Emerson Process Management is expanding its energy management portfolio with new technologies and ­services to help companies convert low-cost waste and biomass into renewable energy more efficiently and ­reliably, with lower carbon emissions.

As regulations on renewable fuels standards increase and governments consider renewable energy and carbon management legislation, Emerson’s technology and plant automation and control solutions are helping customers convert biomass or waste fuel – whether gases from a petroleum refinery, hydrogen from a chemical plant, biogas from potato waste at a food processing plant, or wood waste from a pulp mill – into steam and electrical power.

“Biomass-to-energy conversion is the fastest-growing segment of the energy business,” says Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. Our customers can retrofit decades-old plants to convert their waste streams into environmentally friendly and low-cost sources of power, a plus to the environment and their bottom line.”

Emerson’s new combustion optimisation technology uses Model Predictive Control (MPC) and other algorithms to determine the heat release of biomass and waste fuels. The combustion can then be optimised to the highest potential efficiency and the waste fuel can be maximised to minimise the cost of energy and reduce emissions.

“With this technology, many of our customers are operating on renewable energy up to 95 per cent of the time,” Sonnenberg said. Seattle Steam, a heating facility that provides heat in the form of steam to 200 buildings and hospitals in Seattle used Emerson’s combustion optimisation technology when it decided to use low-cost urban wood waste to provide energy for the Downtown area.

“We have reduced our annual carbon emissions by 60 per cent since turning on the new biomass facility that uses wood instead of natural gas,” says Stan Gent, president and chief executive officer of Seattle Steam. “