It’s easy to think of wastewater as the forgotten kid of industrial and municipal applications. The lower budgets and constrained personnel power often means wastewater is the last to take advantage of new technologies and solutions. And sometimes this can be a costly mistake as an installation at an Indonesian Liquid Natural Gas plant shows.
This LNG plant, the largest in Kalimantan, Indonesia, has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ensure its wastewater quality meets environmental regulatory requirements before they discharge effluent into the sea – a demand shared by most industrial enterprises. This plant has been granted a gold rating in the Indonesian government PROPER* program and, in order to maintain its gold status, the company must continually strive to utilize innovative methods that ensure environmental compliance and sustainability. However, its wastewater treatment pond is located remotely, about 1 kilometer (km) from the LNG plant. Due to physical constraints and economic considerations, it had not been possible to implement online effluent pH measurement. The monitoring and reporting of process wastewater was done manually via a third-party Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) engineer. This method requires the HSE engineer to commute to the wastewater pond at least two to three times daily, collecting effluent grab samples and reporting data back to the local environmental agency.
From both the efficiency and compliance points of view, this method was unsatisfactory. The manual pH recording method is extremely time-consuming and accuracy of sample data can be unreliable. The risk of poor quality effluent being discharged between manual recording intervals is also a serious concern. Sample recordings can be missed when the HSE engineer is unable to go onsite due to safety issues such as severe weather conditions. Any uncaptured data poses a risk of violating regulatory statutes, resulting in penalties or operation suspension. Many municipal and industrial wastewater installations find themselves with this kind of challenge.
To solve the problem, this LNG plant implemented wireless – a technology some wastewater installations assume is out of their reach. The plant used the Rosemount™ 56 Dual Channel Transmitter with the Emerson Wireless 775 THUM™ Adapter and gained access to real-time online effluent pH monitoring. Previously, manual sample recordings took one to one-and-a-half hours to complete, and this was carried out two to three times per day, year-round. Replacing the manual method with a wireless solution saved approximately 1,000 hours of labor and travel time to the site. Yes, 1,000 hours! The return on investment was huge and immediate.
The remote diagnostic features of the wireless Rosemount 56 Liquid Analyzer enable maintenance engineers to quickly and easily identify and determine the cause of an issue, such as poor wastewater quality or a device malfunction. The data logger function provides data redundancy, mitigating the risk of losing data in the event of a power failure, and offers data recording for environmental audit reporting. Maintenance engineers can also download the process data and event logger from the analyzer to a memory stick for further analysis. Due to the success of this wireless solution, the plant plans to expand the monitoring scope to include turbidity and dissolved oxygen (DO) monitoring.
This example shows that few industrial applications can ignore the potential benefits of wireless technology. Wireless makes possible levels of automation unthinkable only a short time ago. Where are you using wireless in your installations?
Hi. I’m Marc Mason, business development manager, and I’m happy to be your analytic expert today. You know the old saying, “You have to spend money to make money”? Well, in the water industry we’re finding that many water plants have to spend money to save money. Recently, Tom Johnson, water industry business development manager at Emerson, wrote an article for Water & Wastes Digest that talks about advanced technologies like radar leveling, reagent-free liquid analysis, ultrasonic control, wireless measurement devices, advanced predictive diagnostics, and SCADA control systems, and how case histories are showing the cost savings that water treatment plants can garner from investing in emerging advanced analytical, diagnostics and measurement technologies, as well as the control systems that manage those technologies. The case history described in the article demonstrates this premise pretty clearly –
Taylorsville-Bennion Improvement District serves 70,000 people in approximately 14 square miles in the center of the Salt Lake Valley, Utah. The district has approximately 16,700 connections and 229 miles of water lines. For many years, it tried to keep its old chlorine and fluoride sensors and analyzers running by constantly rebuilding, recalibrating and replacing parts. While this seemed like the cost-effective thing to do, it was proving too much for the district’s small staff – a situation familiar to many managers. The units were laborious to rebuild and required replacement of two to three probes per year; plus, they used expensive membranes that were difficult to replace and often broke during installation. The district estimates that the cost to operate the old sensors and analyzers was approximately $9,000 per year at its three locations. The units required daily attention and annual rebuilds, adding labor costs to the equation.
When the district decided to replace the old sensors and analyzers with the latest technology, its situation changed drastically. The new systems were built to last three years, versus one year, and were known to be effective as long as 15 years. The new technologies were reagent-free, reducing costs and maintenance, and needed far less frequent calibration. Bottom line: the district now replaces the membranes and electrolyte of the chlorine systems for $150 per year, compared to more than $6,000 in maintenance costs for the old systems. While the new equipment was costlier to purchase, the dramatically lower cost of ownership is rapidly offsetting that differential – a situation that can apply to many technologies.
There are many other examples of cost savings quoted in the article. Click HERE to read it.
How about you? Have you invested in what seemed a costly technology, only to discover it saved money? We’d love to hear your story.
By Piyawan Canyouk
A chemical processing plant in Thailand faced challenges in meeting stringent environmental regulations due to infrastructure limitations in its pH monitoring system.
The chemical processing plant was using grab samples for pH measurement because the distance between pH monitoring points made it difficult to install online analyzers since it would require laying cables across a broad distance, and in some cases, even digging underground or placing it in cable conduits in high locations. However, the use of grab samples for pH analysis did not provide real-time measurement, so the plant risked being out of compliance with government regulations.
The plant would send pre-treated wastewater to the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) in a batch volume to confirm the pH values met governmental regulations for compliance. However, there is a possibility for the sample collected to be nonhomogenous, as sometimes the incoming wastewater that enters the basin is not really mixed well with the existing water in the basin. This nonhomogenous sample will taint the analysis and render it inaccurate.
Also, while the sample is being analyzed in the lab, the wastewater in the plant is continuing to enter the basin. This wastewater flowing into the basin could change the pH of the wastewater. The plant operator, not realizing this change of pH, could then discharge the wastewater based on the initial grab sample result.
As a consequence, the manufacturer was in danger of facing government penalties and fines for having pH values outside of the acceptable range for compliance. In fact, the government fine could be as much as five times the standard treatment cost charged by the IEAT. The plant needed to implement on-line, continuous pH measurement to improve monitoring, prevent discharging water downstream that did not meet regulatory requirements, and ensure government compliance to avoid expensive fines, but running cables to install on-line analyzers was cost-prohibitive and complex. To overcome these issues, the plant needed to install a wireless on-line pH analysis solution.
The chemical manufacturer approached Emerson Process Management, Rosemount Analytical to install wireless on-line pH monitoring for the water outlet to the IEAT to replace batch sampling with continuous measurement. The plant selected the 6081pH transmitter, pH sensor panels, and Smart wireless THUM™ adapters as a complete solution for wireless, on-line pH measurement in the water outlet. The wireless implementation did not require any new cabling or power system set-up, avoiding extensive construction, digging underground, and complex placement in high locations. The new system helps ensure regulatory compliance, reduces lab analysis requirements, and provides real-time, continuous monitoring for better pH control and reporting. If the pH in the water outlet registers too high, the plant can immediately stop the process and make adjustments to address any issues in real-time, helping ensure compliance, avoid government penalties, and protect the environment. In fact, the wireless solution was so cost-effective that the chemical processing plant saved more than 50 percent by implementing wireless over what the cost would have been if the plant had installed cable wiring.
How has improving monitoring helped ensure compliance with environmental requirements and regulations for your plant? Would installing a wireless solution help you overcome any plant challenges you’re currently facing?
SSE has extended the use of Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology at its Slough Heat and Power energy facility in the U.K. The new Rosemount Analytical wireless conductivity transmitters are being used to detect changes in boiler condensate conductivity which could be caused by cooling-water leaks in the turbine’s condenser. If left undetected the contaminated feedwater will cause hydrogen embrittlement of the furnace tubes that will result in tube failures.
The 80MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant had previously relied on manual sampling and laboratory analysis of turbine condensate. However, this method caused delays in detecting leaks and as a result the boilers had to be shut down while repairs were made.
“Emerson’s Smart Wireless conductivity transmitters allow us to continuously monitor the condensate extract lines,” said Emma Wilcockson, electrical, control and instrumentation technician at SSE. “If we detect a change in conductivity, maintenance can be scheduled before the problem leads to an unplanned shutdown or damage to the plant.”
Emerson had previously supplied a Smart Wireless Starter Kit for the boiler house, and SSE’s excellent experience with this application was a major factor in selecting wireless for this latest project. In addition, the costs and time required to run power and signal cables to each instrument made a conventional solution impractical.
Emerson recommended the best positioning for the conductivity probes, transmitters and gateway, and SSE installed the Rosemount Analytical Model 6081C Conductivity Transmitters in the condensate extraction lines.
The conductivity transmitters send data to the PLC-based control system via a Smart Wireless Gateway. Emerson’s AMS Device Manager predictive maintenance software is used to manage the Smart Wireless network. With an established wireless network at the plant, “plug-and-play” technology meant that it was very easy and quick for SSE engineers to install and configure the new wireless conductivity devices in the turbine basements.
Despite the difficult environment of the turbine basement, which is surrounded by metal structures that can obstruct wireless signals, the wireless network was quickly established. The system has been operating for more than six months and during that time the transmissions between transmitters and the wireless gateway has been extremely reliable.
Francis Ang here for Emerson Rosemount. I’m contributing this week’s blog discussing a local gas manufacturing plant here in Singapore.
For most manufacturing plants, the addition of a new measurement requirement after the plant is constructed is a source of huge expense and inconvenience … unless they have wireless. Such was the case with the world scale hydrogen manufacturing plant of Singapore Oxygen Air Liquide Pte Ltd, the subsidiary of Air Liquide in Singapore on Jurong Island. In 80 countries, Air Liquide supplies gases and solutions for its customers in diverse industries such as steel, food and beverage, electronics and pharmaceuticals.
New requirements for degassed conductivity measurements emerged and the plant wanted to add these instruments to their existing facility.
That is when Emerson Process Management came into the picture. Emerson engineers proposed the use of three 6081C wireless liquid analyzers with a contacting conductivity sensor, the Model 400. These were used in combination with a Smart Wireless Gateway. The wireless technology not only satisfies the need for conductivity measurement in the process, it also provides access to diagnostics which significantly reduce the cost and time of maintenance. This idea was well received by SOXAL as a try-out of the wireless diagnostics for the degassed conductivity measurement.
The analyzer was installed in a portable panel design that allows it to be easily moved around the plant as needed. The entire wireless system was installed in two days – a savings of weeks over the wired installation. From a cost benefit perspective; there is about 15 percent savings over the wired installation. Cost of ownership will significantly lower due to the reduced cost of AC power and maintenance and operation. In addition, system upgrades in the future will be fast and low cost.
Another advantage is that the Smart Wireless Gateway allows the liquid analyzers and any other additional products, such as pressure, pH or temperature measurement to be added in the future as part of a self-organizing network wherein each system becomes a wireless transmitter for all other systems.
For Singapore Oxygen Air Liquide Pte Ltd, as for other plants requiring retrofit around the world, wireless technology significantly reduces costs while improving operations.