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Improved energy and resource efficiency by better coordination of production in the process industries

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CoPro (Improved energy and resource efficiency by better coordination of production in the process industries)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-04-30

The goal of CoPro is to improve resource efficiency of industrial plants and industrial parks. The specific goal is to develop and to demonstrate methods and tools for improved process monitoring and optimal dynamic planning, scheduling and control of connected process units. CoPro will help plant managers and plant operators to improve efficiency by better coordination between the different units and plants.
In most plants of the process industries, the energy and resource efficiency of the production depends critically on decisions on which equipment is used when, on shutdowns, product changeovers, and on cleaning or regeneration of equipment. CoPro will consider these discrete decisions in plant-wide dynamic optimisation and develop integrated scheduling and control solutions. Advanced online data analytics will be developed to monitor plant health and product quality. When anomalies are detected, fast re-scheduling and re-optimisation will be triggered.
CoPro will demonstrate advanced plant-wide and site-wide coordination and control in six use cases that cover a wide range of sectors of the process industries:
• Integrated petrochemical production site
• Base chemicals and polymer production site
• Coordination between different production units in industrial parks crossing the borders of companies
• Spinbath recovery system in cellulose production
• Consumer product formulation and packaging
• Unfreezing, packing and sterilisation of fish.
CoPro combines local control of production units with an overarching real-time optimisation and scheduling system using innovative software tools that can be implemented in real plants independently of the choice of the main automation supplier. CoPro pays special attention to the human aspect in plant operations and aims at finding the right balance between human understanding and responsibility, automation, optimisation, visualisation and heuristic decision making. As the effort required for the development and maintenance of accurate plant models often is the bottleneck for the development and long-term operation of advanced control and scheduling solutions, CoPro will develop methods for efficient modelling and for model quality monitoring and model adaption.
The project started in October 2017. Within the first 18 months, the six use cases were specified in detail and the development of methods and software tools that will provide benefits for these applications started.
First results related to the use cases have already been achieved:
• Optimisation of the operation of a part of the petrochemical production site including logistic decisions, including e.g. how to use buffer tanks most efficiently
• Distributed optimisation of production networks with external supplies of intermediates
• Optimal use of evaporators in spin-bath recovery in cellulose production
• Modelling and optimisation of the sterilisation of canned fish
• Production scheduling for coupled multi-product plants
• Optimal planning of preventive maintenance.

A tool that supports the development of hybrid models (models that consist of purely data-based elements as well as of rigorous sub-models) is under development. A first prototype of a real-time integration platform has been developed. State-of-the art data analytics have been applied to the use cases e.g. to detect fouling of heat exchangers.
The developed technologies, tools and methods will be applied by the end users who are part of the project consortium, but beyond this a broader application of the results in the European process industry is intended. Two exploitation workshops were organized in which potentially exploitable results and possible business models were discussed. In order to receive feedback from stakeholders and facilitate future market uptake of the results, a Cross-Sectorial Industrial Stakeholder Panel (ISP) was established. The first meeting took place in May 2018. 10 companies and industrial associations were represented at the meeting.
CoPro will extend the state of the art by providing and demonstrating tools for process monitoring, dynamic planning and scheduling and control of plants, sites and industrial clusters under dynamic market conditions. Specifically, the project will include discrete decisions in plant-wide control and optimisation schemes and in this way enhance the efficiency of plant operations. Another innovation will be the integration of intuitive forms of human-machine interaction and optimisation-based advanced decision support. Further, we will provide new techniques for the coordination of production units beyond the limits of individual companies and for distributing the joint benefits in industrial parks. This will be a key ingredient for the realization of industrial symbiosis.
The exploitable technologies that are developed by CoPro will comprise:
• Tools for plant-wide optimisation
• Market-based coordination mechanisms for large plants and industrial parks
• Optimal scheduling of industrial packing facilities
• Reactive planning and scheduling systems
• Data driven anomaly detection in processing plants
• Methods and tool for efficient development of hybrid plant models
• Novel forms of information presentation to managers and operators
• Software platform that connects to different IT and visualisation systems for the implementation of advanced monitoring, optimisation and scheduling algorithms.

These expected technological innovations of CoPro will constitute an important progress in process monitoring and optimal dynamic planning, scheduling and control of plants, industrial sites and clusters. They will be applicable to all SPIRE sectors and further industries and will constitute a solid framework to operate plants and value chains in a more energy and resource efficient manner. The CoPro technologies will significantly strengthen the global position of the European process industry and will also have positive impact on the greenhouse emissions and resource efficiency. The on-site material handling time, the resource consumption, the global use of energy and the greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced by at least 5% if rolled out broadly across the European process industries.
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