Digital automation for coal gasification plant

Paul Boughton
Shanghai Coking  Chemical Corporation and Emerson Process Management announced that Emerson had been selected to provide its PlantWeb digital plant architecture with Foundation fieldbus technology for the $375 million expansion of the coal gasification plant in Shanghai.

The project has doubled the plant’s output of methanol and carbon monoxide to help meet the rapidly increasing need for methanol in the region. The expanded plant began operation in June 2008.
The plant converts coal to synthesised gas, methanol, and carbon monoxide. The expansion project produces hourly 11,618 cubic metres of synthesised gas, 22,000 cubic metres of carbon monoxide, and 56 tons of methanol. The synthesised gas is supplied to customers in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park, while the methanol and carbon monoxide are used as a chemical intermediate for acetic acid.
“We selected Emerson’s PlantWeb architecture because it provides a simple digital architecture that can be easily configured to meet the complex requirements of our process,” said Mr. Guanghua Li, chief engineer for Shanghai Coking and Chemical Corporation. “The improved predictive capabilities and streamlined communications provided by PlantWeb technology will help us meet our high availability targets for the expanded plant. Emerson’s extensive experience in large project management was another factor in the selection process. We have already been very impressed with Emerson’s strong local engineering and support capability.”
In addition to installing PlantWeb, Emerson’s contract includes project management, system integration, configuration, commission and start-up, and maintenance services. Emerson’s PlantWeb digital architecture delivers operational excellence by networking thousands of smart devices throughout plants, enabling optimum control, while continuously gathering diagnostics data that is used for asset optimisation, including predictive maintenance. Plant personnel use the data to correct potential equipment and process problems before they interrupt production.
Shanghai Coking  Chemical Corporation is a large comprehensive chemical company, which uses coal as its primary raw material. It is the largest producer of city coal gas in the Shanghai area, providing 50% of Shanghai’s gas demand with a current daily output of 3.2 million cubic metres. The company’s main products include 1.5m t/a coke, 800k t/a methanol and 360k t/a carbon monoxide. Its annual sales are more than $700 million.
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