2013 IETC Energy Award Winner

EPCON Software™ by EI EPCON International® named a 2013 IETC Energy Award Winner

EPCON Software™ by EI EPCON International®, a Houston-based software development and distribution firm specializing in process engineering software, along with one of our engineering partner EPI Engineering®, has been named a 2013 Industrial Energy Technology Conference (IETC™) Energy Award Winner for the impressive energy and water savings that resulted from a plant-wide optimization study of the TPC Group™ Houston North Operations facility using the industry-leading fluid flow simulator EPCON SiNET™.

In 2010-2011, TPC Group™ Houston Operations was evaluating the opportunity for production expansion and needed to assess the capacity of existing utility systems including steam, condensate, compressed air, nitrogen, natural gas, fuel gas, cooling water, and firewater systems. These systems had not been evaluated in detail since their original design in the early 1940’s. Detailed simulation flow models of each utility system were developed and tuned to match existing plant data in order to identify available capacity of each system and understand current limitations. In addition, a detailed steam balance was developed to fully understand steam production and demand needs.

This approach is unique in several ways. Simulation models of large, plant-wide utility systems are typically not developed until the detailed design phase of projects while estimated approaches are commonly done in Front End Loading stages of a project evaluation. Also, optimization of existing utility systems is not routinely done in combination with capital expansion projects. However, TPC™ senior management, based on past positive experience in this area, decided to model and optimize their utility systems in detail to evaluate the impact of the plant expansion which was the key reason these savings were realized. EPI Engineering® was selected for the flow simulation study since they had proven expertise in this area and were also an engineering partner with EPCON Software™, the company who developed the flow simulation software of choice.

The majority of the savings were a result of optimizing the current utility systems before evaluating how to expand them to meet the requirements of the new capital projects.The savings realized positively impacted both current operations and the funding approval of the plant expansion capital project which is now moving forward. The savings that resulted from the study includes:

  • Quantified annualized steam savings opportunities within current operations of >$5MM or 2.2MM MMBtu which provided justification for repair
  • Identified annual cooling water pump energy savings of $480M or 16,000 MWhrs obtainable without any maintenance or capital spend
  • Developed the additional information needed for more accurate scoping of utility systems to serve the proposed process expansion, resulting in capital cost avoidance of $10MM for a new cooling tower
  • Reduced water usage from fixing the steam and condensate leaks resulting in the identification of a low cost process design to provide clarified water for cooling water makeup versus raw river water
  • Total water savings of approx. 300 MM gal/yr can be realized

It is also important to note that in Texas, as in many parts of the country, water supplies are under stress and water availability can become a limiting factor in production expansions. The utility modeling resulted in a reduced future demand for both energy and water for the process cooling system at the plant, compared to the planned cooling water system which was sized to meet the process expansion.

Click here and register for a Free 30 Day Trial of EPCON SiNET™, the leading fuld flow simulation and pipe flow analysis software tools available.

Owner-Operators: If you operate utility systems such as cooling water, steam or fire water systems in a refinery, chemical plant or even a commercial building, contact us today to discuss how the EPCON Service Group™ can provide detailed analysis of your systems that will result in a reduction of both water and energy usage of your utility systems and possible capital cost avoidance.

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EPCON Software™ is a process engineering software and technology provider. The company, product and service names used in this web site are for identification purposes only and do not represent any type of recommendation to purchase a product or service. API®, GPA®, DDBST®, DIPPr®, AIChE®, Vaaler Award®, Chemical Processing®, Signet Research®, Plant Engineering® Product of the Year and IETC® are registered trademarks in the United States and in other countries and are used with permission. EPCON Software™ and the software products EPCON SiNET™, EPCON ToolBoXpress™, EPCON Multi-Phase Flash™, EPCON Cost Plus™, EPCON CHEMPRO™, Engineer's Aide™, EPCON DIPPRO™, SYSTEM 7 Process Explorer™, Process Innovator™, EPCON PRV Analyzer™ and EPCON Unit Conversions™ are trademarks of EPCON International, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Both EI EPCON International Inc. and EPCON Software™ and all its products, services and other trademarks are not affiliated with EPCON Industrial Systems LP or any other company using the word “EPCON” in their trademark in any way. All rights reserved.