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Reduce Fuel Costs

Challenge: Fuel costs are driven higher in industrial combustion processes when thermal efficiency is poor and when expensive fuels are used to a greater degree than necessary. This can be due to difficulties associated with normal load swings from product mix and production rate changes, by unit fouling, and because of emissions constraints. Additional challenges occur due to the fact that many boilers, heaters, and furnaces are fired with lower cost waste and off-gas fuels that vary in supply and in energy content per volume. Industrial sites wish to maximize the use of waste and off-gas fuel supplies, but the variability and handling difficulties associated with these opportunity fuel sources make it a challenge.

Solution: Lowering combustion fuel costs requires a focus on thermal efficiency, but the greater opportunity for an industrial site is typically to maximize the use of lower cost waste and alternative fuel sources. Many industrial facilities produce and/or have access to some type of low cost energy source that can be utilized in boilers, heaters, and furnaces. Examples include biomass (waste wood), refinery off-gases, blast furnace gas, coke oven gas, excess hydrogen, tire derived fuel, and petcoke. When use of these fuels is successfully maximized, purchased fuel costs are reduced dramatically.  Emerson helps clients maximize low cost fuel use by mitigating process issues and implementing Btu based combustion control. Emerson’s SmartProcess™ solutions for combustion compensate in real-time for fuel variabilities to stabilize heat release and allow low cost fuel use to be increased.

In Fact: A petrochemical site in South America operates a power boiler that produces 400 ton/hr. of steam by firing waste gas fuels in addition to purchased natural gas. Emerson worked with the client to implement an improved combustion control strategy with results including:

  • Accomplished fully automatic Btu compensated combustion control
  • Natural gas purchased cost reduced by >USD $ 1MM annually


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