Process Efficiency Measurements

For many industrial processes, the drive towards increasing efficiency will preoccupy many Operators – the goals maybe be considered from different stakeholders in the process and can vary from the drive towards Net Zero, fuel cost savings through improved combustion efficiency, improved product yield or reduced losses.

Process gas measurements can form the basis of the Operator decision making strategy, so high quality gas analysis, often within high temperature or aggressive process conditions, is of vital importance.  A variety of process parameters can be measured, continuously or discontinuously, in order for process Operators to build up a profile of, and make adjustments to, an active process

(a) Combustion Efficiency

Typically CO, CO2 and O2 measurements – or a combination – allow operators to search for the sweet spot of best achievable combustion conditions.

The starting point is often deployment of In-situ ZrO2 oxygen probes – these are the traditional, robust tools measuring directly in combustion process providing rapid measurements to be used in manual and automated combustion control.

Being able to measure CO and O2 together allows a further degree of fine tuning for maximum fuel and cost savings. CO, O2 and calculated CO2 and efficiency calculations can be provided in a single extractive compact CEMS

Measuring as close to the combustion source as possible improves the speed of response, but can mean mounting in ever increasingly aggressive conditions.  In-situ or extractive TDLAS analysers

(b) Abatement/Scrubber Plant Efficiency

As the world’s stakeholders demand cleaner businesses, the purpose, efficiency and visibility of “clean-up” processes becomes ever more important.  Whether the process is De-SOx, De-NOx, HCl and HF abatement, VOC reduction, or particulates filtration there is a cost to running and maintaining the responsible asset. Measurement allows scrubbing efficiency to be validated, optimised and automated.

Key measurements include Dust/particulates, HCl, HF, SO2, SO3, NO, NO2, N2O and NH3

(c) Steel – Reheat Furnace

Analyzers can be applied in several different processes in a steel plant. Most common applications are Blast Furnace Gas (O2), Furnace control of various types of furnaces such as hot rolling mill, cold mill, reheating furnace etc. (CO, O2). Moreover, monitoring of C.O.G (Coke Oven Gas) and custody measurements are possible (CH4, C2H4, H2, N2, CO, CO2).  Reheat furnaces used for rolling and heat treatment consume vast amounts of energy, so even small %age savings derived from improved combustion efficiency translate into large sums of money for operators.

(d) Hydrogen Production

The hydrogen economy is coming! The British Energy Security Strategy has the growth of hydrogen as one of the cornerstones for development.  What does this mean for gas analysis measurements for improved efficiency and how measurement an help the drive to Net Zero? At the moment we are quite dependent on grey hydrogen, and we are concerned with monitoring impurities from PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) processes like CO, CO2 and CH4. Electrolysers are being scaled up and competitively produced and need direct H2 and O2 measurements. As hydrogen gets mixed with other fuels, then blending applications may need H2, H2O, O2, C2H4, CH4 and even HCO2H.

(e) Asset Protection – Acid Dewpoint Monitoring

Sulphur, microcontaminants like vanadium and fuel additive mixtures can all influence the rate at which acids are formed in process gas and deposited on asset surfaces like air pre-heaters or heat exchangers.  Oxidation of Sulphur bearing components can lead to formation of SO2 and ultimately SO3, which when mixed with H2O can lead to sulphuric acid formation.  Indirect measurements of the acid potential can be made using portable acid dewpoint monitors, and now direct measurements of SO3 can be made to help operators monitor dynamically and assist in prevention of corrosion of costly plant assets.