MAN Energy Solutions and thyssenkrupp have signed a cooperation agreement to develop, test and market autonomous turbomachinery systems for the nitric acid industry.
The two German companies will use artificial intelligence (AI) to aid decision-making in nitric acid plant operation that will use real-time data such as product price, yield, efficiency, emissions, energy costs, process stability, and forecast maintenance requirements.
MAN Energy Solutions CEO Uwe Lauber said combining human expertise with artificial intelligence is a milestone for the process industry.
“Autonomous operation of turbomachinery offers advantages in efficiency, machine availability and health, as well as emissions reductions. AI algorithms ensure that machines and plants run reliably and at the optimum operating point at all times,” Lauber said.
“This leads to fewer failures, greater efficiency and lower operating costs. In the final development stage, human intervention is only necessary for maintenance – which in turn leads to lower travel costs and reduced emissions. The development of autonomy thus combines the two strategic targets of digitalisation and decarbonisation.
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“MAN Energy Solutions already holds a leading market position when it comes to the unmanned operation of complex compressor trains. Through our cooperation with thyssenkrupp, we hope to further consolidate our lead.”
thyssenkrupp business unit Uhde CEO Sami Pelkonen said the cooperation with MAN Energy Solutions will soon open up a whole new world of possibilities for operating plants that is both intelligent and resource friendly.
“Our technology and digitalisation competences will be a perfect match in achieving this,” Pelkonen said.
As part of the cooperation effort, the AI algorithms and automation systems will be further developed, tested, and interconnected to form a joint digital technology solution.
MAN Energy Solutions Head of Digital Sales & Alliances Jörg Massopust said in 2020, the business was able to remotely commission complex compressor trains using digital technologies based on MAN CEON
“The company has also already successfully demonstrated the continuous unmanned operation of its turbomachinery systems with its subsea compressor systems in the Norwegian Sea,” Massopust said.
“Together with thyssenkrupp, we now want to take the next step and enable the development from unmanned to autonomous operation. We later plan to apply the experience gained together in the nitric acid industry to other segments.”