Volatile energy costs are on the radar screens of most companies, but at Arkema’s chemical plant in Calvert City, Ky., Dwight Stoffel and his staff were intent upon fixing the inefficiencies of their boiler operations. “From 1989 to 2003, the average price of a barrel of oil was about $20,” explained Robert Horton, business manager, ABB Optimization Services, who presented the results of his group’s consultative efforts with Arkema at ABB Automation and Power World 2009 in Orlando, Fla. “Oil prices are a leader for all energy prices. By 2005, oil was at $50, and when it peaked at around $147 in July 2008, our project was already well underway.”
The Arkema site has four boilers, which produce steam at slightly different levels because they are different sizes and were installed at different times. The first two, both installed in 1952, are brick-set with forced-draft intake and induced-draft removal fans. Both are rated at 40,000 lb steam/hour (klb/hr). The third boiler, a 1965 economizer, includes only a forced-draft fan and is rated at 75 klb/hr, but it was typically operated at a maximum of 60 klb/hr. An additional 1996 economizer FGR boiler was operated identically to the third.