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Invensys chosen for biodiesel process simulation in Sweden

27 August 2008

Invensys Process Systems (IPS) has announced that the Swedish bio-refinery SunPine AB, will use Invensys SimSci-Esscor's PRO/II simulation software for modelling a new biodiesel refining operation in PiteƄ, Sweden. The new plant, which is a member of the Solander Science park biofuels collaboration, converts crude biooil by-products of pine pulping into second-generation biodiesel for shipment to diesel refining facilities.

"Efficient operation of the distillation column is critical to profitability of biodiesel production, impacting cost, output and regulatory compliance. The more accurately we can simulate our operation, the more effectively we can optimise availability and utilisation of the distillation column. We are confident that the PRO/II simulation software has all of the functionality that we need for this important objective," said Magnus Wikman, acting managing director for SunPine AB.

SunPine will be using a newly patented process to manufacture biodiesel from a main feedstock of crude tall oil (CTO), a by-product of pine pulping, and combine it with vegetable oils such as Jatropha or Castor oils to create crude tall diesel (CTD). With environmental approvals recently in place, SunPine AB will begin initial construction in the summer of 2008, with biodiesel production start planned for October 2009.
"By combining advanced simulation and modelling with its unique biodiesel distillation operation, SunPine AB will be well-equipped to meet cost control, output, and regulatory challenges in this new industry. We are very pleased that they have chosen our PRO/II modelling solution to augment their process. PRO/II software has power and flexibility that is well-suited to this emerging market," said Joseph McMullen, PRO/II product manager for Invensys.

PRO/II software is especially well suited to biofuels production. Recent enhancements, for example, enable addition of custom unit operations calculations via a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. This can model any proprietary or specialised process that can't be modelled using PRO/II's rigorous standard unit operations. This is important because many of the processes used in the production of biofuels cannot be modelled accurately with traditional unit operations. Since the development of the initial proprietary correlations of the process is usually done in Excel, the use of the Excel unit operation in PRO/II allows the user to capitalise on the initial correlations and reuse the work they have already done in Excel.

IPS recognises the importance of biofuels for future world energy needs and is working closely with the biofuel producers to make sure that their assets perform at peak. The next few releases of the PRO/II software will include application examples and training problems. IPS will also be highlighting its presence in the biofuels market with a series of presentations, publications, and customer testimonials built around the use of PRO/II software in biofuels production.

The contract with SunPine AB is representative of IPS' growing presence in the biofuels industry. In addition to simulation and modelling software, Invensys has control systems, process instrumentation, and cyber security solutions in place in numerous biofuel production operations throughout the world.

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