Ever Wondered How to Efficiently Manage Energy Usage?

December 08, 2023

In the intricate landscape of process industries, energy emerges as the second-largest operating expense, trailing only raw materials. Addressing this challenge requires a transformative solution that seamlessly integrates business objectives with operational efficiency.

Cultivation of digital technologies is one of the promising solutions to meet the growing energy demand while managing net zero targets. But energy intensive companies have struggled to achieve substantial business value from digital technologies. Why is it difficult to adopt and scale digital technology for energy?

The sluggish pace of technology adoption is attributed to complex site-wide system management. Utilizing a framework becomes crucial in advancing energy efficiency across the supply chain. Adopting a systematic approach is essential for achieving ongoing enhancements in energy performance, encompassing efficiency, use and consumption. Utilities planning and management is one of the key parameters for improving site-wide energy performance.

Effectively plan, manage and optimize complex utility systems

Utilities management and planning is the cornerstone of Aspen Utilities Planner™, a solution that enables cost-effective and reliable operation of utility systems, adeptly meeting the demands of production processes within the ever-shifting constraints of environmental, organizational and technical factors.

The implementation of Aspen Utilities Planner has demonstrated significant benefits. Users experienced more than $170,000 savings/year in the site energy costs. And they have also been able to plan and optimize utilities to reduce CO2 emissions by ~60,000 tons in just one day. However, the magnitude of these benefits is site-specific, dependent on factors such as site complexity, size and the implementation scope.

Applications extend across three main areas. First, it functions as a "plan vs. actual" management system, allowing utilities consumers to track and evaluate actual performance against targets. Second, it operates as a tactical and strategic advice system, enhancing utilities plant planning from CO2 trading to contract negotiations. Lastly, it serves as an online operational advice system, optimizing utilities plant operation in real-time. 

  • "Plan vs. actual” management system
    By leveraging production plans and schedules, the solution crafts an optimal strategy for the purchase, generation and distribution of utilities. The integration with site production schedules enables the creation of tactical utilities plans and nominations for external utilities suppliers. For long-term planning, it supports annual budgeting for utilities supply and facilitates maintenance scheduling of utilities equipment.

  • Tactical and strategic advise system
    This comprehensive solution optimizes operations, streamlines energy utilization across the site and facilitates informed energy purchasing decisions. By fostering a balanced approach to energy management, it ensures a reliable and environmentally conscious energy supply that complements the overall business strategy.

    User-friendly interfaces, tailored to specific roles, contribute to the widespread acceptance of Aspen Utilities Planner. From plant operators to senior management, these interfaces provide the right data in the right way, enhancing decision making.

  • Optimize utilities in real-time
    Seamless integration is a hallmark feature of this solution as it effortlessly integrates with existing and future plant information and business systems. This integration automates data aggregation and contextualization, enhancing both relevance and usability by utilizing the latest information without manual transfer.

The integration with Aspen OnLine® or the online version of Aspen Utilities Planner, takes it a step further by optimizing energy performance in real time. This ensures consistent and timely responses to process disruptions. The software advises on supplying energy demands at the lowest cost by modeling process unit energy demands and utility equipment performance using real-time plant information. Optimization results are conveyed to operators, detailing specific changes needed for improved efficiency.

In essence, Aspen Utilities Planner emerges as a catalyst, empowering process industries to transcend traditional energy management practices. It not only achieves technical excellence but also aligns seamlessly with commercial objectives, ushering in a new era of energy and utilities management.

Considering our customers' needs, AspenTech has recently enhanced this solution. While customers are encouraged to embrace the latest version through the company’s upgrade acceleration program, it is critical to keep the market informed about updates. That's why a series of 'Did you know?' blogs will be published covering topics to help users understand the benefits of this upgrade. For example:

  • Did you know that with recent updates, you can now optimize your utility plant across multiple periods in the same flowsheet – enhancing costs, efficiency and emissions?

  • Did you know that Aspen Utilities Planner seamlessly integrates with Aspen Properties®, a trusted system in the industry?

Stay tuned for more insights, updates and valued content that will be shared in the upcoming blog series. The journey continues and there’s much more to share about how recent updates can result in better planning and optimization of utility systems while also minimizing emissions to align with net zero targets.

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