The client is a multi-site sugar producer on Australia’s east coast that utilises biomass (including crushed sugar cane) to produce steam for wholesale electricity generation and also process heat for co-located sugar mills.
The client has multiple complex operational and financial constraints to consider when dispatching the sites. While there is a steady supply of biomass during the sugar crush season, for the rest of the year, the client must procure and manage fuel stockpiles carefully. Within each site, there are demands for different steam types and multiple ways of supplying this steam. Furthermore, the sites share a common financial position which is managed by coordinating the power generation of each facility.
Before engaging Polymathian, dispatch decisions were based on rules of thumb and ad-hoc modelling of asset ramping to follow power price forecasts. During the sugar crush season, steam demand was paramount and would often impact power production. For the rest of the year, power generation was timed to approximately align with periods of high power prices.
Using historical data to model the client’s operations, it was demonstrated how the use of a continuous, real-time optimisation platform would have resulted in a gross margin increase of 13% during the crush season and 28% during the non-crush seasons. This was achieved through:
Following on from the sizing study, the client is currently evaluating the following VOLT modules:
In effect, the VOLT platform is capable of becoming a single source of truth for the business. This will reduce key person risk, allows stakeholders to run scenarios rapidly and operators to dispatch efficiently.