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2022 industrial sustainability mini-series: Sustainability spectrum

Feb. 10, 2022
Going green today means getting a helping hand from all the usual process control and automation suspects

Sustainability isn't new, but as everyone gets more familiar with it, it turns out there's a wide range of ways to measure, manage and benefit from it. The most basic, narrowly defined types begin with simply making motors and other equipment more efficient. However, since optimization and the do-more-with-less ethos have been around forever, can they really be considered as sustainability? Maybe it's just a label that efficiency likes to wear sometimes.

Plus, if sustainability goes beyond efficiency, how should it be defined and how wide a radius of activities should it include? Reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions seems obvious, and should no doubt include other forms of decarbonized operations, using alternative but variable energy sources, and producing greener products. But can these efforts and requirements extend to raw materials and other suppliers, parallel manufacturing partners, and even customers? Ironically, driven by consumers and customers, many process industry owner-operators are already demanding greener products that are produced sustainably and with minimal and/or renewable and alternative energy sources.

Fortunately, balancing multiple data types and optimizing often fluctuating variables is right in the sweet spot of process control's jurisdiction, and many of its sensors, instruments and analyzers can enable sustainability in the same ways they optimize production.

Where we're at, where we've been

Pat Miller, board chairman at Engineered Energy Solutions, a 40-year-old system integrator in New Jersey, and founding chairman of the Control System Integrators Association, explains how to measure, monitor and save energy in industrial facilities. Read more.

Better with biofuels

Here's how Repsol's new biofuels plant in Spain plans to implement Honeywell's ICSS, ESD, F&G, DCSs and HMIs to produce 250,000 tons of biofuels and reduce overall CO2 emissions by 900,000 tons per year. Read more.

Sensors, analyzers lend a hand

U.K.-based HyDeploy Project is demonstrating safe distribution and use of hydrogen blends in a live gas network in England's midlands. Here's how it ensures on-spec blending into the network with accurate compositional data and reliably tracks and validates its blend rate. Read more.

Communicate to coordinate edge to cloud

System integrator KEI explains how it implements wireless to coordinate solar farm components, and enable the shift to sustainability. Read more.

Low-hanging (green) fruit

There's a dizzying array of  sustainability types, methods and strategies, but most users can get greener using existing skills, infrastructure and equipment that's already in place. Here are six of the most self-evident. Read more.

Power to the tomatoes!

Here's how greenhouse operator NWT adopted low-voltage gear from ABB to maintain optimum, pesticide-free growing conditions at Bezdinek Farms' 11-hecare commercial greenhouse in the Czech Republic. Read more.

Guides to going sustainable

There are many common sustainability guidelines that apply to all potential participants. Here's a list of them. Read more.

The business of sustainability in steelmaking

How ArcelorMittal and Schneider Electric collaborated on a medium-voltage upgrade that reduces downtime and cuts CO2 emissions. Read more.

 Software agents and data let Sardinian refinery go green

AspenTech shares how its Mtell software helps Italy-based Saras' 300,000-bpd Sarroch oil refinery and 575-megawatt, integrated gasification combined cycle plant gather sensor data and predict failures. Read more.

About the author: Jim Montague
About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control.