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Biomass Power Generation

Utilities and energy developers are increasingly proposing biomass-fueled plants as one way to address Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). Biomass power generation takes on many forms and fuel types. These plants can be built from the ground up to burn biomass fuels including wood, municipal solid wastes, or bio-derived liquids, or they can be existing coal-fired utility boilers that co-fire biomass with the aim of reducing emissions and costs. Biomass installations are also prevalent in industries such as forest products where wood wastes are fueled to produce steam and electricity.

Emerson Power & Water Solutions has considerable global experience with biomass for power generation. Our Ovation™ distributed control system has been successfully applied on a variety of biomass installations ranging from coal firing to dedicated plants. We can provide control and automation for fuel handling, combustion processes, turbines, emissions, and balance-of-plant, as well as sensors, valves and analyzers. Our philosophy of integrating a high level of process automation ensures consistent operation and may result in fewer outages and extended maintenance cycles.

While process automation is a relatively small part of a biomass installation in monetary terms, it is absolutely critical from a plant performance perspective. Process control and how it is implemented can have very direct impacts on the commercial and operational success of an installation.

Finally, implementing appropriate controls on a biomass plant need not be complicated. Emerson Power & Water Solutions can serve as a focal point for the total scope of instrumentation and control on a biomass project. In the role of Main Automation Contractor (MAC) we can help expedite project cycles and mitigate the risks and staff impacts associated with selecting and procuring automation components.

As a leader in power generation automation, Emerson solutions can help reduce outages, promote consistent equipment operation, and support realization of financial objectives. We recognize that power producers with diverse assets that include biomass generation require broad scope solutions that incorporate innovative technology and lifecycle services. Emerson's vast experience with coal-fired, combined cycle, cogeneration, and biomass units enables us to provide integrated solutions that encompass the entire plant. Our automation strategies promote commercial success by increasing operational efficiency and improving reliability and availability while mitigating risk.

1st Generation Biofuels
Challenge: The build-out of 1st generation plants during the 1990's and 2000's is the backbone of today's ethanol supply infrastructure in North America. Over time, though, the economics of producing ethanol are changing as owners move from smaller farmer owned co-ops to large corporations. Plant sizes are also growing from 20 million gallons per year to 100 million gallons per year facilities. With these shifting competitive dynamics, plant operators are challenged to produce cost competitive fuel with an aging automation platform.

Solution: At Emerson Process Management, our experts can help you navigate these dynamics and optimize your plant infrastructure to take advantage of today's technology to help you produce fuel with higher margins. In general, when the ethanol infrastructure was constructed, the standard design was such that there was no perceived competitive advantage to be gained from automation. Times have changed.

From improving DDGS quality and reducing enzyme costs to optimizing mol sieves, the experts at Emerson can help you take a fresh look at your plant infrastructure and recommend solutions to optimize operations and reduce maintenance costs.

Advanced Biofuels
Challenge: Advanced biofuel plants typically use proprietary, first-of-a-kind technologies to produce a unique fuel or chemical molecule. Whether you are using a thermo-mechanical, enzymatic, or other innovative processing technology, the process of producing these molecules poses a core set of challenges. In addition, scaling up your process from pilot to demonstration to commercial scale is, in itself, a first-of-a-kind effort. Inevitably, the process design and engineering will change over the years it takes to build an advanced biofuels plant and as we all know, late changes can lead to costly schedule delays.

Solution: At Emerson Process Management, we truly believe that being first in the marketplace with technology innovations that change the landscape of the industries we serve is the way we differentiate and best meet our customers' needs. Emerson's advanced biofuels experience can help you through project definition, design, construction, and startup. Our experts have been through the process of scaling up processes and know which pitfalls you will likely incur.

Emerson's patented electronic marshaling technology eliminates the traditional coupling of hardware and software design and allows you to easily make engineering and design changes right up to startup. The end result is that with this approach, you will be given more detailed engineering time to deal with your inevitable changes without having to incur the costs typically associated with making changes throughout the process.

Essential Asset Monitoring
Challenge: Critical assets in a plant are typically monitored manually. Operations personnel spend valuable time doing spot checks from the field and preventative maintenance checks whether needed or not. In some instances months to years can go by between manual spot checks causing millions of dollars in losses. Without online monitoring, maintenance based on historical reliability experience will not always catch sudden failures or abnormal operation.

Solution: Automated monitoring of essential assets provides timely information to both control room operators and/or maintenance, thus allowing the opportunity to take action before the asset fails. Operation, safety, and environmental incidents can be avoided, thus increasing the reliability of your plant with the use of automated asset monitoring. Wireless technology can empower next-generation plant workers with real-time process data, equipment data and knowledge from experienced workers.

Project Management and Risk Mitigation
Challenge: Mitigating risk in the deployment of projects is paramount for any developer. This is particularly important for advanced biofuels projects that scale first of a kind technology to demonstration or commercial scale. One area that consistently plagues process automation projects are increased costs due to late design changes. There are a lot of unknowns when scaling new technology and unforeseen process design changes can easily cause a project schedule to slip.

Solution: Emerson can help advanced biofuel developers mitigate risk from a number of fronts. First, we've helped many others in the industry through the scaling process and understand the pitfalls that you may incur during the development process. Our team of experts can guide you through the engineering process using our proven project methodologies and experience.

Secondly, we can help you manage risk from a technology perspective using an automation solution called Electronic Marshaling that decouples the dependence between process software and system hardware design. What this means is that by using electronic marshaling, you will gain extra detailed design engineering time which will help you manage the inevitable changes that you will face during project scale up. Not only will your design be more complete, but you will also avoid having to make many of the changes to your plant, post startup, had you used traditional automation architecture.

Smart Turnarounds
Challenge: One of the biggest challenges in a turnaround is determining which assets will be taken down for cleaning, service, repairs, or upgrades while ensuring that key assets requiring attention are not missed. Equipment shutdowns cost money in lost revenue, and require advanced planning and methodical execution in order to avoid costly schedule delays.

Solution: Pre-planning is key to maximizing the opportunity to repair, replace and upgrade equipment to enhance performance and get back online as soon as possible. Emerson's technology allows you to evaluate asset health prior to the planning phase of a turnaround, allowing you to maximize the opportunity to repair, replace and upgrade equipment and get you back online as soon as possible. In addition, our smart turnaround and outage smart turnaround and outage experts can help you to make more informed decisions - you are aware of what needs maintenance and what is in good health so you avoid performing any unnecessary maintenance.