Energy optimisation in process industry

Type: Master project in industry

Period: 2019 spring

Project director: Prof. François Maréchal

Assistants: Rafael Amoedo, Ivan Kantor, Alessio Santecchia

INEOS contacts: Elfie Méchaussie, Greet Van Eetvelde



Industrial energy efficiency and energy management are of key importance in the move towards a low-carbon economy. In parallel with rising legislative pressure, energy costs are the main drivers to continuously improve resource & energy efficiency in process industry.

INEOS is one of the world’s largest producers of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products. Each year the company suggests one or more sites for studying energy efficiency improvement through a deep analysis of its energy consumption and utility system, and for the application of pinch analysis. The development and onsite implementation of the energy efficiency techniques and measures should:

  • lead to a decrease in energy consumption and therefore to carbon emission reductions,
  • feed the auditing and management systems in compliance with the international ISO 50001 standard, the European EED requirements and/or their national/regional implementation.



The goal of this master project is to carry out an indicative energy audit of a chemical site, including the following objectives:

  • Top-down analysis of the site’s energy consumption, from the raw energy import at the system boundaries to the end-use consumers, including intermediate energy conversion and distribution systems.
    • Energy bill/consumption analysis, influencing factors, energy baseline.
    • Breakdown of thermal (e.g. fuel, steam, hot oil) and electrical energy consumers.
    • Thermal energy balance of the site (Sankey diagrams, data reconciliation if necessary and applicable).
    • Energy conversion, distribution and end-use consumption efficiency analysis, losses identification and quantification, key performance indicators.
    • Metering improvement recommendations (measurement campaign to be carried out if necessary).
  • Pinch analysis at a grey-box level (process-utility interface)
    • Current energy profile and utility delivery.
    • Minimum heating and cooling requirements, penalising heat exchangers, etc.
  • Bottom-up screening of energy saving opportunities from the pinch analysis results and energy consumption analysis (non-binding recommendations)
    • Listing, evaluation (thermo-economic) and prioritisation of opportunities.
  • Optional: input to industrial symbiosis, screening of cluster opportunities.

The study is performed based on site data that are available, collected, measured or estimated. The project aims at delivering first optimisation recommendations that can be prioritised in close collaboration with the INEOS site experts and further elaborated or repeated in a follow-up study, if so decided.


Work plan

The Master thesis is carried out within both an industrial and academic context. The student will first be immersed at the site during a period of 3-5 months, collecting data and carrying out applied research. The remaining time will be spent at EPFL, where the student will deepen and refine the developed methodology, tools and results. The project will make use of the IPESE-developed OSMOSE software, and the prospect of developing/using further methods and tools to reach the set targets is taken into consideration (Matlab, Vali, Aspen, etc.).

A research plan will be defined in the early stages of the work, to be validated by all concerned parties. The student will regularly report progress updates, give feedback and input to the site. Local project leaders and onsite engineers are first lines of contact. Weekly calls with the academic supervisor(s) are required, supported by weekly blog posts. At least once during the internship, the student will present intermediary results to the INEOS and EPFL project leadership team. At the end of the project, the work and recommendations will be written and presented as Master thesis and, after defending, will be reworked in a final industrial report tailor-made for the site. This report will be submitted and presented to the site team in order to finalise the project with the industrial partner.


Required skills

  • Good knowledge of energy systems analysis and heat integration (pinch analysis principles, application and results analysis).
  • Chemical engineering /process knowledge and modelling skills are a plus.
  • Basic coding abilities.
  • Able to work with a certain degree of autonomy, i.e. comfortable with remote academic supervision (during INEOS stay).
  • System-thinker, problem-solver, resourceful.


How to apply

If interested, please send an email to Rafael Amoedo ([email protected]) attaching your CV, Cover Letter and transcript of records (Bachelor’s and Master’s).