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Monitoring and optimizing energy use in chemical production

Sebastian Eckstein Dec 28, 2022 10:15:00 AM 5 min read

As natural gas and electricity supplies shrink and prices soar, digitalization tools offer chemical manufacturers a way to monitor and optimize their energy use. We examine how the Navigance Performance Manager enables more energy efficient and sustainable production within weeks.

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From power struggles to smarter working

The current energy crisis in Europe has brought into sharper focus than ever the need to make the most efficient use of resources and operate more sustainably, all at an accelerated pace.

Shrinking natural gas supplies, mandated reductions in electricity use, and soaring costs are hitting European chemical manufacturers hardest. But optimizing energy use should now be an imperative wherever in the world producers operate.

The right digitalization tools can help them do so. Using process data gathered in their plants to provide a clear and constant picture of energy use, so their teams can make informed, timely and overall better decisions.

Say goodbye to spreadsheet analysis

For many producers, if analysis of plant data happens at all it’s usually done by poring over Excel spreadsheets, often in the form of daily dashboards. And it’s a pain.

Even for the most experienced team members, making sense of this information is time-consuming. It’s hard to spot patterns in the data and make effective decisions based on what they reveal. What’s more, any analysis and actions are only ever as timely as the last point the data was captured.

By digitalizing this manual effort using an online tool, the data feed becomes continuous and the heavy lifting of sifting through to spot the most relevant trends is taken care of automatically.

That’s where the Navigance Performance Manager comes in. It’s a single solution that enables plant operators, engineers, and senior managers alike to see and manage all aspects of plant performance critical to their roles and shared objectives, based on the same feed of data.

Navigance puts the power to optimize in your team’s hands

With the Navigance Performance Manager, personnel and teams at all levels can track whatever aspects of their operation are most critical to achieving organizational targets, such as:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Key performance indicators of their process
  • Environmental and quality metrics
  • Production costs
  • Plant uptime

It automates data processing and visualization, and KPI monitoring and alerting. All of which helps teams make and implement decisions quickly, while freeing up their time to manage and improve daily operations.

How the Navigance Performance Manager works

The Performance Manager draws from multiple data sources and visualizes them in a cloud-based for energy dashboard for chemical processes and plants. These data sources include DCS systems and data historians, quality data from laboratory systems, product and utility costs, and more. Whatever is needed to give a complete view of performance against critical goals.

It goes beyond simply visualizing this data, though. By automatically detecting a plant’s status, from different operational scenarios to full shutdowns, it provides an overview from which teams can set dynamic targets for operational KPIs, such as energy efficiency.

Monitoring of these KPIs is automatic too, ensuring they remain within predetermined limits. It alerts engineers and operators if these thresholds risk being crossed so that appropriate actions can be taken. In traditional DCS systems, such alerting is usually used to ensure plant safety alone.

Navigance Performance Manager

Tailored dashboards in the Performance Manager integrate communication, agreed actions and workflows directly into the data flows. This means anyone with the necessary access rights can track issues that need attention and any actions that have been implemented.

Monitor energy use at any level

The Navigance Performance Manager is a single solution not only for all roles within specific plants, but also for all plant setups. As an independent solution, it works with all DCS systems, and can be deployed flexibly where it adds value.

For instance, you can monitor the energy use and efficiency of:

  • One specific unit operation that needs most attention
  • All units across an entire plant
  • Multiple plants in the same or different locations

This enables you to start small and implement quickly, then grow continuously with your needs – including more advances functionalities like plant monitoring or real-time optimization.

Other benefits and features

While the Performance Manager draws from a single round-the-clock data feed, the information users see and how they use it can be entirely personalized.

Rights-based access enables each user to easily access the information they need via an online portal. This means managers, engineers, and operators can configure this dashboard view to suit their own priorities and interests, and reconfigure it any time as needs change.

Meanwhile, multi-layer security keeps plants’ data safe – from its transfer to the cloud to the way it’s stored and processed once there, through to strict controls over who can see and use it.

Like all Navigance solutions, the Performance Manager keeps getting better, too. We take care of maintaining and continuously updating its functions and features, making them available instantly and to all users within the web interface. Plant teams can always work with the latest technology, with no need to install and maintain software locally.

Fast implementation with a few steps

The key steps to implementation are:

  • We’ll clarify the format of your data and confirm the calculation schemes you need
  • Together, we’ll define what needs visualizing in your online dashboards
  • Next, we’ll set up secure, automated uploads of your process data to the Navigance cloud
  • You’ll go live with your pre-configured, customized user interfaces
  • And users can continue to tailor their own personal dashboards any time as needed

All of this can be achieved within just a few weeks, with expert support provided throughout by our chemical engineers and data scientists to ensure a successful deployment.

If you’re eager to monitor, manage and optimize energy efficiency – or any other KPIs – in your own chemical plants, read more about the Navigance Performance Manager or contact us to get started.

Key performance indicators for monitoring in chemical plants

Further reading

White paper: Advance with intelligence – digitalize and optimize your chemical production

EY article: Why the chemical industry is prioritizing digitalization


Sebastian Eckstein

As Product Manager, Sebastian drives the product development of our Navigance solutions. With his expertise gained in research and development positions in the chemical industry, he translates customer needs into a user-friendly software service.