Emerson Automates Separations Research Facility

The Separations Research Program (SRP) pilot plant in Austin, Texas, has been upgraded using the latest digital automation technology from Emerson Process Management.  The plant, operated by The University of Texas at Austin and funded by companies in chemical, refining, and other industries, is one of the first commercial installations of Emerson’s DeltaV digital automation system v11 release.

The pilot plant, which consists of multifunctional mass transfer devices, is used to evaluate new separation techniques that can then be directly scaled up for commercial production.

The plant operates approximately 200 days per year, conducting studies that typically last one to three months. For each study, the facility is modified to meet a commercial customer’s unique needs. Major oil, chemical and food companies have used such studies to improve operations in their production facilities and to prove expected ROIs before scaling up to production.

In addition, the SRP has developed an innovative CO2 separation process that reduces CO2 emissions for coal-fired operations and reduces the typical process-equipment footprint by two-thirds. This process, which will undergo field trials later this year, consists of a fully automated turn-key skid utilizing the latest capabilities of Emerson’s PlantWeb digital automation architecture. In 2011, the facility plans to double the scale of this technology for another commercial installation.

The pilot plant provides a showcase for Emerson's automation technologies, including DeltaV S-series controllers with Electronic Marshalling, HART I/O, Smart Wireless communications, Rosemount and Rosemount Analytical sensors and transmitters, Fisher digital control valves, and Micro Motion Coriolis meters.

“By upgrading our pilot plant using the latest Emerson automation technologies, we are able to build on our reputation and deliver solid research results to our customers,” says Frank Seibert, operations manager for the Separations Research Program. 

For more information, visit: www.Emerson.com.

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