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Heat Process Integration: A strategy to improve the thermal energy efficiency 07-12-2018


Friday, December 7, will take place the seminar Heat Process Integration: A strategy to improve the thermal energy efficiency, lectured by Henrique Matos, at 4PM, room V0.15.

Nowadays, everyone is aware of how much energy costs have an impact on a company’s account. The opportunity to maximize useful outputs by consuming the least primary inputs possible is the goal when one is studying efficiency of energy systems.

Depletion of fossil fuel reserves and threat of global warming have encouraged industries to maximize heat recovery via Process Integration (PI) as one of the effective strategies to improve the energy efficiency by minimizing the consumption of the primary energy.

Heat exchanger network synthesis (HENS) is of utmost importance for process plants due to its impact on process energy costs. It is vital to ensure the market competitiveness of a company and its sustainability, to control and minimize the weight which the energy component has in a company cost structure. The definition of PI includes methods for supporting industrial process projects, enabling them to develop equipment combinations and synergies between the streams to minimize energy consumption and the effluents emission [3]. Among PI methodologies, Pinch Analysis (PA) is the most commonly used, considering its straightforwardness and its results when applied to several industrial sectors.

PA was developed as a method for process integration during the 1970s and further research, addressing PA as a PI methodology, was carried out by Professor Linnhoff and his co-workers at University of Manchester. Pinch Analysis methodology has been broadly used on many chemical plants as well as in a wide range of industries.

The National Group for Process Integration (GNIP, in Portuguese) is a consortium of institutions, companies and universities with the mission to disseminate and promote PI methodologies in Portugal and give the necessary support to Portuguese participation in the International Agreement named Industrial Energy-related Technologies and Systems (IETS) under the scope of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

A joint effort between IST (Universidade de Lisboa) and ADENE (Portuguese Agency for Energy), ended up in a development of a free software tool, with Portuguese and English versions, for energy integration processes, the FI2EPI (Ferramenta Informática para Integração Energética de Processos Industriais, in Portuguese). FI2EPI is a tool that resorts to PA and may be applied to industrial facilities with thermal energy consumption. In FI2EPI, for example, one can analyse process streams cooling and heating requirements to further proceed to establish the process energy targets. By identifying the Pinch Point location, FI2EPI automatically plots the composite curve and grand composite curve of the user’s process. If the user already has an existing HEN, the program will schematically design it, allowing future comparisons between the actual process and the HEN corresponding to the minimum energy scenario. It also allows discussing the use of different utilities to decrease the global energy cost.