A Takeaway for the Team on Measuring Power Consumption

As the team continued to make progress on reducing and optimizing energy usage, they noticed that energy consumption by itself did not tell the entire story. They drilled down a bit deeper and discovered that power quality issues impacted several of the operating units and the data center. They began to closely monitor frequency, voltage, and current (amperage) to uncover momentary power interruptions. Assets like pumps, motors, and compressors have current curves based on discharge pressure, flow, or other performance variables. So, the team used voltage and amperage for resiliency analysis.

The team realized that consumption analysis could be more than simply assigning excess or unusual usage to a specific asset, batch, or shift. As a result, they discovered that energy metering is not simply consumption. Rather, they augmented their analysis to include consumption and power quality.

Smart Grid and Refinery Resiliency Improvements

The digital transformation team addressed management's desire to minimize unwanted outcomes from storms or weather events, such as lightning strikes. The South Texas refinery did not make its own electricity from an onsite power plant. During and after Texas had deregulated energy supply in the early 2000s, Proclndustries' businesspeople had negotiated several power supply contracts that provided low-cost power to the refinery. Within the terms of the existing contract were provisions that Proclndustries had asked for:

  • 1. Some relief on power prices during peak summer days in return for the grid operator requiring cutbacks in refinery power usage; being flexible allowed for potential large cost avoidances.
  • 2. The rights for Proclndustries to monitor the substation that adjoined the refinery property, even though the local grid operator owned the substation equipment.

As the project progresses, the EIDI infers that more granular data can more accurately track power consumption usage for individual assets. As such, Proclndustries deploys additional power meters to track real-time power consumption of all turbines, agitators, compressors, and pumps. They further calculate the total power consumption by plant area using the motors' nominal rating multiplied by the on-and-off digital switch that they had available through the refinery's DCSs and passing this data into the EIDI for online calculations. Each area of the plant is also equipped with an energy and water consumption usage meter. By tracking operating mode in the EIDI event-based data, they substantially improve the estimate of total energy consumption (energy, fuel, water, air, oxygen, hydrogen by area by unit) for each operating mode. In addition, energy usage decreases because of improved availability and performance of the equipment in the units. The engineers are able to reduce unit "trouble times" through improvement of process control strategies using real-time EIDI analytics and exporting the data to offline analytics software.

The next task was improving the resiliency of the refinery when unexpected power outages affected the refinery's ability to make product effectively because of an inability to have visibility into unit processes during those times.

Peter had attended OSIsoft user conferences for several years. One of his takeaways was how process and manufacturing companies had developed EIDI best practices for their own processes and applied them to other disciplines. For large facilities that made their own electricity, these mavericks used their EIDI systems to monitor their expected near-term power consumption and determine when to make their own power versus purchasing it from the grid. Even though the South Texas refinery didn't generate their own power, Peter decided to monitor the refinery's power and gas environment—storing custody transfer information—and local substation activity.

In addition to monitoring the health of the substation equipment using the same techniques described in Chapter 6, the team implemented the following:

  • 1. They deployed a high-availability EIDI environment by adding a second EIDI server. In this configuration, both servers receive data, but one is the primary online server that facilitates EIDI users. If the primary server experiences issues that impact availability, all activity transfers to the mirrored secondary EIDI, with users switched automatically in a matter of seconds. Once the primary server is restored, the information technology (IT) manager can revert back to the original environment. This approach also helps when applying cybersecurity updates and other related software patches to an EIDI system, as personnel can switch back and forth with disruption held to an absolute minimum.
  • 2. The team worked with power subject matter experts and implemented a higher resiliency environment. By purchasing larger, higher capacity uninterruptable power supplies (UPSs), including larger capacity batteries, the refinery's control systems and EIDI systems (primary and backup servers) now have four hours of run time when the power unexpectedly goes out.
  • 3. The team worked with the local power grid company to set up real-time monitoring of the substation located at the refinery gate. By deploying intelligent calculations based on input from the grid operator, they learned some of the metrics that forecasted a possible power interruption. This would give them early detection of an impending problem and provided the few minutes necessary to ensure that the UPS environment was fully running.
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