Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology Centre

Gas Supply

On demand Gas Production

Producing industrial gas in an energy and financially efficient way, while fulfilling the customer’s demand.

BOC is the largest specialist gas providers in the UK and a member of The Linde Group, a world leading gases and engineering company. To be able to deliver on demand gas, suppliers are running tonnage sites, allowing round-the-clock supply of oxygen, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen and air by pipeline to major industrial complexes like steelworks. The challenge is to run these sites energy and financially efficient while fulfilling the customer’s demand.

Richard Adamson worked with BOCs to develop a control system for one of their largest tonnage sites. This site, as many others, contains several air separation units (ASU) and grew organically with the changing demand of the customers. This and the fact that scheduling and control are commonly dealt with separately causing a lack of communication between the units made the running of the site suboptimal. Richard developed a system to optimise the production across the entire tonnage site in accordance with the customer demand subject to process disturbances, power price fluctuations, machine availability and against network change penalty weightings. Since gas suppliers belong to the top ten energy consumers in the UK hence much focus was spend on the potential of the site to use renewable and cheap energy. The new system is easy to use, intuitive and integrated with existing control systems. This releases the process operators for other tasks. The control programme has the ability to show the estimated financial benefit and to determine the annual benefit of optimisation directly.

Richard’s work led to 3 scientific papers and 2 conference papers in renowned journals. He presented his work at several conferences to an expert audience. As part of his EngD he supervised 2 Newcastle University master projects. Richard now works as Remote Operation Centre Shift Manager using the control system on a daily basis.

Case study: gas supply large