Achieving Optimum Performance in Biofuels Production

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Rockwell Automation and Endress + Hauser recently discussed the challenges and criteria for the optimisation of biofuels production processes at the World Biofuels Forum in Prague.

Rockwell Automation and Endress + Hauser recently discussed the challenges and criteria for the optimisation of biofuels production processes at the World Biofuels Forum in Prague.

Biofuels production, such as biodiesel and bioethanol, is one of the fastest growing segments of the renewable energy industry. The sector has been in the constant public limelight for its potential to replace fossil fuels as a cleaner and cheaper way to help meet the world’s soaring energy needs. Last year, the European leaders agreed biofuels should comprise at least 10 percent of the overall fuel production by 2020. The U.S. Congress approved an energy bill that stipulates a six-fold increase in ethanol production by 2022.

As a new yet rapidly growing industry, biofuels production faces several challenges:

1. Production planning and implementation
To meet a growing demand for their products, biofuels producers are faced with the challenge to expand their facilities, including opening new plants, in a way that does not disrupt production, allows for quick system design and implementation, and carries a low risk associated with plant commissioning.

2. Process efficiency
As production expands, yield efficiency must be able to keep up.
3. Operating costs
Sustainable growth demands helped improve utilisation of plant facilities, resources and staff.

In looking for ways to achieve optimal operating performance, biofuels producers of all sizes are increasingly recognising the potential of automation technology to help improve the speed, efficiency and utilisation of their manufacturing processes and resources.

Successful process automation is dependent on accurate integration of information from hundreds of measurement points in a plant into a control system. Using instrumentation and automation technology from multiple suppliers can slow down optimisation through incompatible or insufficiently integrated technologies.

Recognising the need for an integrated solution to help biofuels producers achieve optimal performance, Rockwell Automation, a leading global provider of industrial automation power, control and information solutions, and Endress + Hauser, a global leader in measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering, have formed a strategic alliance to provide their biofuels customers with a comprehensive offering.  Bringing an in-depth understanding and experience in biofuels applications, the two companies’ solutions are seamlessly integrated to provide a unique turnkey solution for biofuels producers.

Technology for the future
Rockwell Automation Process Automation System technology allows manufacturers to migrate from an existing solution, or install a single plant-wide platform for the first time. Its comprehensive offering for the biofuels industry also incorporates the specialist knowledge of its recently acquired companies such as:
• ProsCon Holdings, offering process technology solutions for modular build and design of process systems,
• Pavilion Technologies, a leading global provider of model predictive and advanced process solutions; and
• ICS Triplex, offering world-class safety and critical control solutions.

Joint capabilities
Working as one team, Rockwell Automation and Endress + Hauser cover the entire system design and implementation – from process design and seamless integration of instrumentation and automation, to life cycle support throughout the project. In addition to the turnkey offering, Rockwell Automation and Endress + Hauser also have established relationships with numerous OEMs, engineering firms and Systems Integrators, and can coordinate project work with them.

Through integration between the broad spectrum of Endress+Hauser instruments, which include level, flow, pressure, temperature and analytical, and the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture™, biofuels manufacturers can help reduce risk and integration costs, while protecting their investment with assured interoperability.
In addition, the seamless flow of information between key components of the manufacturing process – from the field instruments through the enterprise business systems, provides real-time visibility of plant operations, resulting in faster troubleshooting and improved decision-making.

In short, the combined expertise and solutions from Rockwell Automation and Endress + Hauser help to deliver the following benefits for biofuels producers:

• Shorter start-up time due to pre-developed templates for instrument and control loops
• Reduced development and training time achieved by using solutions already certified for compatibility and interoperability
• Cost and time savings achieved through integration of process instrumentation and automation systems
• Minimised downtime and product waste allowed by jointly established performance measures
• Global support provided by a network of teams located throughout the world

"The strong alliance between Rockwell Automation and Endress+Hauser goes beyond simply offering field instrumentation in conjunction with Integrated Architecture automation systems.  It involves joint research and development between the two companies, as well as fieldbus interoperability testing, and even encompasses the integration of Rockwell Automation’s own devices, such as drives, into a complete plant asset management solution.“   
ARC Whitepaper:  Rockwell Automation Process Industry Strategies December 06

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