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Optimisation of Fuel Usage and Steam Availability in the Power and Steam Plant of a Paper Mill.

By Paul Austin, Matthew Mcewan, John Godsal, John Tyler, Keckwick Lane and Runcorn Wa Fs


This paper presents the results of a project aimed at minimising fuel usage while maximising steam availability in the power and steam plant of a large newsprint mill. The approach taken was to utilise the better regulation and plant wide optimisation capabilities of Advanced Process Control especially Model Predictive Control (MPC) techniques. These have recently made their appearance in the pulp and paper industry but are better known in the oil and petrochemical industry where they have been used for nearly 30 years. The issue in the power and steam plant is to ensure that sufficient steam is available when the paper machines require it and yet not to have to waste too much steam when one or more of the machines suffers an outage. This is a problem for which MPC is well suited. It allows variables to be kept within declared constraint ranges, a feature which has been used, effectively, to increase the steam storage capacity of the existing plant. This has resulted in less steam being condensed when it is not required and in significant reductions in the need for supplementary firing. The incidence of steam being dump-condensed while also supplementary firing the CHP plant has been reduced by 95 % and the overall use of supplementary firing is less than 30 % of what it was. In addition the plant runs more smoothly and requires less operator time. The yearly benefit provided by the control system is greater than £200,000, measured in terms of 2005 gas prices. 1

Topics: Model Predictive Control, Improved Efficiency, Optimisation, Power and Steam Supply System
Year: 2012
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