The Smart City Podcast

The Dramatic Impacts of First Principle Chemistry with Lisa Williams of OLI Systems - Live from the ARC Americas Forum 2022

August 22, 2022 The Smart Cities Team at ARC Advisory Group Season 7 Episode 11
The Smart City Podcast
The Dramatic Impacts of First Principle Chemistry with Lisa Williams of OLI Systems - Live from the ARC Americas Forum 2022
Show Notes Transcript

A recent discussion with Lisa Williams of OLI Systems  and ARC’s Jim Frazer explored the expanding details of first principle chemistry and its applications in plant operations. This new approach uses the science that did post mortems on equipment to now perform prevention and detection of corrosion and scaling.

 Lisa describes a new approach in detail, one where operators are informed over a specific pressure and temperature range, that certain types of conditions will occur.  As an example, precipitation of minerals coming out for scaling, when you get to a certain pressure and temperature, they're going to start to form in the pipes thus you lose capacity and you lose efficiency. Similarly, with regard to corrosion, you will know when you start to have a corrosive environment, when you start to deplete the metal inside of the piece of equipment, before you have a loss.

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Jim Frazer  

Welcome again to the Smart Cities Podcast. Today we're broadcasting live from the Arc Forum here in Orlando, Florida. We have a very fascinating subject and guest today. Our topic is first principle chemistry simulation. And our guest is Lisa Williams of O L AI systems. Welcome, Lisa,

 

Lisa Williams  

thank you very much for having me here.

 

Jim Frazer  

What's great, it's great to have you just get started with a foundational question. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to this chemical chemistry simulation ecosystem?

 

Lisa Williams  

Sure. So I've spent the last year working with OLI, and OLI themselves have a very rich history of scientific research. You know, bringing that first principal chemistry simulation to the customer. They've done the research, they've worked in the r&d areas, simulation areas, and really provided it to this smaller niche, almost boutique group of folks. But in this last year, they made the decision to go ahead and expand that out to the operations area. So being able to take those new those chemistry insights that maybe they used to use as a post mortem on a piece of equipment, and bring them over to the operation side to do prevented prevention and detection of corrosion and scaling.

 

Jim Frazer  

That is fascinating. What are the challenges in this domain.

 

 

Lisa Williams  

So right now, you've got a lot of empirical type analytics out there, they're taking all this information, and they're doing correlations and trying to find patterns. But we're using first principles, analytics, - this is science based information. So trying to help customers understand the difference, and be able to see the value of that, for example, prediction of a corrosive environment occurring in my system right now, I need to take action now to correct it before I damage it. So stop driving while looking behind and start driving looking ahead. Same with scaling.

 

Jim Frazer  

So for those of for those in our audience that might not understand a first principle, can you just give us a basic overview of that? And what why is that important?

 

Lisa Williams  

 

Sure. So on first principles, what we've done is taken a set of data, and we've actually regressed that. So that we can say these are the conditions that are occurring, you know, through a range, and then these are the chemical reactions that are going to happen. So this is science based, right. This is, again, not correlation. So we're able to say that, you know, given us a specific set of water, over a pressure and temperature range, these are the type of conditions that are going to occur. So precipitation of minerals coming out for scaling, let's say, when you get to a certain pressure and temperature, they're going to start to form on the pipes clog it up, you lose capacity, you lose efficiency, and vice versa on the corrosion, right, you start to have a corrosive environment, you start to deplete the metal inside of the piece of equipment, and then you have a loss.

 

Jim Frazer  

So how does that differ from correlation again, for our listeners?

 

Lisa Williams  

 

So the difference there is I'm putting into exact words, what's going to happen? It's not what's has happened. So it's more looking ahead,based on science based on so there is no ambiguity or probability here is what will happen. Correct? 

 

Jim Frazer  

 

How does ally systems use all of this technology in various verticals?

 

Lisa Williams  

 

So we've got a couple examples that we've been working through recently and showing the customers on the scaling and corrosion side. One of our real powerful ones is overhead crude unit, right? We're being able to take the water analysis, the pressure and temperature and create integrity operating windows out of that to say, here's where you should be driving the plant for the amount of washwater that you need and the temperatures that you want to run so that you don't crow. Create a corrosive environment in that overhead unit. Because once that line is gone, Your units down. And that it's a very costly problem for customers. So being able to help them drive the plant tighter. So normally they're getting these predictions in these operating windows, they're only a year old, right or they're a year old, I should say they get them once a year, they're not getting them very frequently. But if they're actually able to see them in near real time on their dashboard, unable to see that the unit is becoming corrosive, they're able to correct it quickly. Trying to quantify it, in addition to that, what has happened since my last turn around, right? So you just put in my technology, I don't have to learn your stuff. I don't have to sit and watch it for six months to figure out what's going to happen. Because it is first principles, I can go and tell you what has happened since your last turn around. How many times have you put that plan to corrosive environment? And how much have you depleted from that right, get those corrosion rates going? And tell you? Are you going to make that seven year goal for your turnaround? Maybe not, you need to start now moving from unplanned maintenance, to start planning and scheduling the maintenance early so that you don't have a loss, right? You want to keep that plan either running or down. You don't want to have the transient of it coming down on its own. Right.

 

Jim Frazer  

Lisa, you focused on scaling and corrosion? Are there other applications that chemistry simulation is used

 

 

for? 

 


Lisa Williams  

Yeah, it's a great question. So soft sensors for pH, we're able to predict pH and these environments with a higher accuracy and reliability than most probes. Probes are, you know, they get fouled, they get corrosion on them. And we're able to actually use the lab data in those pressure and temperature and a section of the pipe or the piece of equipment and be able to tell you what that pH is consistently. So that you can have a better insight into there. And that goes into dosing and stuff too. Right. So maybe make mixing a batch in a reactor, I'm able to forecast or predict I should say, what the pH is and what your target is, and how much of the additives you need to put in.

 

Jim Frazer  

Within, I mean, I could see broad applicability across all process industries. But you know, which ones really embrace this, I would think it's sort of more forward looking

 

 

industries. 

 

Lisa Williams  We're doing a lot right now in the sustainability area, especially, you know, thinking about the processes that contribute to sustainability. So we need batteries. So we're working a lot with lithium processing and trying to do that in a cleaner way and do the recovery because again, we're aqueous chemistry, right? So we want to get this out of the water, we got geothermal and things like that, that we're, you know, helping to do the forecast for, when's the right time to go collect that stuff out of your out of the system?

 

Jim Frazer  

That's, that's very fascinating. Can you talk about so this would be geothermal plants and

 

 

some of the research is coming online now.

 

Lisa Williams  

 We're looking at supporting them on design basis, as well as the continuous operation

 

Jim Frazer  

fascinating. 

 

Lisa Williams  

And as well as recovering lithium in the water supply. In the recycling, yeah. And the recycling part of that. Yep. Is on understand. So that's, that's pushing my limits a little bit, because I'm on the automation side. So you know, we can certainly learn more from the from our scientists on stuff.

 

Jim Frazer  

Yeah, I mean, back to, you know, the process control industry. It's, you know, what are the major markets that you see, for first principal chemistry simulation,

 

Lisa Williams  

 

our strongest competitor are not competitors as strong as customers right now our oil and gas, right, so it's, you know, scaling and corrosion and upstream chemical dosing and upstream, being able to tell them what they need to put in the well, in order, you know, what the well situation is, so that they can put in the right things, you know, the corrosive environment inside of crude overhead and a couple of the other units again, it has to have, you know, X amount of water in there for us to be able to work with it and industrial wastewater. Trying to think of some of the other ones off the top of my head all the sudden, but lithium, see mining, power utilities, anything but a heat exchanger, right? Being able to help you understand what's happening inside of that heat exchanger in a chemical sense, so that you can get back your efficiency, right? Because you are my pig, or we are trying to exchange that if you got failing inside. How do you treat it? And that's where we can help with that as well.

 

Jim Frazer  

Great. No, we would perhaps remiss that early in our session today. We didn't talk about really the history of OLI very much. Can you perhaps give us a background about OLI and in the past, how have they evolved? What products do they have? As well as perhaps moving to your what do you see for the future? Sure.

 

Lisa Williams  

 

So Oh, Ally has been around for a little over 50 years now. They've done all the scientific research to map around 6000 species against at periodic elements or elements in the periodic table and What the reaction is between those for corrosion and scaling? Right? That's, that's the most significant database that's been built out there for this type of work. So with that, we have the stream analyzer and ROI studio product that does that basic, you know, what's going to happen here is it going to precipitate, then we have scale cam, which is a more detailed blocks for the scaling, we have corrosion analyzer, exactly what it sounds like. And then we have the flow sheet ESP tool. And this allows you to actually build a process and look at the corrosion and scaling inside of that. So that's what they've been doing for the last few years building that up. Recently, they've you know, they've mainly stayed in the in the r&d simulation Group Type areas, but they've seen you know, what, what's happening out there with digital twins and digital transformation. So they built their new cloud API's. And they took each of those pieces of software and turn them into an individual REST based API that's, you know, addressable as an endpoint. Now, you're able to automate those. So it's not just run once put in new parameters, run it again, it's actually running, you know, upwards of 30,000 calculations a day against maybe your 80,000 wells, and being able to do that consistently for your customers or for your flow assurance, and that's on the small end, right? This is scalable, it's all in the cloud. So they are looking forward to, you know, what the future is with digital twins and providing that information and seeing that operations can benefit greatly from these monitoring type situations when we employ the cloud.

 

Jim Frazer  

That's, that's a fascinating application. I'd like to learn more about it. So can you talk a little bit more about the oil wells? And do I get, you know, what type of updates do I get in terms of data points per oil? Well, daily, weekly, monthly?

 

Lisa Williams  

 

So some of that depends on what you're providing to us. Right? So are you do you have good temperature and pressure indicators on that? Well, how often are you taking water samples, some of them are, may be, you know, pretty frequent, you know, once a month, some of them may only be every six months. But if the pressure and temperature are changing, you can still run the simulation analysis, because it's still going, it's going to change what precipitates out of the liquid, regardless of you know, if you've got a new lab value or not. So being able to continuously watch that is a good thing. Now, the length of time that you would want to do, it's just dependent on the solution you're trying to build. It could be you run it every two minutes on a crude overhead unit so that you can see that better. But on a well, you might only run these things once a day, right? You run it through once a day, just to see what is the buildup. And that's just it. It's how much by pound of scale is built up in this well, and what kind what's the species is a cow side? All right, what all these different things that can be building up in that. And that allows, again, the flow assurance engineers to have new insight, it allows the chemical vendors to do the treatments, more accurately using less chemicals, helping them to become more sustainable for the environment, right, less chemicals being poured down here is a good thing. Right? So being able to accurately target that. Yeah, indeed,

 

Jim Frazer  

I need to go back and ask you. I was a bit surprised when you mentioned the word species. Of course, I defaulted, like most people to it's an animal.

 

Lisa Williams  

 

I did too, when I first started, right. That wasn't my background.

 

Jim Frazer  

And I just learned that there are many species of scale.

 

Lisa Williams  

 

Yeah, it's all those minerals and stuff that are in the water. It's things that are in the water.

 

Jim Frazer  

And I mean, now I go back to an earlier comment that that oh, well, I documented how many of these species 6000.

 

Lisa Williams  

 

And their reactivity, or they behave against 80 different items from the periodic table?

 

Jim Frazer  

That's, that's fascinating. Out of all these 6000, do they? Are they on a continuum? Or are they actually standalone? Like compounds? For that not

 

Lisa Williams  

 

AI? We'd have to call the scientist for that part of it. Yeah, that's, that's the edge of my knowledge there. Yeah. It's just fascinating.

 

Jim Frazer  

If I'm, can you talk a little bit about now that you mentioned that you have some applications that might be sampled every two minutes? I'm guessing that's not a manual process.

 

Lisa Williams  

 

Correct? Does not work. So we're working with our customers to use what they have today. I don't want to put in a new platform, I want to be your trusted engine in the cloud. I'll consume the data and the costs that you want, I'll run them, and I'll send them back to you. I don't I'm not going to store your data. I'm not going to keep your data. It's all yours. We don't want to add a platform. So we work with the customer to see what they have today. And tailor their solution. This could be integration with your data historian your data lake, you could have you know, some of the new digital twin platforms have API connectivity built right in we may need to help you with some writing some Python and these are all skill sets that are Muto ally, but having you know I found in the industry for a long time, but now come to Oh ally so that we can enable our customers with that.

 

Jim Frazer  

So within OLI, if I'm if I as a as a customer need a solution? Is it for that low latency rapid update, rapid test scenario? Is that always a cloud based solution or some are or that cannot be had by a standalone?

 

Lisa Williams  

 

But currently, we're, we're Software as a Service. So we're purely in the cloud,

 

Jim Frazer  

which makes sense in 2022.

 

Lisa Williams  

 

I mean, that's the industry direction that, you know, on premise is certainly not, you know, you don't get the rapid updates, you don't get the rapid fixes. You don't get the new chemistries quickly, when they get published, you got to wait and install those. We're maintaining the system, we're, you know, reducing that burden on it.

 

Jim Frazer  

Are you? Are you delivering an edge device to that customer for that reading? Or is all the calculation being done in the cloud back at

 

 

your place? All the occasion, all the calculations are being done in the cloud?

 

Lisa Williams  

 Yes. We definitely strive to look forward, you know, at the edge devices? And can we be one of the modules that they contact? And send us that email, send us those packages, so that the information gets set up and then sent to us to bring in and reset? And, you know, what do you do it? Calibrate equipment, so, you know, on a skid, etc, create those integrity, operating windows for the control network basically, get validated back on their way back in from the edge and then used into the system? That would be our ultimate goal, something I'm looking for new partners to handle with us?

 

Jim Frazer  

Great. Well, I mean, we I think we answered part of my next question, but you're What do you see for the future?

 

Lisa Williams  

 

For the future, we really come on and concentrate on making the best chemistry simulation, I don't want to make the best visualization and don't want to make the best of these data platforms. I want to work with those partners in order to bring our best chemistry simulation to them, and then use those for our customers so that our customers don't have to pick one technology and run with it. We can work with all of them. Right? All the different data historians, visualization packages, we want to be very agnostic in that. And we are today, right? We have what on our desktop, on desktop products. Many of the process simulations actually have our alliance engine, we're agnostic, we're in Aspen, we're in KBC, we're in Honeywell, we're in all of those, they can enable the overlay technology through there on the desktop. But again, that's run once and done, right? That's not automated. So finding new partners that want to work with us on their platforms, their automated platforms to bring us in. So.

 

Jim Frazer  

So to build your ecosystem, you're, of course you're looking for the end user customers, you're looking for platform providers,

 

 

as well as new ones that the customers may not have yet. 

 

Lisa Williams  

Right. When the customer doesn't have a platform where they work in particular, yeah.

 

Jim Frazer  

We're nearing the end of our time together today. Do you have any last words for our audience?

 

Lisa Williams  

 

Well, you know, thank you to ARC for being here. And putting on the conference this week. It's been really good. It's been nice to be back in persons Good to see the enthusiasm, the change in the message coming from the vendors in the realization that they have, we all have to work together. And that we have to jointly come together to the customer and present our solutions as something that's been a real powerful, I'd say almost sub message. I don't know that was something that was necessarily supposed to be out there target, but it's definitely coming through strong, and I look forward to seeing more of that and want Oli to be a big part of that.

 

Jim Frazer  

Well, thank you, Lisa, for joining us today on the Smarter podcast here in Orlando. Before we go, can you provide us your contact information if someone in the audience would like to reach out to you?

 

 

Lisa Williams  

Sure. So Lisa Williams, at OLI systems, you can reach us on the web. We've got our contact page, it's an OLI systems.com Or you can find me on LinkedIn, Lisa Williams with Oli systems.

 

Jim Frazer  

Well, thank you again, listen, thank you to all our listeners out there. This has been our conversation recently with OLI systems. We look forward to seeing you again on a future episode of Smart City podcast. Thanks,