What does it take to realize hydrocarbon pipeline energy optimization and the associated benefits I’ve discussed in previous posts?
A system-wide solution most effective in delivering energy savings must fully integrate the tools and data sources that summarize the cost of the current pipeline configuration; identify an optimized configuration for current conditions and requirements; and perform costing runs to alert the approach of rate transitions.
Here are the elements of this integrated solution –
Real-time information – such as pressures, temperatures, flows, pump and valve status, and, if available, kilowatts – is made available by the pipeline’s SCADA system. Simulation software creates a steady-state model that merges state-of-pipeline data with critical business information.
A costing module uses actual utility contracts that support demand and energy components, seasons, fuel costs, and time-of-day parameters to very accurately calculate differences between how the pipeline is running and how it could be configured to minimize energy consumption.
A demand recorder element manages the database that stores key data such as kilowatt information for each demand interval on a per-pump or per-compressor basis. A sequencer module coordinates simulation information including pipeline current state calculations, potential optimization, early warning, and operator or engineer ‘what-if’ scenarios.
Finally, a web-based graphic user interface (GUI) provides all runtime displays within the browser for contiguous viewing and engineering.
If you’re thinking this is all theoretical, it’s not. This automation and control solution exists – and it is being used by major industry operators to lower energy consumption and support a sustainability strategy. More on this solution in an upcoming post.