On a Path to Four Zeros Operational Goals

The Industry Forums, scheduled for Monday, October 8, 1:00-2:30pm are always an informative part of the Emerson Exchange technical conference. You can find the industry forum lineup for next week’s conference here. Emerson’s Peter Cox is leading Industrial and Specialty forum. They’ll cover:

  • Challenges to maximize efficiency and reliability while maintaining safety and environmental excellence
  • Impacts by the need to be “low cost suppliers of product” or “providers of engineered solutions and capabilities”
  • How industry-leading companies have met these challenges
  • Q&A session with these industry leaders

I’ve been meaning to do a post on a recent presentation from Peter on building an integrated smart refinery and petrochemical complex. In it, he notes that this integration is important because of several factors. They include the fact that refineries co-produce light olefins and aromatics. Also, fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) produce refinery grade propylene.

The process can be simplified through close coupling and the use of fuels and conversions to petrochemicals can be optimized. Finally, close integration promotes project benefits in contractor costs, shared footprint, and common infrastructure. Operational benefits occur with organizational efficiencies and integration of common utilities.

Operational goals for refiners and petrochemical plants involve the “four zeros”—zero serious safety incidents, zero reportable emission events, zero unscheduled downtime, and zero lost profit opportunities through optimization. Peter cites some world-class benchmarks including:

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The path to a smart, integrated complex is to look at all levels of the process and apply the smart technologies and workflows. It starts with the instrumentation and final control elements that touch the process. Smart devices with advanced diagnostics and digital communications can provide early warning to address the four operations goals around safety, sustainability, reliability, and optimization. At the control and safety system level, this information is combined with data collection, advanced multi-level diagnostics, and predictive analytics to provide insights into asset behavior and process behavior.

The information is consolidated to provide decision-making dashboards and remote collaboration support for operations, maintenance, and plant engineering staff. At the enterprise level, connections support many functions including accounting, production planning, reliability, quality management, and marketing, sales, and distribution.

Combining the technologies with the people and processes provides a way to improve benchmarks on the path to “four zeros”.

Many ideas on how to do this will be exchanged at the industry forum sessions as well as throughout the conference.

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