IPS to provide process simulation to biofuels consortium | Automation.com

IPS to provide process simulation to biofuels consortium

APRIL 8, 2009 - Invensys Process Systems joined OPTFUEL, a European consortium researching the feasibility of using second-generation biofuels to power automobiles. Under the leadership of Volkswagen AG, the project will demonstrate “optimized fuels for sustainable transport” and pave the way for the large-scale production of second-generation transport biofuels based on wood and forestry residues.

As part of the consortium, IPS will provide process simulation, design and optimisation technologies. The OPTFUEL project kicked off in February with a planning meeting of all the consortium partners, including Ford, Renault and Volkswagen from the automotive sector; CHOREN Industries, a Freiberg, Germany-based engineering company; Conservation of Clean Air and Water in Europe (CONCAWE), representing the European mineral oil industry; and representatives of research institutes from France (IFP), Greece (CERTH), India (IITD) and the German project consultant SYNCOM.

“IPS is already very active in the design and simulation of green engineering applications for second-generation biofuels with clients around the world,” said Gregor Fernholz, IPS senior technical consultant. “Joining the OPTFUEL consortium emphasizes our commitment to research and development, and it will help increase our presence in this fast-growing sector as we search for alternative solutions to meet global demand. I am convinced that this project will bring significant improvements in our technologies and tremendous benefits to our consortium partners and clients.”

The OPTFUEL project will establish the technical basis for the large-scale production—up to 200,000 tons per year—of biomass-to-liquid (BtL) products from wood chips that can be used in vehicles, either as neat fuels or by blending with conventional fossil fuels. The production process involves the gasification of wood residues at 1400°C, followed by the recombination of the gasified residues into sulphur- and aromatics-free liquids. Advanced biofuels for evaluation in this project will be produced at CHOREN Industries’ Freiberg beta plant. The BtL demonstration will begin with the cultivation of 200 hectares of fast-growing willow, poplar, and robinia trees on land near the Freiberg facility.

Automotive manufacturers and the oil industry will then work together to blend the BtL liquids, evaluate their exhaust emissions and explore their potential in current and future engine technologies. Earlier projects have shown that vehicles operating on neat BtL can achieve considerable reductions in exhaust emissions. In addition, the consortium will evaluate the economic aspects and potential of reducing energy and greenhouse emissions from all parts of the BtL production process. Technical issues associated with wood plantations for energy applications will also be thoroughly examined.

“BtL is one of the biofuels which can make a substantial contribution towards maintaining individual mobility. Therefore OPTFUEL is part of the fuel and powertrain strategy of Volkswagen,” said Dr. Frank Seyfried, head of the department for fuels and fuel cells in the group research of Volkswagen.

Ten partners from five countries are pooling their skills to optimise the production of BtL liquids over the course of the three-and-a-half-year project. The European Union is supporting the project with 7.8 million euros of funding within the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (GRANT 218890).

Participation in the OPTFUEL consortium is representative of IPS’ growing presence in the biofuels industry. In addition to simulation and modelling software, IPS has control systems, process instrumentation and cyber security solutions in place in numerous biofuel production operations throughout the world.

About IPS (Invensys Process Systems)
Invensys Process Systems (IPS), headquartered in Plano, Texas, is a global technology, software and consulting firm leading significant change in process manufacturing, plant optimization, business operations and enterprise performance. IPS clients are some of the world’s most important industrial organizations — companies that operate large oil refineries; plants that process chemicals, gas, LNG, power, pharmaceutical and minerals; and pulp and paper mills. IPS solutions, used at over 50,000 locations around the globe, include field devices and controls from Foxboro and Triconex, advanced applications from SimSci-Esscor, operations management from Avantis, and the world’s first truly open enterprise control system, InFusion.

The company’s approximately 7,500 employees integrate these capabilities to create solutions that impact and increase efficiency, boost productivity, and accelerate performance. These results help industrial companies run safer, operate more efficiently, and extract useful knowledge from their operations to make faster, better decisions.

The Invensys Group is headquartered in London and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (ISYS.L), with approximately 25,000 employees working in 60 countries.
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