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Honeywell's path to decarbonization: Leak detection, energy efficiency and asset optimization

Reducing emissions is a significant challenge several industries face, with multiple pathways being taken to increase sustainability. At Honeywell Users Group 2023, Ravi Srinivasan delivered a presentation titled “Overcoming emission challenges: The path to net zero.” Srinivasan highlighted several avenues for reducing emissions, such as proactive leak detection and remediation, energy efficiency solutions, hydrogen (H2), carbon capture, renewable fuels and offsets.

According to Srinivasan, the macro perspective is that customers, regulators, and other agencies face big pressure to remain relevant in the market. “Many customer CEOs have committed to ahead zero or carbon neutrality goals; there is a lot of pressure to remain on the market as they’re moving toward a lower carbon intensity footprint,” said Srinivasan. “The second thing is the regulations are coming in place, such as the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), pushing toward lowering the emissions. This means the organizations must do more to protect the profits, so they do not get fines.”

Honeywell is a technology manufacturer, but it also manufactures chemicals and has production facilities for aerospace and buildings. This puts them in a unique position, enabling them to create technology and test them in their facilities before they are deployed outside.

The first pathway to decarbonization that Srinivasan focused on was leak detection and repair. According to Srinivasan, customers typically search plants for leaks once a quarter to six months, which is a significantly manual process. Honeywell’s sensors and Rebellion Gas Cloud Imaging (GCI) camera can measure leaks in real time. All methane leaks can be detected with the GCI, which is a major global warming contributor.

Customers can know what is happening and work with Honeywell to help them fix the leaks. In addition, methane is a natural gas, which is a feedstock for plants, meaning preventing methane leaks decreases plant loss and increases revenue.

Next, Srinivasan focused on energy efficiency solutions, which improve how assets perform. “If you run your raw process more efficiently, you can manage the emissions more effectively,” said Srinivasan. “Before advanced process control optimization, we focused on the throughput of a plant to improve efficiency. Now, the emissions are the cofactor, and we can manage the energy intensity in the plant. Lower energy intensity is better for us because we aim to produce more with less emissions.”

Srinivasan then touched on asset optimization, highlighting compressors, rotating equipment, boilers and turbines. Honeywell technologies can assess if these assets are performing in terms of the design curve versus actual performance. According to Srinivasan, once differences are discovered, they can work toward narrowing the differences and helping the assets to operate very close to the design curve.

Srinivasan ended the presentation by touching on several other new technologies, such as green H2 technologies, carbon capture and sequestration (pre- and post-combustion), battery energy storage systems and Ecofining.

Story by: Tyler Campbell, Managing Editor, H2Tech

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