Hydrogen and Biofuel Production Improvements

Technology pundits have extolled hydrogen as an energy source that makes sense from environmental and sustainable points-of-view for many years. Emerson recently hosted an online conference focused on what it is doing to help customers develop hydrogen production. We are finally on the cusp of a breakthrough. One problem hydrogen shares with electricity is dirty generation. Emerson and customers are working to solve the tech and economics of green hydrogen production.

While we are talking sustainability, please check out The Carbon Almanac. Hundreds of volunteers from around the world have worked on this practical guide to doing something about global warming and environmental dangers.

I’m going to summarize three sustainability initiatives from Emerson that I have collected for a few weeks.

  • Toyota Hydrogen Production
  • Green Hydrogen Production
  • Biofuel Production in Finland

Automation Technology for Toyota Australia’s Hydrogen Production and Refueling Plant

Emerson and Toyota Australia have collaborated to transform part of Toyota Australia’s operations into a commercial-grade hydrogen production, storage and refueling plant. The project, supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), adopts Emerson’s automation expertise to provide the control system that helps Toyota Australia demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of manufacturing hydrogen fuels, including the use of renewable solar energy.

  • DeltaV distributed control system gathers data from the plant’s complex equipment
  • DeltaV systems control operations and help ensure safe operations 
  • Edge control technology from PACSystems will further reduce cost and complexity of integrating third-party systems
  • Rosemount flame detectors will help keep personnel and operations safe

Emerson to Help Accelerate Green Hydrogen Production

The PosHYdon project is a pilot that aims to validate the integration of offshore wind power and offshore natural gas and hydrogen production at sea—generating renewable fuels by harnessing a green energy source. The Neptune Energy-operated platform Q13a-A in the Dutch North Sea will host the project, which will provide insight into electrolyzer efficiency from a variable power supply and the cost of installing and maintaining a green hydrogen production plant on an offshore platform.

Green electricity will be used to simulate the fluctuating supply from wind turbines and power the production process, which will convert sea water into demineralized water and then safely produce hydrogen via electrolysis. The hydrogen is then blended with the natural gas and transported to the coast, via the existing gas pipeline, and fed into the national gas grid. The 1 MW electrolyzer is expected to produce up to three tons of hydrogen per week.

Emerson’s DeltaV distributed control system, DeltaV safety instrumented system and DeltaV Live operator interface software will manage the desalination and electrolyzer units, gas blending and balance of plant equipment.

PosHYdon is being developed by consortium partners Nexstep, TNO, Neptune Energy, Gasunie, Noordgastransport, NOGAT, DEME Offshore, TAQA, Eneco, Nel Hydrogen, InVesta, Hatenboer, Iv-Offshore & Energy and Emerson. The project has been awarded a €3.6 million grant from The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) under the agency’s Demonstration Energy and Climate Innovation scheme, which invests in renewable energy developments, including hydrogen pilots.

Animated video with English subtitles.

 

Optimize Fintoil Biorefinery Operations for More Efficient, Sustainable Production

Fintoil, together with Neste Engineering Solutions, has selected Emerson’s automation software and technologies to maximize the operational performance of its biorefinery being constructed in the port of Hamina-Kotka, Finland. The plant will be the third-largest crude tall oil (CTO) biorefinery in the world and produce advanced biofuel and biochemical feedstocks that help lower emissions and reduce reliance on fossil-based fuels. 

The plant will refine CTO, a by-product of the wood pulping process, to produce a sustainable feedstock for renewable second-generation diesel, as well as rosin, sterol pitch and turpentine used in the chemicals, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals industries. These CTO derivatives have a carbon footprint up to 90% smaller than their fossil-based equivalents. 

Emerson will apply its Project Certainty methodology, which digitalizes project execution and uses practices such as remote testing of equipment. Emerson consultancy services will advise on the implementation of cybersecurity best practices.

Construction of the facility is expected to be completed in 2022. The expected annual capacity of 200,000 tons will create a 400,000-ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, which is roughly 1% of Finland’s total emissions.

ABB Unveils View of Future of Process Automation

“In more than 25 years in the automation and energy business, I have never experienced more exciting times, albeit with more existential challenges,” says Peter Terwiesch, President, ABB Process Automation. Terwiesch spoke with me several times back when he was CTO of ABB process automation. He has always had marvelous insight into technology trends and process applications.

Terwiesch states the current state of process control spot on. I’ve watched the momentum of the Open Group building over the past few years. Could it suffer the same fate as its predecessor OMAC? Or could enough suppliers adopt significant parts of the “standard of standards” that we see the long awaited (by users) revolution toward open and interoperable and upgradable technology?

During my travel marathon in May/June, I had learned of Honeywell’s new direction with process control adding a level of open to a proprietary platform. Versions of openness including updates of the work of the Open Process Automation Forum were discussed at the ARC Industry Forum that I reported on podcast 242, Hype Curve. Schneider Electric (along with many smaller companies) has been stirring up news with its push toward open automation called Universal Automation.

Just at that time, ABB released a white paper on the future of process automation from Terwiesch. While at ARC, I had an opportunity to talk with Bernhard Eschermann, CTO Process Automation to make sure I understood the direction.

Following are some highlights from ABB.

  • At the core of controlling and supervising complex processes, the DCS will continue to provide the essentials needed for safe and reliable operations, while evolving its functionality to serve the needs of accelerating digital transformation and energy transition. It will combine an ability to scale and serve new market conditions by adapting to new technologies, including the provision of standard interfaces for third-party connectivity.
  • ABB foresees a modular automation architecture that will evolve to address customer needs, becoming more open, interoperable and flexible, while maintaining the same high level of reliability, availability, safety and security to which users have grown accustomed.
  • The DCS of the future will be embedded in a digitally-enabled environment that facilitates enterprise-wide secure connectivity and collaboration among people, systems and equipment.
  • New business models will be feasible through readily downloadable application subscription services.
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence will speed issue resolution and promote remote, autonomous operations that keep people out of harm’s way and mitigate against human-induced error.

“With the DCS of tomorrow, we will accelerate innovation while maintaining the reliability and continuity for which we are known,” said Peter Terwiesch, President, ABB Process Automation. “This white paper is a blueprint for automation systems that will future-proof industries for decades to come. Many of the industries we serve are energy and material intensive, and strive toward more sustainable production. As they increasingly integrate renewables into their energy mix, we will provide the automation with which to do it.”

From the white paper:

  • ABB will separate automation into an evergreen robust core served by a modular architecture, prioritizing real-time response; with an extended, digitally enabled environment that securely connects to IoT, and enhances the collaboration of people, systems, and equipment.
  • Consistent with the Open Process Automation Forum’s vision of independent software modules with defined communication interfaces, the future Process Automation Systems core and extended system environments will be virtual, modular domains with cyber secure interfaces based on industry-standard OPC UA information models and communications.
  • These containerized modules will be automatically orchestrated in accordance with their performance and security expectations. This moves enforcement of authentication and authorization from the network perimeter toward a zero-trust approach at the core where components will be required to digitally prove their identity and originality, as well as their authorization for specific tasks, in order to properly deal with the evolving threat landscape.

Mixed Reality Simulator and Updated Process Automation from Honeywell

Honeywell User Group landed in Orlando two weeks ago. Meanwhile, I’ve had several meetings with Honeywell again this week, also in Orlando, at the annual ARC Industry Forum. Two additional items have popped up this week. One relates to worker enhancement and the other fleshes out additional details of the updated Experion PKS process automation system. This topic was broached last week, but there’s a little bit more.

Honeywell Enhances Immersive Field Simulator

Manas Dutta met with me to discuss this simulator product. Mixed reality experiences have often been explained as training applications—and indeed that is a great use. However, Dutta also explained that design engineers can also use the technology to visualize the physical plant. They can see where a scaffolding may need to be erected or where there may be interferences. This is most useful in the usual use case where engineering is done remotely.

Honeywell announced a new version of its Immersive Field Simulator (IFS) offering, a virtual reality (VR) and mixed-reality-based training tool that incorporates a digital twin of physical plant operations to provide targeted, on-demand, skill-based training for workers. With IFS technology, plants can simulate scenarios such as primary failure and switchovers, and cable and power supply failures, that train and test personnel on their skills.

The new version of IFS – R120 – incorporates a simulation engine that enables customers to build field operator training lessons without having to link to a larger panel operator simulator. This provides more flexibility in how they conduct training and alleviates the need to pull multiple operators off shift for sessions. In addition, it reduces the solution’s footprint and allows it to be more accessible for impromptu training or refresher courses.

Furthermore, IFS R120 can facilitate an open platform communications connection to any panel operator simulator that a customer may have.

“Megatrends such as the aging workforce and increased complexity of technology are putting even more pressure on industrial companies and their training programs,” said Pramesh Maheshwari, vice president and general manager, Lifecycle Solutions and Services, Honeywell Process Solutions. “More than ever, they need training and development solutions that empower workers to improve plant performance, uptime, reliability and safety.

He continued: “One of the best ways to do this is by simulating real-world environments and rare but critical plant operation and maintenance scenarios to enable safe, hands-on learning away from the hazards of a plant. This version of Immersive Field Simulator offers increased flexibility to meet any site’s operator training requirements.

IFS R120 will be available at the end of 2022.

Experion PKS Release 520.2 For Next Generation Process Control

Joe Bastone sat down with me at ARC Industry Forum to talk about the next gen process control from Honeywell. As he discussed the “Hive” technology and new features, his excitement and passion for the product was abundant.

However as I’ve discussed previously, an interesting sub-story is that the product contains many of the features requested by ExxonMobil and other end users that has led to the development of the Open Process Automation Forum and standards, but no mention of OPAF is ever made. This story will continue to develop. For sure, significant advances have come to process control.

Honeywell announced Release 520.2 (R520.2) of its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS), introducing new process automation features and functionality to end users across the industrial sector. 

At the center of R520.2 is Experion PKS Control Highly Integrated Virtual Environment (Control HIVE) functionality, which enables users to integrate individual controllers and have them act as a cluster of shared compute resources. This functionality, combined with the capability to optimize control system resources and input/output modules, significantly reduces the complexity and capital expenditure associated with automation projects and control systems.

Control HIVE also reduces unplanned downtime and shutdowns through unlimited availability and redundancy; provides longevity; and simplifies lifecycle management and support through streamlined maintenance and upgrade activities. Furthermore, Control HIVE provides an open, scalable control platform that can accommodate other types of applications, reducing the complexity of integrating, operating and maintaining third party systems and packages.

Experion PKS R520.2 also expands the functionality of Control HIVE, which allows automation projects to be deployed in a more flexible and resilient manner by decoupling control system elements that are traditionally engineered, configured and deployed in a hierarchal manner. 

Rounding out the updates is side-by-side support for Honeywell’s C300PM and EHPM controllers, which provides more flexibility for migrations; unit operations controller enhancements for Life Sciences, Pulp and Paper, and other vertical end users; PROFINET S2 redundancy; and materials requirement planning support for increased availability and simplified device replacement.

“Building on the foundation forged by Experion PKS R520.1, this new version of Experion PKS incorporates ground-breaking technologies and capabilities that effectively establish the necessary requirements for the next generation of process control,” said Joe Bastone, director of offering management for Experion PKS, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Implementation of R520.2 can truly transform a user’s current installed base, leveraging existing investments while solidifying their operations for a digitalized future.”

Honeywell Introduces A “Unified Process Control Platform”

I still have thoughts to wrap up from HUG while compiling news from Hannover plus many other news items due to Hannover or ARC or Automate shows. Not to mention many other projects ongoing. Plus I received my second Covid booster vaccine this morning. No reactions so far just like with the hundred (it seems) other inoculations I’ve taken over the past few months.

First, an introduction. During Honeywell Process Solutions CTO Jason Urso’s keynote, he described a new control platform and future that sounded very much like the Open Process Automation work of decoupling hardware and software, using modularity, the latest networking, open protocols, and the like—except he never mentioned OPAF. A couple of colleagues and myself found this intriguing.

I will pause and let your imagination go to work for a minute.

Here is the news of the C300PM controller that HPS calls a “unified process control system” that  is “flexible and cost effective.”

In short:

• Solution protects existing intellectual property while modernizing current infrastructure

• Provides modern best-in-class control technology in a familiar HPM hardware form

The new controller enables seamless technology evolution for customers seeking to utilize the features of the state-of-the-art C300 process controller while retaining a familiar hardware package.

Addressing the key pain point of OPAF’s instigator, ExxonMobil, Honeywell states, “In today’s competitive environment, an effective strategy of control technology upgrades can help manufacturers reduce asset ownership costs, increase production rates, manage risks, extend the life and performance of systems and improve responses to changing customer demands.”

“The C300PM is intended for industrial operations employing the proven Enhanced High-Performance Process Manager (EPHM), which integrates the control environment of the legacy TotalPlant™ Solution (TPS) and TDC 2000/3000 systems,” said Pramesh Maheshwari, vice president & general manager, Honeywell Process Solutions, Lifecycle Support Services. “The C300PM is ideal for customers who have asked for the EHPM to have the same functionality as the best-in-class C300 when developing their control migration plans, as well as users with a mixture of EHPMs and C300s who want to unify their controller platform.”

With the C300PM, companies undertaking plant renovations or unit expansions can upgrade their controller installed base with a solution that provides a common engineering environment and eliminates the need to completely replace existing hardware.

The C300PM employs Honeywell’s deterministic Control Execution Environment (CEE) to execute control strategies on a constant and predictable schedule. The CEE is loaded into the C300PM controller, providing the execution platform for a set of automatic control, logic, data acquisition and calculation function blocks.

By modernizing to the C300PM, EHPM users no longer need to obtain an additional controller to obtain the same level of performance as the C300 controller in demanding applications such as blending and batch processing. They can take advantage of increased processing speed for their critical control loops. Peer-to-peer communications between different generations of controllers help to optimize overall system performance. In addition, the C300PM utilizes Honeywell’s Custom Algorithm Block (CAB) functionality, which leverages user-defined algorithms and data structures to greatly reduce the effort required to create complex control strategies.

The C300PM also incorporates the Experion PKS I/O Highly Integrated Virtual Environment (IO HIVE). This technology provides a fault-tolerant, high-speed field network allowing the controller to communicate with distributed Honeywell Universal I/O (UIO) and Series C I/O. The controller also supports many leading industrial communication protocols, including Peer Control Data Interface (PCDI), Profinet, EtherNet/IP, OneWireless, FOUNDATION Fieldbus, and Profibus.

Insert another pause. During the time that I haven’t been briefed much from Honeywell, it has become platform agnostic. No more battling our wireless versus theirs or our fieldbus versus theirs. All for the good!

With Honeywell’s assistance, EHPM users can take advantage of a familiar migration technique to C300PM, which allows them to preserve their valuable legacy systems without having to deal with issues such as rewiring, system reconfiguration and graphics migration. Migration can be completed without the need for a shutdown to install new controllers. Conversely, plants that have not installed the EHPM can go directly from the High-Performance Process Manager (HPM) to the powerful and robust features of the C300PM as part of a simple on-process migration.

Honeywell Introduces Virtual Power Plant

Various aspects of sustainability and power were a focus this week at the Honeywell User Group conference in Orlando. Owner/operators can apply Honeywell process control to coordinate their energy resources for better utilization in the plant and perhaps become a net supplier to the grid. 

Honeywell Adds Virtual Power Plant Capability To Its Experion Energy Control System

Honeywell today introduced its Experion Energy Control System’s new virtual power plant (VPP) functionality that enables users to dispatch a network of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as wind generating units, storage systems and solar farms through a centralized control process. By centralizing the dispatching process, users can optimize their operations and create sufficient capacity to participate in a variety of energy markets that would otherwise be inaccessible. 

Using the Experion Energy Control System VPP capability, resource owners can unlock power, capacity and revenue from their energy assets, such as DERs, while minimizing costs. The solution allows customers to monitor, forecast and coordinate in order to manage and improve the usage of energy assets in response to market conditions. Moreover, the remote management functionality comes integrated within the Experion Energy Control System, meaning existing users do not need to install any additional equipment to begin using it.

Suitable for a range of users including utilities, commercial and industrial site operators and independent power producers, the solution allows for autonomous control and flexibility over when users buy and use energy. 

For example, during intermittent weather conditions such as when the sun sets or clouds over, or when the wind stops blowing, users can automate when they choose to deploy energy reserves. Resource owners can also “revenue stack” or access additional revenue streams from resources such as wholesale energy markets or demand response programs. System operators can use the power aggregated by VPPs to provide ancillary services as well. 

“This new capability allows resource owners to maximize every renewable energy resource they have and ultimately make the most of their assets,” said Ujjwal Kumar, president & CEO, Honeywell Process Solutions. “As the energy landscape changes, so must our approach to delivering meaningful solutions to our customers. Honeywell’s VPP offering is one of the many ways we are driving change throughout the power sector and helping our customers meet their sustainability goals through a robust portfolio of ready-now solutions.”

Updates from Honeywell

I am in a hallway of the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando attending my first Honeywell User Group meeting in several years. I missed a couple before the pandemic shut things down. More than 1,200 people here, so it’s a lively return to conference season. 

There were several announcements in CTO Jason Urso’s usual high energy product keynote this morning. The one I am reporting today deals with sustainability—of which they had much to say. Other announcements will discuss the future of process control and other goodies. I was also sitting on an update from Honeywell Forge (software) that I’ll tack on to the end of this report.

Honeywell Introduces Emissions Control and Reduction Initiative

This initial offering will focus on the detection and reporting of fugitive methane emissions to help users reduce production losses, improve productivity and comply with ongoing legislation.

Honeywell announced an Emissions Control & Reduction Initiative designed to help customers achieve carbon neutrality in a wide range of areas. The initiative will initially focus on helping oil and gas customers with upstream, midstream and downstream operations to monitor and reduce fugitive methane emissions, which are more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

By combining its portfolio of fixed, portable and personal gas detection solutions with gas cloud imaging cameras, Honeywell will provide customers with early detection of fugitive methane emissions, including the precise location of any leaks and associated data analytics and trends. Equipped with this data, users can act quickly to address leaks and other identified risks to minimize production losses and maintain compliance with legislation.

The solution – which combines wireless gas detector technology with enterprise-wide data management solutions – works in tandem with existing Leak Detection & Repair (LDAR) testing methods to improve the accuracy of reporting and increase productivity by enabling users to find production losses faster.

Honeywell’s methane detection capability will be available to customers in Q4 2022.

Honeywell Introduces Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse

Honeywell announced the Spring 2022 release of new offerings and enhancements to Honeywell Forge, the leading enterprise performance management software solution, designed to assist customers in accelerating the digital transformation of their operations. This class of offerings, which includes Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse, will help organizations simplify operations and lower costs by providing increased visibility to data as well as real-time insights, monitoring and automation. 

“Our new Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse offering brings a scalable and cloud-based solution to help distribution centers accelerate their productivity, predictability and transformation strategies,” said Kevin Dehoff, president and CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise. “We are proud to also introduce several enhancements to our current software solutions across the aerospace, smart buildings and industrial sectors, enabling enterprises to optimize asset performance and drive operational savings.”

Honeywell Forge Connected Warehouse provides organizations with two modules that provide real-time visibility across their warehouse site operations and advanced analytics to reduce unplanned downtime, address recurring challenges and automate legacy processes. The Site Operations module features a dashboard that indicates how sites are performing against plan and helps managers identify repetitive bottlenecks and proactively address issues that may impact performance. The interface, which is optimized for tablets, enables enterprise benchmarking, monitors areas such as picking and shipping and makes recommendations to achieve daily targets. Users can use the Honeywell Forge Connect edge solution to connect devices and integrate with standard warehouse systems.

Honeywell is launching enhancements to other software across the aerospace, smart buildings and industrial sectors.

• The all-new Honeywell Forge Pilot Connect mobile app is our latest aerospace offering, designed to improve fuel savings while engaging flight crews in their companies’ sustainability and efficiency initiatives. The easy-to-use app works with Honeywell Forge Flight Efficiency to provide pilots with briefing information like historic fuel averages, debriefing information like trajectory analytics, and customizable KPIs and targets.

• For the commercial real estate industry, Honeywell Forge Predictive Maintenance provides near real-time visibility into buildings’ health & performance, and service cases in order to prioritize asset issues based on safety, operational and quality risks.

• Additionally, Sine occupant experience solutions provide frictionless access to buildings via mobile Bluetooth. Other improvements include new scheduling and capacity planning features along with occupant experience enhancements such as better feedback, information and wayfinding.

• UniSim Design now provides a common simulation platform for upstream oil and gas, downstream processing and sustainability. It contains new features for modeling Green H2, CO2 capture, transportation and storage. 

• Honeywell Forge Inspection Rounds offers new features for industrials customers that allow the capture of images and videos during task execution and the creation of reusable checklists to drive standardization across an organization. Other additions include GPS-enabled monitoring of worker proximity, enhanced capabilities for gaining insights from historical data trends and improved asset identification through NFC tagging.

• For OT Cybersecurity, Honeywell is rolling out a new Cyber Care services offering to supplement its Process Control Network (PCN) Hardening Service. After completion of the initial PCN hardening services to help industrial companies reduce their OT attack vectors, Cyber Care provides an option to purchase bi-annual onsite Cyber Care visits by Honeywell consultants for maintaining previously implemented networking hardening benefits and identifying potential additional PCN hardening settings for enhanced protection.

Honeywell Forge is a purpose-built software solution on a native edge-to-cloud, data-driven architecture designed to accelerate digital transformation of operations. Explore the Spring Release, learn more about Honeywell Forge, request a demo and follow Honeywell Forge on LinkedIn for the latest news.