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Refinery Digitalization & Internet of Things (IOT)

Since the beginning of 2020, global refiners have faced poor profitability caused by demand destruction due to coronavirus pandemic. In the post-COVID-19 era, the challenges are even more daunting because of energy transition and decarbonization requirements: projected fuel demand peak, expanding use of alternative transportation fuels, shift to biofuel and petrochemical productions, and increasingly stringent plant emission mandates.

In order to maintain margins, stay competitive, and sustain operations, the refining industry is turning to the latest multi-media, computer-networking technology, namely, Internet of Things (IoT).

In addition, IoT is employed to improve plant productivity and efficiency, and improve operation safety and reliability. According to Honeywell Process Solutions, IoT implementation can provide several quantifiable benefits: 10% increases in both asset utilization and operating efficiency, 10% lower costs due to higher yields and lower consumption of energy and raw materials, a reduction in maintenance costs that can reach 10% through proactive strategies, improved safety through risk minimization, and less stoppage time for safety system verification.

How it will benefit you

To enable refiners to have a complete picture of the latest technologies, the study covers four key components of IoT: digitalization, IoT platforms and ecosystems, asset performance management, and cybersecurity solutions.

  1. Digitalization is achieved by taking advantage of sensors, actuators, transmitters, wearables, drones and robots. This section also includes three separate urgent topics: (a) data collection and management, (b) artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, and (c) digital twins.
  2. IIoT Platforms & Ecosystems allow cooperation by developers and users to customize technologies that leverage the IIoT in enhancing the benefits of connected data-collection devices, data-analytics hardware and software, and applications, services and solutions.
  3. Asset Performance Management aided by IIoT provides owner-operators with increasing revenues resulting from improved asset reliability and higher productivity. Incorporation of IIoT, analytics, and other prescriptive and predictive technologies enables refiners to achieve a higher level of performance.
  4. Cybersecurity Solutions reviews the latest technologies to protect refiners from the increasing threat of hacking into data devices, connected networks, and personnel data that would compromise normal production, operational safety and environmental regulation compliance.

Finally, the study presents case studies of refinery implementation to help refiners familiarize with the technologies including improved performance of a sulfur recovery unit, optimization of energy consumption of a crude and vacuum distillation unit, prediction of the effects of crude sulfur levels on its hydrotreating units, and yield increase of a delayed coker.

What does it include

The current study, completed in 1Q2020, begins by surveying the latest IoT technology trends and applications in refineries. Recent innovations include Aspen Technology (Aspen Connect family of solutions including Aspen Edge Connect and Aspen Cloud Connect); Bentley Systems and Siemens (PlantSight digital twin technology); BHC3.ai (BHC3 Reliability software); Emerson Electric (Plantweb Insight scalable suite of asset monitoring applications); Honeywell Process Solutions (SmartLine Wireless Pressure Transmitter for monitoring and control applications; its VeriShield Smart Hearing Solution; Uniformance Process History Database (PHD)); Koch Engineered Solutions (OnPoint digital solutions including CORTEX advanced analytics, Energy Manager Platforms, the smart combustion solution EMBER and Koch-Glitsch's TowerView mass transfer solution); Metso (Expertune PlantTriage software); Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (EX ROVR explosion-proof robot); OilX and The Signal Group (OilX platform); Pepperl+Fuchs (IIoT ultrasonic wireless sensor, sonic.level); Software AG (TrendMiner, self-service industrial analytics software); Yokogawa Electric (ExRobotics ExR-1 inspection robot); and more. In addition, the latest asset performance management solutions offered by ABB, Aspen Technology, AVEVA, GE Digital, and Honeywell Process Solutions are reviewed.

Publication details

Publication frequency

Single publication

Publication format

Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file


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