“Energy Efficiency, Smart Grids, and Process Control”
Thomas F. Edgar
University of Texas – Austin
October 21, 2014
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 efficiency also provides an avenue to address possible future legislation such as a carbon tax. Automation, process control, and real-time optimization are critical technologies to operate plants in the most efficient way. Examples of where real-time optimization can be used to minimize industrial energy consumption will be presented. The increased use of intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power reduces carbon usage but adds a dynamic element to power production. Time of day pricing of power and use of demand response techniques to flatten demand curves will be important ingredients of smart grids. Increased usage of thermal and other energy storage systems along with automatic control will give industrial energy users some degrees of freedom to deal with the dynamic power conditions.