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Siemens awarded contract by Biofine Renewables

07 August 2008

Siemens Energy & Automation announced it has been awarded a contract from Biofine Renewables to standardise its plant in Gorham, Maine, on the Simatic PCS 7 process control system. Biofine Renewables selected the process control system to improve the productivity of its start-up and shut-down processes and enhance worker safety. The contract amount was not disclosed.

Biofine Renewables converts cellulosic biomass feedstock into levulinic acid used in a variety of chemicals and fuels. Steve Fitzpatrick, president of Biofine Renewables, says the PCS 7 process control system plays an important role helping the company commercially develop patents for converting the cellulose in a variety of materials into biochemicals and biofuels.

The control system, which will be installed by system integrator Optimation Technology, Inc., a Siemens Solution Partner, includes redundant dual screen operator stations communicating over Industrial Ethernet to the control processor. The PCS 7 system utilises a Profibus fieldbus network to communicate to Siemens variable frequency drives and I/O modules.

“We had great improvements in productivity and safety with the PCS 7 system at our plant in Italy and transferred much of that technology to our Gorham facility,” Fitzpatrick says. “The graphics are intuitive and the trending and alarm functions are very good. The customer service support from Optimation has been impressive as well.” Fitzpatrick claimed

Operators at the Gorham plant monitor the thermochemical process in real time on a PCS 7 OS human machine interface. Sequential PCS 7 function charts are used to smooth start-up and shutdown sequences. A custom interlock logic function provides interlock status visualisation and allows engineers to control overrides for enhanced safety.

“Biofine Renewables is spearheading important research and development work that is invaluable in forming new chemical and fuel technologies,” says David Hankins, vice president, Siemens Chemical & Pharmaceutical Center of Competence. “Siemens is a leader in research and development as well, and we are committed to helping the company shorten production times, reduce costs, and minimise risks with our proven biofuels control technology.”

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