Veolia Water Technologies & Solutions

How InSight* Improved an Ammonia Plant’s Reliability and Control

Veolia Water Technologies & Solutions
| August 1, 2023 |
chemical processing
Boiler Precision System
an asset performance management

In Borger, Texas, steam plant operators at the Nutrien ammonia production facility faced repeated tube failures in their waste heat boilers. Each failure caused a shutdown that cost approximately $350,000 in maintenance, to say nothing of the lost production time while repairs were made. These failures were happening, on average, twice per year.

The plant requires 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi) steam pressure to operate the turbines and compressors and provide heat to the various production stages. The system generates 520,000 pounds per hour (lb/hr) of steam from high-purity feedwater treated using a coordinated pH-phosphate program (congruent phosphate).Operators manually adjust the treatment and run lab tests daily to change the operating and chemical parameters. The treatment must be controlled precisely to prevent acidic or caustic corrosion in the boilers' high heat flux areas.

A Veolia Water Technologies & Solutions analysis that collected data using "InSight" showed that the boiler water pH and phosphate levels constantly moved in and out of control limits. Less than half of the data points were within the prescribed limits for a typical operation.

InSight, Veolia's cloud-based data management system, uses proprietary analytics not just to show how many measurements are within control but also to prescribe adjustments to the treatment.

Based on the findings, Veolia recommended that our BPS (Boiler Precision System) unit be installed and linked to the treatment's application to monitor and optimize water parameters. Readings determine the proper blend of phosphate products to apply in real-time so plant operators don't have to expose themselves to chemicals, and adjustments can be made continuously. The pH and phosphate levels stabilized when the system was operational, and long-term observation showed 80% of the data points were within the control range.

In the year since the system was implemented, no boiler tubes failed at Nutrien's Borger facility. The maintenance reduction and asset life improvement created $275,000 in annual savings.

"Over the years that Veolia has been providing us with water treatment and expert services, our partnership has led to many improvements to our utilities," said Mark Marquez, Ammonia Superintendent at Nutrien's Borger facility. "The Boiler Precision System has improved boiler reliability, the safety of chemical application, and greatly reduced unscheduled downtime."

How InSight works

InSight is an asset performance management (APM) solution that uses data and analytics to optimize the performance of water treatment components. By connecting assets like boilers, cooling towers, and membranes into a cloud-based platform, InSight provides real-time visibility into key performance indicators (KPIs) at the asset, plant, or enterprise level. The platform includes customizable dashboards, fleet benchmarking, automated alarms, trend analysis, reporting, advanced analytics, and a mobile app.

The InSight platform improves equipment life and reduces operating costs through greater visibility into asset health. The solution is supported globally by Veolia's network of Service Reliability Centers (SRC), which monitor performance and assist plant personnel.

Veolia's chemical processing expertise

Our chemical applications experts have decades of experience across various industries and global regions to understand the nuanced needs of producers, whether they process gas, oil, food, metals, paper, or operate commercial or institutional facilities. We work with your team to understand even the most complex water or process challenges and deliver the best solutions that meet your operational objectives.

Veolia's industry-leading innovations have delivered improved reliability and productivity, optimized uptime and run lengths, reduced cost of ownership, and enhanced safety and sustainability. Reach out to our team to find out which of our water or process solutions are right for you.

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