Utilities optimization in a wax process plant
Babalola, Olamide Akanbi
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In this dissertation, the extent of utilities optimization, conservation and management is investigated in a case study plant (Sasol Wax plant). At the outset, the particular types of utilities in the case study plant were identified and they were found to be similar to utilities common to the chemical process industries. Also, reasons to optimize utilities such as continuous rise in utilities cost and maximizing profit while cutting back on cost of production were established. There was an indication to explore the influence of the human element comprising personnel perception, orientation and attitude towards utilities optimization The collected literature revealed the reasons why utilities optimization, conservation and management should be handled seriously. Such reasons included economic, environment and quality/social concerns. The literature survey covered the Chemical Process Industries' approach to utilities optimization, conservation and management which includes; • Technological Development; • Process Integration; and • Changing to less expensive energy or reduced consumption of energy/utilities by employing energy conservation procedures. Preliminary investigation revealed that the three approaches did not solve the problem of energy under-utilization and utilities wastage, and it did not enhance cost savings on utilities consumed in the case study plant. Hence, the influence of the human element (personnel perception, orientation and attitude towards utilities optimization) in utilities optimization, conservation and management was investigated. This investigation, led to an extensive discussion of several utilities management systems which formed the crux of chapter two of this work. Furthermore, several methods of investigation which included, interviews, questionnaires and observations were employed to reveal the case study plant's management and personnel's attitude (human element) towards the subject of utilities optimization, conservation and management. Findings from the investigation were put in proper perspective by employing the grounded theory approach which helped to simplify into themes the factors that influence utility optimization, conservation and management. In the concluding chapter, a management system that will minimize utilities underutilization and utilities wastage as well as recommendations that will improve the utility optimizing potential of the case study plant was developed for the case study plant that is adaptable to other chemical process plants with similar processes and recommendations for practise to boost the utility efficiency as well as recommendation for further research on optimization of utilities were suggested.
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