

How does Aspen Utilities Address Reliability?


There are several ways in which Aspen Utilities helps plant operations to find the correct trade-off between
energy efficiency and reliability, such as:

Hot standby

Load shedding

Drive switching

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

ESL-IE-04-04-17

Fuel selection

Electricity supply

Maintenance planning

Operator training

Hot Standby
Hot standby is the amount of spare generation capacity which must be available during operations, i.e. it is
the difference between the maximum generation capacity of all the online units and current load. For
example, if a site has 4 boilers, each with a maximum capacity of 200 Mlb/hr, and the current total site
steam demand is 500 Mlb/hr, then if the minimum hot standby is 100Mlb/hr or less, only three of the
boilers need to run, but if the minimum hot standby is greater than 100Mlb/hr, say 150Mlb/hr, then all four
boilers need to be running in order to meet this requirement.
The hot standby requirement can be specified in Aspen Utilities. The optimization will then define the
number of the boilers that need to be on line and the optimum setpoint (steam generation) of each boiler to
achieve the lowest cost operation.
If the hot standby requirement is known then this can be specified as a constraint within the optimization.
However, in many cases the definition of hot standby capacity is somewhat of a subjective decision process
involving the N-1 principle discussed earlier. Increased reliability could be achieved by having the
equivalent of say two boilers on hot standby rather than one. What is the cost of this increased reliability?
If the economics are not clear then Aspen Utilities can be used to develop a more objective decision
process for hot standby capacity. Typically the cost of providing additional hot standby capacity is not
linear with capacity but features steps that correspond to more boilers being brought on line as can be seen
in Figure 3. It can be seen from this plot that at this particular site providing 25% of the hot standby
capacity results in no increase in operating cost, 50% of the total hot standby capacity can be provided at
less than one third of the cost of maximizing hot standby capacity. The appropriate use of this plot can
provide useful insights to aid in the decision making process.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

Cost of Hot Standby, $

ESL-IE-04-04-17

Minimum Hot Standby, Mlb/hr

Figure 3: Cost of Hot Standby


Load shedding
By providing sufficient hot standby capacity a site may always be able to provide sufficient steam (and
or electricity), there may be times when despite best efforts there is insufficient steam supply. In such
a situation a decision may have to be made and made quickly as to which units to selectively shutdown
in order to prevent the entire site from shutting down due to loss of steam pressure. In this case the
decision as to which units to shutdown should not be made purely on steam usage but more on the
implications of shedding a unit, e.g. lost product, maintenance, renewal of catalyst and so on.
Aspen Utilities can be used to define which units could be shed to meet expected steam raising
capabilities. The value of the steam saved set against the cost of lost production can be used to define
the priority units to shut down. The entire procedure can be automated by defining possible problems
that would lead to reduced steam supply and by providing automatic update of product value etc. The
result, as seen in Figure 4, can be an advisory table, available in real time that advises the appropriate
action for any eventuality. A natural consequence of this is that if in a load shedding run the cost of
load shed is less that the value of the utility going to the unit then the unit will be advised to be shed
even if there is no requirement on the steam demand side.
In the case shown in Figure 4 a trip of any single boiler does not lead to a situation where load
shedding needs to take place. This would be the normal case. However, in situations, for example,
where certain boilers are down for maintenance, a trip of an online boiler may result in the need to
shed load.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Process A Process A
Process D
Process B Process C Process D
Process E
Section 1 Section 2
Mode B
Load Shed Cost
Trip Scenario 1 - Boiler A trip

Process F

Process G

Cost of
Load Shed

14400
1

960
1

6000
1

3120
1

5520
1

3120
1

2400
1

2400
1

9600
1

43922
0

Trip Scenario 2 - Boiler B trip

Trip Scenario 3 - Boiler C trip

Trip Scenario 4 - Gas turbine trip

20640

Trip Scenario 5 - Incinerator trip

9600

Trip Scenario 6 - Exothermic process trip

14400

Figure 4: Load Shedding Advisory System


Drive Switching
Although drive switching options have historically been provided on critical drives in order to improve
reliability, the ability to select either an electric motor or a steam turbine provides some flexibility to reduce
costs by selecting the most cost effective drive. Which drive to use depends on several factors including he
cost of electricity, overall site steam balance and the perceived reliability of turbines versus motors. The
word perceived is used here because there is no industry standard as to whether turbines or motors are the
more reliable as issues such overall electricity supply reliability, time to start up steam turbines and
operator preference all come into the equation and deliver different answers for different sites.
Aspen Utilities can make the economic optimum decision as to the lowest cost option for each drive
switching choice within a single optimization run. The cost of preference can then be fully quantified.
The cost of switching each drive on or off is specified in the Aspen Utilities model and taken into account
in the economic optimization. Practical constraints like the frequency between switches of a drive can also
be imposed on the optimization.
Fuel Selection
A similar situation exists with fuel selection as with drive switching. Many sites have the ability to burn
different fuels. What may have originally been a fuel supply reliability issue can now be used to reduce
energy costs by selecting the most cost effective fuel mix and distribution. Issues such as complex utilities
contracts (including take or pay), dual fuel capabilities, emissions limits on each fuel and calorific value
can all be taken into account in the optimization.
Electricity supply
When the ability exists to both generate internally and/or to import electricity, Aspen Utilities can be used
to recommend the most cost effective solution. Issues such as complex utilities contracts and electrical
distribution system constraints can all take taken into account. Some of the contracts Aspen Utilities can
handle are:

Contracts with peak and off-peak time-windows

Maximum demand charges

by-total-usage contracts, where the charge is based upon the net usage over an extended period,
usually a month, not the current instantaneous value

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Maintenance planning
Correct maintenance plays an important part in maintaining system reliability. However, bringing
equipment down for maintenance can also have a big impact of system availability (e.g. less hot standby
capacity when a boiler is brought down) and on operating costs, for example when a gas turbine needs to be
brought down and electricity import increased to compensate.
Aspen Utilities can provide two important capabilities to help with maintenance planning. First, it can
track the performance (efficiency) of utilities equipment and thus highlight when cleaning is appropriate.
(It should be noted that in some cases the tracking of this same information can provide early warning as to
possible impending operating problems). Secondly it can be used to advise regarding the optimum
schedule for maintenance when such downtime would have the lowest cost impact.
Operator training
While not a dynamic Operator Training system, Aspen Utilities can be used to train operations personnel as
to the best economic and practical operation of the site utilities system against a complete range of
operating scenarios. Aspen Utilities can provide operator advice as to the best economic operation given
defined or predicted utilities demands from the process units and utilities equipment availabilities. In
addition Aspen Utilities can be used in a what-if environment to check specific operating issues. In this
way, operators become more able to deal effectively with abnormal situations and thereby improve both the
overall reliability and cost effectiveness of the utilities systems.

Conclusions
The process industries rely on adequate and reliable supplies of energy. Without the energy system nothing
happensnothing is heated or cooled, pumped or compressed. Due to the reliance that the industry has on
energy supply, the issue of reliability of the utilities systems has always been of paramount importance.
Energy is also by far the largest operating expense for petroleum refineries and many chemical plants.
Energy accounts for over 40 percent of refinery operating expenses, and over 60 percent of olefin plant
operating expenses.
A common drive in the industry is to reduce costs while simultaneously improving system reliability and
hence availability. While these objectives may not appear to be compatible, it is possible with the help of
todays advanced information systems to fully address the trade-offs that exist between utilities systems
reliability and cost. Aspen Utilities provides the means to evaluate and achieve the correct balance between
reliability and energy cost reduction and in so doing provide the means to achieve both objectives.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Appendix A : The business processes approach to


Energy Management supported by Aspen Utilities

2000 AspenTech. All Rights Reserved.

11

Figure A-1: Overview of the business processes supported by Aspen Utilities


Aspen Utilities supports the following business processes

Demand Forecasting

Production Planning

Optimal Plant Operation (On-line optimization)

Tariff Evaluation and Contract Management

Performance Monitoring

Emissions Monitoring

Investment Planning

Cost Accounting

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Aspen Utilities explores the flexibility inherent in the purchase, generation, use and distribution
of utilities on industrial sites and advises on the optimum choice available to the user. Issues such
as different tariffs, alternative fuels, optimum loading of boilers and turbines, choice of
equipment, import, self sufficiency or export of electricity, choice of drives (motor or turbine) etc.
are all taken into account in the optimization.
Benefits of applying Aspen Utilities in the operational management are typically in the range of 2
to 5% of site-wide energy costs. These benefits are obtained by:

Better purchasing lower contract price

Better adherence to contract/tariff terms reduced penalties

Maximizing use of most efficient equipment

Correct choice and use of fuels

Reduced hot standby

Reduced venting of steam

Better cost accountancy

Faster response to problems (and better targeting of problems)

Optimum scheduling of maintenance

Reduced manpower for accounting, purchasing etc.

More profitable trading (import/export).

Reduced capital investment for improvements in energy efficiency

Aspen Utilities provides a model-centric approach whereby a single rigorous model of the
utilities system is used to address all the important business processes. These are described in
more detail in the following sections.

Demand Forecasting
In order to operate and manage the utilities supply system at lowest cost requires knowledge of the current
demands and likely future demands. This helps to minimize the use of hot standby (e.g. boilers), the
venting of steam due to excess on-line capacity and the loss of supply due to insufficient standby or control.
It also ensures that penalties are not incurred due to violation of take-or-pay contracts, maximum demand
charges or load factor clauses in both the electricity and gas contracts.

Production Planning

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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This involves taking the demand profiles and, based on availability of utilities generation equipment,
developing an optimized production plan within the constraints of the utilities tariffs. Production planning
can typically be carried out on a tactical basis for the next 24 hours and on a strategic basis to review, for
example, the best configuration when a gas turbine needs to be brought down for inspection or when a
process unit is to be shutdown/started up.

Optimal Plant Operation (On-line optimization)


While a plan may be developed in advance (say every 24 hours), in practice the operations of the plant may
change within that period thereby invalidating the optimum plan. Even if the steam and power demands do
not change within this period, other factors such as electricity price and gas price will vary. This solution
provides on-line advice to operations personnel on how to best configure and operate the system at lowest
cost based on current demands and current costs. The operator is also able to use the solution in a what-if
environment to evaluate alternative operating modes to accommodate, for example, for a unit shutdown.

Tariff Evaluation and Contract Management


As the markets for both electricity and gas open up to competition the site operator can be faced with a
bewildering array of tariff options. Making the right choice of supplier is not simply a case of choosing the
lowest unit cost of utility (e.g., cents per kWh). Most tariff structures include elements of maximum
demand charges and punitive penalties if this maximum demand is exceeded. Without the benefit of
suitable software the task of tariff selection is very labor intensive, with no guarantee that the best option
has been selected. Companies operating large cogeneration systems (which are increasingly the norm) have
an added complexity in being able to export electricity. Aspen Utilities provides the following capabilities
to assist in contract selection and optimization (see Figure A-2).

Contract optimization - Aspen Utilities


Site wide gas and electricity demands
Past Profile
Elect
MWe

Gas
M3/hr

Optimized Profile

Dec Jan

Jan

Dec

multi period
optimization model

equipment availability
operational constraints
Alternative fuel
availability
Steam
T/hr

Modeling and Optimization

Gas
M3/hr

Jan
Dec Jan
One profile for each header
2000 AspenTech. All Rights Reserved.

Gas & elect.


bill for
selected
contract

Gas & Electricity


relevant tariff structures

Elect.
MWe

DecJan
Consumer gas & electricity requirement

Dec
14

Figure A-2: Overview of contract optimization capability in Aspen Utilities

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Create a demand profile for a long-term period (several months, 1 year, several years) for
each utility.

Determine minimum, maximum and average demand.

Define the available utility contract options (costs, structure, limits, etc.)

Send the demand profile and contract information to an optimizer to determine the
contract mix that would yield the lowest cost solution.

Achieve streamlined profiles for the overall gas and electricity consumption to minimize
the overall utilities bill for the site.

Once a tariff has been selected and a contract established, there is an on-going requirement to manage the
utilities consumption within the terms of the contract.
The key to driving down the purchase cost of utilities is to reduce both the average demand and the
maximum demand and to exploit the tariff structures to the advantage of the operating company. In
general, the bigger the gap between the average demand and maximum demand the larger the unit cost of
utility (electricity or gas). Companies can exploit degrees of freedom within the site operations to stay
within the contract constraints. Such flexibility could be to switch off electric motors and switch on steam
turbines, burn fuel oil rather than imported natural gas, etc. This solution provides the operator with an
accurate picture of the current operation, likely future demands and operation, and hence highlights
potential costly problems. The operator is then able to use the solution to identify the best way to avoid the
problem from occurring.

Performance Monitoring
Performance monitoring comprises two aspects:
1.

Comparison of the production plan against the actual performance.

2.

Tracking of performance of key equipment items

Tracking of plan versus actual is a well-established methodology for continuous improvement. The
solution allows the operator to develop a daily production plan and to compare the actual daily performance
with the plan. This highlights areas where the plan was not followed and facilitates the understanding of
why the plan was not followed. This, in turn, defines how production plans can be improved (perhaps by
incorporating new constraints) and defines areas which could benefit from other improvements such as
equipment modifications, better control, etc.
If the necessary metering is in place then the solution can also track performance of the individual items of
equipment within the utilities system, for example the efficiency of the boilers and gas turbines. This
information can be used to optimize cleaning and maintenance schedules and can also provide early
warning of operating problems.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Emissions Monitoring
Increasingly, a permit to operate requires that plants operate within strictly defined environmental
constraints. In such situations, monitoring and regular reporting of emissions is a necessary task. Certain
gaseous emissions such as SOx and CO2 can be directly related to fuels burnt. Other emissions such as NOx
require predictive models as the NOx production is not related solely to fuel burnt but is also dependent on
flame temperature, state of the equipment, etc.
When the permit to operate specifies a maximum emissions limit then this can cause a constraint to
production and to the operation of the utility system. The solution can provide emissions prediction and
reporting for CO2 and SOx and can be integrated with predictive NOx models.

Investment Planning
While this solution enables the operating company to operate and manage the utility plant to its true
potential, there will be limits to optimization imposed by the design of the system. The company can use
Aspen Utilities in an off-line mode to evaluate possible structural changes (e.g. a new steam turbine, new
economizer, dual fuel firing, etc) and to develop the best investment plan for the utility system.
The product uses a GUI with a drag and drop environment, incorporating a series of standard models,
which the engineer can use to develop a new configuration and evaluate the economic benefits plant-wide
of any change to the current configuration. This provides the operator with the confidence that the best
information on demands and current system ability is used when evaluating possible investment options.
This, in turn, ensures limited capital is spent in the best way.

Cost Accounting
In many companies the allocation of costs for utilities can be somewhat arbitrary and hence unreliable.
Aspen Utilities provides the ability to perform accurate cost allocation. Aspen Utilities can also be
configured to provide utility costs in real time and to also provide true marginal costs, which would apply
to a reduced or increased use of utilities. Real time prices can support decision-making processes such as
the costs of increasing steam use to a particular unit to enhance throughput or the costs of steaming-out of
equipment.

Link with Production Planning and Optimization


The utility system is closely linked with the production processes in the site. The production planning and
the production optimization steps utilize utilities cost as an integral part of the optimization and decisionmaking. Aspen Utilities provides a more accurate understanding of the utilities cost for supply and
generation within the production processes. This integration provides a more consistent basis for site-wide
production management. The impact of utilities equipment scheduling and utilities contract usage can be
taken into account in plant production decision-making. Alternatively, the plant production constraints and
opportunities are well accounted for in the utilities optimization.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Power Import/Export

Fuel Import

Utility prices
Utility equipment
schedule

Utility System

Optimum contract
usage
Fuel

Steam Export

Feeds

Process
A

SideSideProduct

Process
B

Process
C

Product

Process
D

Feed Product

Products
Plant
Optimization

SideSide-Product

Production Planning & Scheduling


2000 AspenTech. All Rights Reserved.

17

Figure A-3: Aspen Utilities works with production planning and optimization tools.

Link with Plant Design Improvements


Utilities cost plays an important role in the investment justification for plant revamps. Inaccurate pricing of
steam, gas and electricity can lead to missed design opportunities. Aspen Utilities provides a clear
understanding of the price of the utility streams but also changes in the marginal prices of these streams in
different operational scenarios. This provides a much more concrete basis for estimating the capital energy
trade-off during the conceptual and front-end design stages during plant revamps. AspenTechs Aspen
Engineering Suite provides a comprehensive environment to develop the process designs in an integrated
and efficient manner (see Figure A-4).

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Utility
streams
Aspen Plus

Process D

Aspen Pinch

Plant simulation
Aspen B-JAC

Energy Analysis

Equipment Design
2000 AspenTech. All Rights Reserved.

18

Figure A-4: Aspen Utilities provides an accurate understanding of utilities cost impact
during the process design stage.

Multi-site operation
AspenTech helps develop solutions for optimization across multiple sites to provide enterprise-wide
optimization in utility and energy systems (Figure A-5). In such applications, Aspen Utilities is used to
optimize the operation of each individual site. Aspen Utilities then communicates with AspenTechs MIMI
enterprise-wide Supply Chain software to optimize the purchase, sale and operation for the enterprise. This
approach also helps to analyze new power plant investment decisions such as size of the new unit, and to
assess the impact of key design factors on the overall profitability.

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004

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Enterprise wide Optimisation


Corporate Purchasing and Trading
Enterprise Asset Optimisation
New
Investment

?
Site 1
Industrial
Cogen

Site 2
Industrial
Cogen

Two
Major
SItes

Site 3
Power
Station

Site 4
Industrial
Cogen

Single
Major
Site

Local
Local Asset
Asset Optimisation
Optimisation
2000 AspenTech. All Rights Reserved.

19

Figure A-5: Overview of enterprise wide optimization of utility systems

Proceedings from the Twenty-Sixth Industrial Energy Technology Conference, Houston, TX, April 20-23, 2004