Energy Efficiency, Smart Grids, and Chemical Engineering

Originally delivered Jan 13, 2010
Developed by: AIChE
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    Archived Webinar
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Energy efficiency is beginning to receive increased attention as a way to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the resulting production of greenhouse gases. Sometimes coined as “negawatts” (vs. megawatts), increased energy efficiencies also provide an avenue to address the expected future legislation of cap and trade or a carbon tax. In this webinar, we discuss automation and process control - necessary technologies to operate plants in the most efficient way - and also give examples of where real-time optimization can be used to minimize plant energy consumption.

In addition, we look at the increased use of renewable energy such as solar or wind power, and how it reduces carbon usage but adds a dynamic element to power production. We explore how time of day pricing of power and use of demand response techniques to flatten demand curves will be important ingredients of smart grids, and how increased usage of thermal and other energy storage systems will also give industrial energy users some degrees of freedom to deal with the dynamic power conditions. We also show how chemical engineering training in areas like process control, combined heat and power, and materials will be valuable in the future plant environment.


Thomas Edgar

Thomas F. Edgar is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and holds the George T. and Gladys Abell Chair in Engineering.

Dr. Edgar received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.  For the past 37 years, he has concentrated his academic work in process modeling, control, and optimization, with over 200 articles and book chapters.  Edgar has co-authored leading textbooks:  Optimization of Chemical Processes (McGraw-Hill, 2001) and Process Dynamics and Control (Wiley, 2010).  He has received...Read more

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