Success in bio-fuels and bio-energy production

Sugar and ethanol plants are designed with Profibus technology in Brazil, to ensure the complete integration between SMAR field instrumentation and the so-called intelligent MCC

Together, SMAR and Profibus have achieved proven success in bio-fuels and bio-energy production in Brazil, where great progress has been made in consolidating the technical production of bio-fuel originated from sugar cane, especially ethanol Great investments from joint local and international capital have strongly driven the several industrial segments involved

Up to 2012 the Brazilian ethanol market is expected to account for more than USD15billion.

Particularly in the automation segment, the chosen way was to consolidate the digital networks, especially Profibus with its two variants DP and PA.

This provided low-cost technology for the implementation, safe information, ease of operation and maintenance, and the complete integration between field instrumentation and the so-called intelligent MCC.

Nowadays, over 50% of new sugar and ethanol plants are designed with Profibus technology.

New projects like that for Tropical Bioenergia, with approximately 1000 nodes in Profibus distributed by 15 SMAR DFI302 DF73 controllers with SYSTEM302-7, a hybrid control digital system with decentralized architecture: this facility doubled its production as early as the second phase of its installation.

On September, 2007 Santa Elisa Distillery (owned by the Santelisa-Vale Group, one of the major sugar-ethanol producers in Brazil) and SMAR (the largest manufacturer of process instruments in Latin America) have just signed a contract for the complete automation of 4 new plants for the group.

The deal involves the supply by SMAR of the SYSTEM302-7 control system, containing the entire field instrumentation with Profibus technology, in addition to process controllers and control panels.

It also includes the infrastructure of a Center of Integrated Operations (COI) similar to the successful Santa Elisa COI (with SMAR System), one that has been constantly focused by the automation and control media.

Included in the supply are more than 3200 SMAR Profibus PA field instruments and 4 supervision and control systems designed to operate with digital control technologies, with an open and distributed architecture that also includes 21 DF73 DPV1 CPUs per unit.

Add to this the AS-I technology for controlling of on-off valves and sensors.

Two of the contracted units - Ituiutaba and Itumbiara, are scheduled to start the grinding operation on July 2008 and the other two, Campina Verde and Platina, will start up on May 2009.

Another facility belonging to the Santelisa-Vale Group and Maeda Group - Usina Tropical, in Edeia, Goiandae state - is part of the deal, as it was contracted in June 2007, for grinding to start in 2008, with project and conditions similar to the four plants that were signed up now.

All these projects are integrated by Studio, a SYSTEM302-7 component that makes possible to manage all the software required by the project, therefore creating a friendly interface with the user.

The SYSTEM302-7 is an open automation control system, with several diagnostics facilities, more tolerance to failures, with several function blocks, FFBs (Flexible Function Blocks), connectivity with OPC and other protocols, and a series of other features that turns it into a complete control system and not a mere communication bus with proprietary integrations.

The SYSTEM302-7 is the choice of the main plants in the sector due to its process control functions, which make it possible to collect valuable information on decision making that will guarantee operational excellence.

The automation system uses open technologies that perfectly integrate with the hardware, while permitting to connect to software and hardware of other manufacturers.

The users feel free to chose the desired devices and even build their own system.

The flexibility and the possibility of expansion prompted the architecture of the system to reconfigure and expand to meet the requirements of the process conditions without the need for large reinvestments.

Modern technologies enable quick response to the changing market conditions.

In terms of operational excellence, the sugar-ethanol sector is not different from any other segment and is under constant pressure to reach this excellence, in order to guarantee its competitiveness.

Operational excellence means to optimise and strengthen processes through the analysis of data in real time, thus facilitating decision making in an intelligent and strategic way at all company levels.

But what about the quality of the expected results? The main ones go as follows:.

  • Optimisation of production: If you know the real production capacity, the operation is more accurate and the purchasing orders are better met.
  • Improvement of performance: When you combine digital technology and automation, the processes are improved and the plant operations are more efficiently managed.
  • Easier standardisation and availability: By standardising the metrics of performance, quality and production throughout the plant, you safeguard brand integrity and product availability.
  • Reduction of costs: By identifying and solving the inefficiencies on processes and the production, you improve the company general agility, the cost-benefit ratio and the final financial results.

Another point to be observed is the technological updating of existent facilities, like Usina Zanin in Araraquara, Sao Paulo state, which replaced steam turbines for electric motors with Profibus DP protocol or Vale do Paranaiba plant in Minas Gerais state, which currently upgrades its system of juice extraction and distillery by diffusion.

Both units combined will be able to process annually 15 million tons of sugar cane in 8 months at a competitive cost (as they use less manpower), and to supply quality products to the international market.

One fourth of the primary energy used in Brazil comes from biomasses that compete with other sources of energy, a unique situation in the world.

On the basis of the sources and applications in Brazil, different bio-energetic chains co-exist, like sugar cane ethanol (pure or mixed with gasoline) used by light vehicles and charcoal from planted trees, which fuels a considerable percentage of the Brazilian steel industry.

Biomass from sugar cane used for ethanol production results from the cultivation of a plant and serves as the primary source of liquid fuels that replace gas or diesel oil.

This facilitates its acceptance by the oil by-products market and enables the use of the same logistics as for their distribution.

The utilisation of most sources of liquid fuels leads to the secondary production of a considerable amount of biomass that was formerly regarded as reject, but now is used as energy sources, thanks to technological advancement, commercial conditions and institutional mechanisms.

These secondary biomasses may reach quantities that exceed the current demand or the capacity of the processing plants and therefore can be sold to third parties, including for heating or electricity production.

The Brazilian success in achieving this shift in bio-energy production and use has made an impression all over the world, especially in view of the increasing costs of the conventional fossil energy.

Extracted from Processingtalk website, click here to read the original article.