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Chemical Group Wacker presents its Net Zero Award to honour an engineering project for its innovative approach to more efficient process control in production. The Net Zero Award, worth €10,000, is presented each year to individuals or teams whose projects contribute to the implementation of the Group’s sustainability goals. This year’s award winner is Markus Bauer, whose project team developed a model-based process control system called Advanced Process Control (APC) to optimise production processes in real time. The award ceremony took place this week at the Group’s Sustainability Conference in Burghausen.
“Wacker has set itself challenging sustainability goals, which include reducing our absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2045,” explained Christian Hartel, CEO of Wacker Chemie AG. He added that in order to meet these goals, a committed organisation was needed that pulled together and worked on numerous projects to create a great many levers, both large and small. “Our Wacker Net Zero Award serves to honour this commitment and outstanding projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and further minimise resource consumption in our own products and processes.”
Advanced Process Control – the award-winning project – is a software-based methodology from the Industry 4.0 environment used to optimise process control in chemical facilities. In this way, data from an actual facility, as well as external parameters, such as air temperature and humidity, are entered into a dynamic, model-predictive control technique with APC. This forward-looking process optimisation makes it possible, for example, to save some of the heating steam required for distillation columns or powder dryers.
Throughout the Wacker Group, more than 100 APC controllers with more than 600 control loops are currently active within all business divisions and at all major sites, especially in large upstream facilities worldwide, as they are ideal for this methodology due to their high throughput. Based on internal calculations, these APC controllers help Wacker save 150Kt of carbon dioxide a year.
“This method perfectly demonstrates the opportunities that lie in the intelligent combination of IT and engineering,” the CEO went on to say. “By broadly leveraging the opportunities offered by digitalisation, the award winner and his team are significantly helping to improve the energy efficiency of our integrated production system and further minimize the environmental footprint of our operations. In this way, the award winner is making a valuable contribution that will move our Group forward on the path to achieving net zero and at the same time make our manufacturing setup even more productive. Sustainability and competitiveness go hand in hand in this approach. That makes it a natural candidate for the Wacker Net Zero Award.”