Honeywell User Group Recap–Many New Technologies, Applications

Honeywell Process Solutions held its annual HUG (Honeywell User Group) conference the week of June 19 in Orlando. I’ve taken some time to compile my many notes and think about the experience.

The marketing communications staff did an excellent job with media and analysts. We did not have time to waste what with presentations and 1:1 conversations.

I had not attended for a few years. For maybe three years I was in the influencer program with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HPE Discover is the same week. That program was disbanded a year or so ago. That marked the end of my IT affiliations. Those companies figured out there was not a lot of money to be made in manufacturing.

There were many questions begging for answers as I traveled to Florida. What was Honeywell HIVE, and how does it relate to the ExxonMobil initiated Open Process Automation group? What is Honeywell Digital Prime and what customer problems does it address? What successes have Honeywell achieved with sustainability initiatives? Honeywell was an early mobility developer. What has progressed in that regard? What role does Honeywell see for AR and VR?

Pramesh Makeshwari, CEO

He mentioned he’d been CEO of this group for only about nine months. Here are a few points of overview.

  • Honeywell is not replacing people with technology but helping them perform better
  • People have different learning styles and Honeywell products adapt to them
  • Digitalization is a significant customer requirement
  • Companies are on the Path to Net Zero Carbon
  • Focus on Digital Workforce Competency

Evan Van Hook, Chief Sustainability Officer

He looks at sustainability as similar to the Quality Revolution where the goal was to produce quality outputs consistently creating a culture of quality. His question, “Can we create culture of sustainability?” Honeywell is taking a Lean approach—quality, delivery, inventory, cost, then add sustainability.

Lean is a systematic approach. The company overall has generated more than 6,500 projects over 13 years with ideas coming from the floor and everywhere else. Not a political statement, sustainability cuts costs and adds efficiency. A few milestone points:

  • 92% reduction of CO2
  • 70% improvement in energy efficiency
  • Restored 3,000 acres of land
  • Water savings
  • 4x industry average safety

Act your way into a new way of thinking—Lean—put sustainability into Lean

Tiffany Barnes – Digital Prime

I perhaps had the most difficulty understanding Digital Prime. This is the Honeywell offering responding to the customer need for digital transformation. So, the conversation with Tiffany Barnes from that group was most instructive. Part of my cognitive dissonance perhaps came from this being a new offering only having one part released.

Digital Prime is most easily described as cloud-hosted digital twin of DCS. Some of the customer pressures Digital Prime addresses include:

  • Risk of disruption, production downtime and plant safety
  • Pressure to reduce overall lifecycle cost
  • Do more with less through digitalization
  • Data overload
  • Reduced skilled workforce onsite

It is perhaps an irony that Honeywell build a virtual infrastructure to help with system acceptance then deleting it upon that acceptance. Customers began looking at digital transformation programs and realized that all this data Honeywell had was useful. This grew to a digital twin.

Honeywell’s Digital Prime is the up-to-date digital twin for tracking, managing, and testing process control changes and system modifications. It brings the highest level of quality control to the smallest projects: An efficient, compliant, and collaborative solution for managing changes, factory acceptance tests, improved project execution and training.

Providing secure cloud-based connectivity and a virtual engineering platform, it’s a collaborative environment for managing and testing additions, patches, upgrades and other system changes:

  • Enabling functional reviews and impact analysis
  • Supporting remote FAT tests 
  • Providing a training tool
  • Documenting digital changes.

Joe Bastone — HIVE

Veteran editors and analysts were most curious about any Honeywell response to the initiatives undertaken by The Open Group to solve problems of economically and efficiently upgrading control systems.

This led to my intense interest in Honeywell HIVE and a subsequent conversation with Joe Bastone.

The problem lies with traditionally tightly coupled control hardware, software, and I/O.

Honeywell mostly solved the I/O problem years ago with its configurable I/O. That part of the control system continues to evolve.

The company then worked with a major customer about how to upgrade control software with minimal disruption. First, they worked out how to move the existing control software to a modern hardware platform leaving all the I/O in place. They realized that was in reality a form of virtualization. Moving to a virtualized compute environment effectively decoupling hardware and software was the obvious next step. Their I/O was already virtualized and decoupled. 

So, Honeywell HIVE solves that upgrade problem that customers are searching for.

Thanks to Joe for walking me through the technology evolution.

Sarang Gadre — Battery Technology

The well documented issue with intermittent renewables (solar, wind) results from the laws of climate—the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine. Honeywell has had a commercial battery storage product for a while. It is housed in shipping containers. Introduced to us at HUG is the Ionic—a scalable, forklift-able, virtual power plant,  with an energy control center in Experion. It is battery agnostic—you specify and buy your batteries of choice. The unit also features peak load shaving.

Naved Reza—Carbon Capture

I always enjoy conversations with Naved regarding sustainable technology solutions.

First up was reference to the ExxonMobil Baytown deployment of one of Honeywell’s carbon capture technologies – Honeywell’s CO2 Fractionation and Hydrogen Purification System. This technology is expected to enable ExxonMobil to capture about 7 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, the equivalent of the emission of 1.5 million of automobiles for one year.

Then we discussed Honeywell Ecofining—Renewable Fuel projects such as Diesel/Aircraft from biofuels. Also Ethanol to Jet and Methanol to Jet.

Aside from Baytown, there are a number of Carbon Capture (CO2) to blue hydrogen, renewable green, low carbon processing.

Manas Dutta — SafetyWatch Mobility

Performing maintenance on a pump involves an average of 3.5 round trips for the technician. Using augmented reality (AR) platforms can save many hour by providing the right documentation and required tools up front.

I made this trip closely following both the Apple Vision Pro announcement along with all the AI chat hype. So I had to ask Manas for his take from the industrial viewpoint.

“AR/VR are excellent for training especially as individualized based on AI feedback. AR/VR can also be useful for construction. When planning turnarounds, I can answer questions such as can I get a crane in, do I need scaffolding, without a visit remote site.”

KPMG and Context Labs Partner for Carbon Metrics

What’s the old saying, “You can’t control what you can’t measure”? Here is news about a partnership to better measure environmental footprint.

KPMG LLP and Context Labs today announced an alliance to help companies better measure, quantify, and reduce their environmental footprints using distributed ledger technology and advanced climate data and analytics, enabled with machine learning and AI. The alliance will provide strategic support to companies working to reduce environmental impact, analyze their efforts to decarbonize, and provide transparent and traceable data, as investors, regulators, and other stakeholders increasingly demand ESG disclosures.

The alliance combines Context Labs’ technology with KPMG’s environmental monitoring, analytics and reporting for customers across market sectors. The collaboration between Context Labs and KPMG U.S. is already demonstrating results with Williams, an energy company handling 30% of the natural gas in the United States.

Williams is leveraging Context Labs’ Decarbonization-as-a-Service platform to track and measure emissions across the full energy value chain, executing the energy industry’s first end-to-end methane intensity certification, supported by KPMG. The platform provides transparent data and insights on the carbon intensity and climate performance attributes for energy sector customers.

Rockwell Automation and The Water Council Unite to Promote Water Stewardship

Catching up on some older news. Water is an essential resource with growing scarcity in many areas of the world. Several years ago, political scientists were predicting wars occurring over water rights. Any work by automation companies to help the situation are welcome.

This news is from Rockwell Automation announcing a “novel” partnership with The Water Council to promote corporate water stewardship globally.

“As global organizations with headquarters blocks away from Lake Michigan, The Water Council and Rockwell Automation understand the vital importance of protecting the world’s freshwater resources,” said Dean Amhaus, TWC president and CEO. “We are proud to partner with a fellow Milwaukee organization to help companies improve their water stewardship.”

TWC, a nonprofit solving global water challenges through innovation and water stewardship, and Rockwell Automation, a global automation company dedicated to making the world more productive and sustainable, will coalesce each other’s strengths to promote stewardship services and technological solutions to businesses across their networks. This will be accomplished through WAVE, TWC’s corporate water stewardship program, and Rockwell’s water-related sustainability products and services.

“Through our global reach and joint commitment to enabling sustainability, we are delighted to take our partnership public with The Water Council,” said Tom O’Reilly, global vice president, sustainability, at Rockwell Automation. “With The Water Council’s WAVE program and Rockwell Automation solutions, we are dedicated to driving impact within organizations to improve their water stewardship through consultation, data driven insights, and digital transformation solutions.

The partnership will include informational webinars on the importance of water use and risk assessment for businesses, incorporation of Rockwell’s sustainability offerings as a solution for TWC water stewardship clients, and identification of Rockwell clients to adopt WAVE.

Introduced in 2022, WAVE is the first independently verified program that helps companies combine enterprise-wide water stewardship goals and policy with meaningful site-level action and credible ESG (environmental, social and governance) reporting.

“With a rapid and extensive escalation of water challenges across the world that threatens business continuity, companies are rightfully facing increasing expectations from investors and customers to be responsible water stewards. This partnership between TWC and Rockwell will help them do so,” Amhaus said.

Thoughts on Electricity Generation Tech

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I’m installing solar panels to generate electricity to charge my new Ioniq 6 electric vehicle. Conservation efforts of various kinds have long occupied part of my volunteer efforts. So, going electrical when circumstances convinced me it was time for a new car, it was a no-brainer to go for electric.

Not all electricity is clean energy. Some is generated by coal—decidedly not a clean energy source. Some is generated by oil or gas. Hydro-generation is much better. Wind and solar are clean (mostly), but each has drawbacks.

As much as many carbon activists are suspicious of nuclear fuel, that is a viable clean energy option. And it’s a great potential employer of process automation professionals.

These thoughts from Bill Gates just came my way:

I’ve long believed that if we want to fight climate change, we have to bet big on nuclear. No other source of clean energy is as reliable, and no other source of reliable energy is as clean. That’s why I’m in Kemmerer, Wyoming today: to celebrate a new type of nuclear power plant that’s going to be built here—one that’ll be much safer and produce much less waste than conventional reactors.

I’m also here to celebrate Kemmerer. The coal plant at the heart of this town of 2,700 will be retiring soon, and the 100+ people it employs would lose their jobs if it weren’t for this new nuclear facility. Kemmerer and Wyoming are focused on the future and welcoming nuclear—and the employment opportunities it’ll bring—in.

Years from now, when books are written about how we fought back against climate change, I have a feeling Kemmerer will be central to the story. Until then, you can read about the town, its people, and the creation of a new type of nuclear plant on my blog.

I love to see technologies evolve things for the betterment of society (all of us). People have a drive to see the worst in every technology that comes along. But, so much technology has provided so much benefit. No matter what surveys promote, we are living better than people did 100 years ago. I think we would like to continue to find ways to live better. Think on this.

ABB Technology To Tackle Methane Leakages From Orphan Oil and Gas Wells

Often by the time a tech or business story hits mainstream media or politics the situation is on the downward slope of the sine wave. There was a story in The New York Times today about pollution and emissions from petrochemical plants. Surely that has been a big problem. But companies have been tackling the problem for a while, now. Here is a story from ABB which has developed technology applications to find methane leakages so that they may be repaired.

  • ABB’s proven emissions monitoring technology now extends to tackling the massive environmental problem of millions of leaking orphan oil and gas wells
  • ABB’s OA-ICOS laser-based technology has a track record of providing trustworthy measurements of greenhouse gases that are recognized by global industry bodies, research centers and environmental protection agencies
  • By supporting the work on plugging decomissioned wells in the United States, the technology helps in the fight against climate change
  • ABB’s emissions monitoring technology which is typically used for gas leak detection by oil and gas companies and natural gas utilities is now employed to identify and monitor orphan wells in the United States. 

With the help of ABB technology, organizations such as The Well Done Foundation, the nonprofit organization that works to plug orphan oil and gas wells in the country, can detect leaking wells and, once the wells are capped, continue to monitor the sites to ensure they no longer emit harmful greenhouse gases.

Orphan wells are oil or gas wells that have been deactivated and no longer have legal owners responsible for their care. Due to their age and deteriorated condition, the wells can leak methane and other harmful greenhouse gases through their “plugs”.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that methane emissions from over 2 million inactive, unplugged wells, of which orphan wells are a subset, range from a CO2 equivalent of 7 to 20 million metric tons per year (approximately the emissions of 2 to 5 million cars). Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere, according to the Environment Defense Fund.

Many wells are situated on farmland, and could contaminate land, air and water, potentially harming ecosystems, wildlife, livestock, and people.

In some parts of the United States where towns are growing, housing has been built where oil and gas wells once stood. The Environment Defense Fund estimates that 14 million Americans live within a mile of an orphan well.

“It is extremely rewarding to see our technologies employed in the endeavor of fixing such a pressing environmental problem. We remain focused on accelerating the pace of environmental programs that reduce emissions, especially in the oil and gas industry. Our work on this initiative is a great example of how technology can benefit the environment and help countries achieve their sustainability goals,” says Jacques Mulbert, Division President, ABB Measurement & Analytics.

What can be measured can be improved

Together with channel partner Winn-Marion, ABB worked to create a comprehensive approach that enables the identification, on-site qualification, and monitoring of orphan wells. At the heart of the solution are ABB’s gas leak detection products as well as a suite of flow computers, both used in tens of thousands of industrial plants worldwide to measure and report on emissions.

Initially, ABB’s gas leak detection system is used to find the orphan wells. Depending on their location, the high sensitivity analyzers using OA-ICOS technology are transported by vehicle (using ABB Ability™ MobileGuard), drone (HoverGuard), or backpack (MicroGuard) to the site. The system can detect methane emissions down to 1 part per billion (ppb).

Once on-site, it measures methane concentration and flow with a measuring range as low as 180kg/h. The flow from the thermal mass is logged and visualized on ABB’s gas flow computers, the control devices known in the industry for their extreme accuracy and reliability. In the post-plugging phase, methane emissions continue to be monitored.

A key advantage of ABB’s emissions monitoring technology is that it is fully audited by the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the Federal government’s onshore oil and gas program in the United States.

Sustainability Developments From Honeywell Process Solutions and Honeywell UOP 

I’ve had several opportunities to talk with Honeywell about its many sustainability initiatives. Recently, Ravikrishnan Srinivasan, VP GM, Emissions Reduction Leader for Industrials and Mohammad Hoda, Director, Carbon Neutrality, met with me at the ARC Forum in Orlando. They covered many areas in our brief time. I’ve combined notes from several meetings into a series of bullets. 

Check out this website for more details about Honeywell SustainabilityThis link will take you to Honeywell’s Sustainability Index. And this link takes you to information about Honeywell solutions for emissions and other situations. 

While you are at it, click the link to Carbon Almanac on the right side of my page. This was a global collaborative effort instigated by Seth Godin. This book contains a wealth of practical actions you can take to help reduce our carbon footprint.

  • Emissions monitoring—methane, wide-area camera monitoring
  • Emissions monitoring—new small sensor on a pipe or assets
  • Energy efficiency
  • Carbon capture technology
  • Green hydrogen production
  • Sustainable aviation fuel
  • “Flow” battery storage system

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