On May 16, the Department of Energy recognized Celanese Corporation for its goal achievement in the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge for the second time. After meeting its first energy-efficiency target in 2013, Celanese followed up with a new target and met that goal this year, reducing energy intensity within U.S. plants by an additional 21 percent.
Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Celanese’s highly-diversified product portfolio serves a broad range of end-use applications including paints and coatings, textiles, automotive applications, consumer and medical applications, performance industrial applications, filter media, paper and packaging, chemical additives, construction, consumer and industrial adhesives and food and beverage applications.
One of the methods Celanese used to drive energy efficiency and energy cost reduction in its plants is to engage more people within the organization in energy reduction. In the manufacturing plants energy efficiency had historically been a management or engineering responsibility. Yet real time control of energy is in the hands of process operators who have hands-on responsibility for day to day plant operations. However, energy consumption in many processes was not being optimized by the operators. We discovered that if process equipment operators had access to real-time information on energy consumption as well as dynamic energy targets for the key energy-consuming applications, they could be in optimizing energy use in their plants.
As a result, we developed “Energy Dashboards” to enhance the Human-Machine Interface (HMI). This provides operations personnel access to real-time energy consumption data as well as dynamic energy target information. This gives operators increased knowledge and tools enabling them to make better real-time decisions to optimize and improve energy efficiency.
The energy dashboards allow for increased focus on energy efficiency to the unit and operator level by giving operators better information to make informed decisions on improving energy efficiency. The dashboards are not intended to make energy a priority over safety and process safety, quality or productivity or promote constant “tweaking” of the processes.
The implementation of dashboards has been extremely successful. In the first plant where dashboards were fully implemented, an annual energy cost savings of over $300,000 was realized just by operators having real-time energy information and making process adjustments to improve energy efficiency.
Also by using the statistical modeling and regression capabilities in the energy dashboards this plant has also identified more than $1.5 million in other energy costs saving opportunities. Many of the energy efficiency opportunities involve adjustments to process controls or to standard operating procedures and require little or no capital.
Along with many other energy reduction projects and major capital investments in low energy intensive processes and new boiler technology, Celanese’s energy dashboards have played a significant role in meeting the company’s 2013 Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge goal. The company continues to replicate that successful energy dashboard model in seven additional plants, which contributed to Celanese’s 2017 goal achievement.