Furnace Optimization Solution at MOL Group

Like most refining companies, small reductions in energy cost percentage results in significant overall savings. Headquartered in Hungary and being one of the major players in the European Industrial sector, MOL Group is a multinational company that partnered with Yokogawa Advanced Solutions with the aim to safely optimize their existing fired heaters.

After participating in the Solomon refining studies, MOL's effort in reducing their energy and carbon footprint is clear and concerted. Senior Project Manager László Cserna shares his experience and perspective after working with Yokogawa; the dynamic in having Honeywell, Emerson and Yokogawa involved on one project, and how CombustionONE led the company to exceed their expected target.


My name is Laszlo Cserna.

I am working for MOL Group. We are a Central European Oil Company. We have representatives in 40 countries around the world. We have 26,500 employees in Central Europe we have 4 oil refineries.  One in Bratislava, 2 in Croatia and flagship the Danube refinery in Hungary. We have two Petrochemical facilities. We have approximately 80% white product yield.

Q: What are your goals for Energy efficiency and financial savings?
MOL Group is continuously participating in the Solomon studies. which are comparing the performance  of the refineries to its peers. In question of energy efficiency, in the energy efficiency index of the Solomon study in the last study we performed in the 2nd quartile. It is our intention to move up one quartile in the next study. That is why MOL has started the "Next Downstream" program which is gathering the energy efficiency projects, programs and actions. The target is to reach USD$5 million savings until the year 2017.

Q: Why did MOL Group focus on heater optimization rather than other areas?
In a typical refineries operation costs, the major part of the cost is coming from energy. If you decrease only a few percent in the energy consumption then it still means a huge amount of money. That is why we are concentrating on efficiency improvement on the side of energy consumption. The biggest part of the energy consumption comes from the operation of the fired heaters
and fuel consumption of the fired heaters.

Q: Why did MOL choose Yokogawa to help meet this goal?
We decided to use Yokogawa's package solution because it is good to know that the vendor of the equipment is responsible for the complete package. It is rather teamwork than a complete package because We are providing a tailor made solution for each and every furnace with the involvement of the operational people, maintenance team and of course Yokogawa.

Q: Can you describe the team composition and dynamic?
Our operators have the knowledge about our equipment, about the fired heaters, about the operation of the unit and Yokogawa staff has the knowledge about the "Tunable Diode Laser Analysers" (TDLS) and about the combustion control system. From MOL side we involved the technologists, the unit operations staff, our maintenance team and the technology development department. From Yokogawa side of course there is a project manager who is responsible for the complete implementation. But Yokogawa involve their combustion experts worldwide. The engineer who is responsible for the commissioning comes from the Czech Republic. The combustion expert who is responsible for the CombustionOne is usually coming from the United States

Q: Were there any challenges in applying the CombustionOne Solution to non-Yokogawa automation platforms?
Yes, you are right the pilot application was working on a Yokogawa DCS. But of course we have different platforms and applications and the feasibility of the application on other DCS were investigated because the most fuel consuming furnaces are working under the Honeywell DCS and of course we also have Emerson DCS as well. Of course it was a challenge because Honeywell and Emerson had to be involved as a sub-contractor of Yokogawa into the team. It was manageable and the co-operation together with the DCS manufacturers and Yokogawa was smooth-less.

Q: Please describe the feedback you received from your operators?
It was interesting because first the unit operations staff was a bit confused. They had the original Zirconia type oxygen analyzers on the furnace operating and they got a new device (TDLS) for the same measurement. Of course it is a little different, and the placing is a little different. Actually both of them showed the oxygen content in the flue gas.

Q: At first they were a bit confused as they did not know which one to believe. Then following the installation of the first CO analyzer then they accepted what we can see in the firebox with the TDLS type oxygen analyzer it is credible and they can lower the oxygen content in the flue gas, until the CO breakthrough.

Q: Can you explain the financial benefits MOL has seen thus far? Did these meet your expectations?
Under contracting with Yokogawa of course we asked for guarantees. The guarantees where estimated by Yokogawa by taking into consideration the historical operation of the unit and of course these guarantees where incorporated into the contract.

Q: The guaranteed values for the first phase of the project were just below EUR€700,000 per year, savings. But following the guarantee test runs... we happily realized that is was really above the guaranteed values by Yokogawa because we measured more than EUR€850,000 in savings

Q: How does MOL plan to sustain and grow these benefits into the future?
The saving are coming from the system when the operators use it, our management is committed to using this system so they are going to monitor it year by year with this monitoring the unit operations staff, will be obliged to use to of course. But since we instructed them why it is important for us go use it they are happy to use it and their life is easier.

Productos y Soluciones Relacionadas

Combustion Safety & Optimization

Yokogawa is proud to offer a single source solution to improve combustion safety and efficiency in fired heaters. 

Tunable Diode Laser Spectrometers

Tunable Diode Laser Spectrometers (TDLS) are laser-based gas analyzers which provide a fast-update optical analysis.