Keeping money from being vaporized
University of Cincinnati engineering student Andy Eding, currently on a six-month co-op with Marathon, worked this summer to redesign a vent line from a solvent drum so that vapor containing valuable hydrocarbons (burned off during the refinery process) could be recovered. The project has already been implemented, and the recovered propane and butane is now being used as an additional saleable product.
Cost of project implementation: $220,000
Estimated savings realized by company: $1,300,000 per year
Plugging steam (and money) leaks
In another project this summer, UC’s Andy Eding led a refinery-wide steam-leak audit and repair project where he had responsibility for the program and worked directly with the refinery-production supervisors to achieve results. Subsequent audits documented improvements in two areas of the refinery.
Estimated savings: $1,200,000 per year
University of Cincinnati engineering student Tim McKnight, currently on co-op with Marathon, also worked there in the fall of 2004. On one project, he estimated the fouling factors in two key heat exchangers and estimated their maintenance-cleaning needs and the cost factors involved. His proposals were implemented.
Cost of cleaning the exchangers: $12,300
Savings realized by company: $95,000 over a two-month operating cycle
NOT paying the piper
West Virginia University student Josh Santrock worked on a project in early 2005 to analyze energy loss along nearly 2,000 feet of pipeline used to carry reduced (partially refined) crude. Santrock identified areas of heat loss, insulation needs and the economic cost/benefit of pipe insulation. His proposals were implemented.
Cost of project implementation: $37,000
Estimated savings realized by company: $126,000 per year
Steaming ahead with energy efficiency
Michigan Technological University student Roberta Larsen investigated a proposed steam-heat recovery project that would provide greater energy efficiency in a steam-utility system that is used in the process of refining crude oil. She performed the process and cost analysis in summer 2005, and the project has been approved based on her recommendation.
Cost of project implementation: $26,400
Estimated savings realized by company: $110,000 per year