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2, MAY 2008 399

Peak Load Management in Electrolytic

Process Industries
C. A. Babu and S. Ashok, Senior Member, IEEE

AbstractElectrolytic process, employed for manufacturing demand deficit faced by the utilities. LM programs focus on re-
basic chemicals like caustic soda and chlorine, is highly energy ducing customer use at the time of high utility system loads.
intensive. Due to escalating costs of fossil fuels and capacity The goal is to avoid or defer the construction of generation fa-
addition, the electricity cost has been increasing for the last few
decades. Electricity intensive industries find it very difficult to cope cilities that would be operated for relatively few hours per year,
up with higher electricity charges particularly with time-of-use by strategic shifting of customer loads. Load management ac-
(TOU) tariffs implemented by the utilities with the objective of tivities are designed to influence customers, in order to flatten
flattening the load curve. Load management programs focusing the shape of load curve of the utility company, so as to generate
on reduced electricity use at the time of utilitys peak demand, by power in an optimal manner.
strategic load shifting, is a viable option for industries to reduce
their electricity cost. This paper presents an optimization model Industrial sector consumes about 41% of the total electrical
and formulation for load management for electrolytic process energy generated on a worldwide basis [2]. Situation in Indian
industries. The formulation utilizes mixed integer nonlinear industrial sector is also not different, as it accounts for about
programming (MINLP) technique for minimizing the electricity 35% of the electrical energy consumption. Since the industries
cost and reducing the peak demand, by rescheduling the loads, consume a significant proportion of the total electrical energy
satisfying the industry constraints. The case study of a typical
causticchlorine plant shows that a reduction of about 19% in generated, load management in industrial sector assumes an im-
the peak demand with a corresponding saving of about 3.9% in portant role in peak demand management.
the electricity cost is possible with the optimal load scheduling Among the various sub sectors, electrolytic process industry
under TOU tariff. consumes approximately 17% of the total industrial electricity
Index TermsElectrolytic process industries, load scheduling,
consumption in India [3]. Electrolytic process is used to manu-
mixed integer nonlinear programming (MINLP), time-of-use facture caustic soda, chlorine and extraction of aluminium and
(TOU) tariff. zinc metals. Caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and chlorine are
manufactured by the electrolysis of salt brine using mainly by
membrane and mercury cell technology, but due to environ-
I. INTRODUCTION mental regulations only membrane cell process is being pro-
moted at present. The process is energy intensive and electricity
cost accounts for almost 60% of the total production cost. In
comparison to other chemical industries, specific electrical en-

D EMAND for electricity is growing globally at a rate higher

than that of economic growth. The electricity consump-
tion rate continues to increase with the standard of living and
ergy consumption of the sector is very high, approximately 2800
kWh/ton for membrane cell process.
Considering the complexities and constraints of the process, a
technological advancements. Consequent to this, the electricity detailed modeling and optimization incorporating the nonlinear
supply industry is unable to keep pace with the increasing de- characteristics of the industrial loads is needed for applying
mands causing energy shortage and peak demand deficits, in LM techniques to the industrial sector. Industrial load manage-
many developing countries. For example with the present in- ment (ILM) activities are aimed at economic reduction of elec-
stalled capacity of about 128 500 MW, the Indian power system trical demand during utilitys peak generation periods without
is experiencing an energy shortage of 9% with a peak demand affecting the specified production. ILM applications have been
deficit of about 14% [1]. reported for utilities using interruptible load control schemes
In accordance with the customers preferences, there can be [4]. Application of TOU tariff rate as viable load management
considerable variations in electric power usage pattern with time option to address peak demand deficit have been reported in the
of day, day of week and season of the year. Consequent to this, literature [5], [6].
there will be valleys and peaks in the utility system load curve. A nonlinear model developed to obtain electrical demand
In order to meet the higher demand during the peak hours, the behaviors of the electrolytic cell in a typical aluminium smelter
utility has to increase its generation capacity and to operate plant has been presented [7]. The electrolytic cell is modeled
the costly peak generating units. Load management (LM) has through a system of nonlinear equations adjusted from the
emerged as an effective and viable technique to handle the peak data collected. Essentially the model is aimed at improving
the energy efficiency of the electrolytic cell and it does not
consider other electrical equipments connected to the plant. A
Manuscript received June 5, 2007; revised December 19, 2007. Paper no. distributed decision making system for integrated optimization
The authors are with the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, India. of production scheduling and distribution planning for an alu-
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPWRS.2008.920732 minum rolling processing line is reported [8]. A comprehensive
0885-8950/$25.00 2008 IEEE

methodology for the dynamic modeling of aqueous electrolyte The entire manufacturing process is split into sub-
systems involving solid, liquid and vapor phases has been pre- processes based on the controllability of processes. Each
sented [9]. The dynamic behavior of the electrolytic process is subprocess is considered as a single load, which is controlled
expressed as a mixed set of differential and algebraic equations separately under load management action. The decision vari-
and characterized using entirely generic modeling principles. able is the fractional loading of the electrical equipment of
Data-driven modeling technique has been applied to the in- th subprocess at any interval such that
dustrial grinding operation of a leadzinc ore beneficiation
plant, to predict the output variables and key performance indi-
cators [10]. Most of these models reported for electrolytic and if the electrical equipment of
other process industries are, centered on process scheduling to subprocess is off" in the interval (2)
achieve the targeted production subject to the plant constraints
if the electrical equipment of
and does not address the problem of peak demand reduction.
A methodology for collecting end-use demand data for subprocess is on" in the interval (3)
devising demand-side management programs in the commer-
cial sector has been reported [11]. As the model developed The variation of power factor and efficiency of electrical
is aimed at peak demand reduction of commercial sector like equipment under each subprocess with load has been modeled
hotels and does not cover the intricacies of industrial loads, it using quadratic fit using manufacturers data. The power factor
is inadequate for ILM applications. A methodology developed and efficiency of the electrical equipment under th
to achieve peak utility load reduction in batch processes of an subprocess at any interval is obtained as
industrial brewery has been reported [12]. The optimization
modal developed for batch process cannot be directly applied
to continuous process industries. An optimization formulation (4)
using mixed integer programming for load side demand control (5)
has been reported [13]. As it does not include storage and
process constraints it cannot be directly applied to process where , , , and are coefficients of the electrical equip-
industries. A general approach to solve the optimal contracting ment of any subprocesses .
capacity for a petrochemical plant with an in-house cogen- The electrical power input in kW to the th subprocess
eration system has been discussed [14]. The comprehensive at any interval is
analysis of time-of-use (TOU) rates with the penalty charge is
formulated into a mixed problem of the optimal contracting
and optimum operation. The model optimizes the operation of (6)
cogeneration plant to the peak demand and hence the electricity
cost. where is the rated capacity of the electrical equipment of
In continuation to the physical models proposed in previous subprocess in kW.
papers, a load model with an optimization formulation for load Maximum demand (MD) in kVA of any subprocess at any
scheduling is proposed in this paper. The model can be ap- interval is
plied to decide the optimal operating strategies of industries em-
ploying electrolytic process. Nonlinear characteristics of indus-
trial loads have been considered in the formulation. Provision (7)
for the time differentiated tariff rate, both for maximum demand
and energy, followed by utilities has been incorporated in the Maximum demand of the entire plant in kVA at any interval is
proposed model. The formulation utilizes mixed integer non- computed as
linear programming technique and considers the process, pro-
duction, storage and maximum demand constraints. Hence it
can be extended to any type of continuous process industries,
as the model proposed is a generalized one.

Therefore the registered maximum demand (for the billing pe-

II. MATHEMATICAL FORMULATION riod, usually one month) of the plant in kVA
The formulation is based on discrete time representation [15]
and the time horizon of interest (say one day) is split into (9)
intervals of equal duration (for example 30 min). For any
interval In order to facilitate the billing by a time-differentiated tariff,
both for maximum demand and energy, the time horizon (24 h
of a day) is partitioned into several time slots as decided by the
(1) utility company. At present TOU tariffs with three or four time
slots are followed by utilities [16], [17]. As a general case, the

time horizon is partitioned to three slots: normal time, peak time where is the maximum demand of the plant in kVA,
and off peak time. recorded during the off peak time period and is the incen-
Normal time period: tive factor, which indicates the incentive, offered by the utility
for exceeding the maximum demand limit during off peak hours.
The incentive factor is a measure of concession offered by the
(10) utility to encourage valley filling during off peak hours and it
is expressed as a fraction of base demand charge. As a gen-
eral case, if the tariff offers incentive for the maximum demand
where is the number of time intervals during the normal time recorded during the off peak time period without any limit, the
period. excess demand factor can be set to zero.
Peak time period: The maximum demand charge during the billing period

The objective of load shifting operation is to minimize the
where is the number of time intervals during the peak time. electricity cost satisfying the production, storage and maximum
Off peak time period: demand constraints. The objective function minimizing the
monthly electricity cost is

Maximum demand charge for the normal time period
where is the time of operation of the electrical equipment of
th subprocess for any interval , number of days in a month
(13) and the cost of energy (Rs. /kWh) for the interval .
Production constraint to ensure that specified minimum pro-
where is the base maximum demand charge (Rs. /kVA), duction level is achieved in the time period under considera-
during the billing period. tion is
Maximum demand charge for the peak time period

where is the maximum demand of the plant in kVA,
where is the production rate of the subprocess in the
recorded during the peak period and is the excess demand
interval .
factor, which gives an indication of the restriction imposed by
Production during the time period under consideration shall
the utility on maximum demand during peak hours. Since most
not exceed the total storage capacity of the plant and it is ensured
of the industries are subjected to peak demand restrictions,
specifies the extent of peak demand limit, expressed as a frac-
tion of maximum demand during normal hours. If there is no
restriction for the maximum demand, the excess demand factor
is set to zero. (19)
The penalty factor indicates the penal rate imposed by the
utility for the maximum demand during peak period. If the in-
dustry is subjected to peak demand restriction, represents the where is the storage capacity of th storage and the
penalty, for exceeding the maximum demand limit during peak number of storages.
hours. In TOU tariff, there shall be a penalty provision in which In order to ensure an uninterrupted flow of certain minimum
the maximum demand is charged at higher rate than the base de- quantity of raw material between subprocesses, specified oper-
mand charge, to encourage peak demand reduction. The penalty ational sequence has to be followed. The condition for the start
factor specifies the penal charge, expressed as a fraction of base of th subprocess at an interval after intervals from the start
demand charge. of th subprocess can be modeled as
Maximum demand charge for the off peak time period


where is defined as


In continuous process industries, especially in electrolytic

process, the quality of the raw material flowing through the pro-
duction stream is an important parameter. Considering as a gen-
eral case, it can be modeled as

for to (23)

where is the impurity content in the raw material flowing

through the th subprocess at any interval , the maximum
limit of impurities in the th raw material and the number of
raw materials.
In order to maintain production, a specified minimum quan-
tity of raw material flow has to be maintained. This can be en-
sured by the constraint

Fig. 1. Process flow diagram.

for to (24)

where is the flow rate of raw material flowing through the

are the presence of nonconvex and nonsmooth relations in the
th subprocess at any interval and is the minimum flow rate
model. The deterministic global solver [18], used to solve the
of th raw material.
model can overcome these difficulties. The solver searches
Since most of the industries are subjected to peak demand re-
via branch-and-bound until the global optimum is confirmed.
strictions and they are also not supposed to exceed the contract
The approach is based on first converting the original problem
demand at any point of time, maximum demand limit is an im-
into several linear/convex sub problems. By using a cut-
portant factor to be considered in load scheduling. Maximum
ting-edge convex interval and algebraic (CIA) analysis and
demand of the entire plant in kVA at any interval
branch-and-bound technique, an exhaustive search is performed
over these sub problems, for the global solution. A distinc-
tive feature of the solver is that it supports a wide range of
(25) mathematical functions including the nonsmooth functions like
maximization problem.
where is the maximum demand limit in kVA, imposed by
the utility at any interval . III. CASE STUDY
The solution to the above MINLP formulation for minimizing The case study of a typical caustic-chlorine plant in the state
the electricity cost satisfying the constraints, provides the op- of Kerala, India, is used to illustrate the methodology proposed.
timal operating strategy for a given production capacity under The connected load of the plant is 40 MW with a contract de-
specified electricity tariff rate. mand of 25 MVA at 110 KV from Kerala State Electricity Board
(KSEB) grid. Average daily electricity consumption is about
A. Solution Strategy for the MINLP Problem 400 MWh with specific energy consumption in the industry is
The MINLP problems combine all the difficulties of both about 2600 kWh/t. Using the membrane cell technology, caustic
of their subclasses; the combinatorial nature of mixed integer soda is produced by the electrolysis of super saturated salt brine.
programs (MIP) and the difficulty in solving nonconvex (and Hydrogen and chlorine gases are the byproducts. Compressed
even convex) nonlinear programs (NLP). The problem becomes chlorine gas is bottled in high-pressure cylinders. Hydrogen and
more complex with the presence of maximization term in the ob- chlorine gases are combined in a controlled atmosphere to pro-
jective function. In conventional nonlinear solvers, the branch- duce hydrochloric acid. Simplified process flow diagram of the
and-bound (B&B) starts out forming a pure continuous NLP plant is shown in Fig. 1.
problem by dropping the integrality requirements of the dis- It is a continuous process plant, operates in three shifts with
crete variables (often called the relaxed MINLP or RMINLP). a production capacity of 150 t per day. Load curve of the plant
Each node of the emerging B&B tree represents a solution of for a typical day, for the existing operation, is shown in Fig. 2.
the RMINLP with adjusted bounds on the discrete variables. The rectifier, which feeds the dc current to electrolytic cells,
Important reasons for the failure of conventional nonlinear accounts for more than 90% of the total electrical load of the
solvers in finding the global optimum solutions of MINLPs plant. As the caustic soda production is directly proportional to


Demand differential rate: For the demand during peak period in excess of 60% of the demand during normal period, the rate shall be 180% of the base MD
charge. For the demand during off peak period in excess of 60% of the demand during normal period, the rate shall be 75% of the base MD charge.


Fig. 2. Load curves.

the dc load fed to the electrolytic cells, by varying the rectifier

load from 0%100%, the production can be varied in the same
proportion. Tariff 2), and a demand flat and energy differential tariff (Tariff
For the extra high tension industrial consumers, KSEB fol- 3) are shown in Table II. Comparison of load curves for existing
lows differential pricing system for both energy and maximum operation and load scheduling under these different tariffs are
demand, the details of which are given in Table I. Tariff 1 is the shown in Fig. 2.
prevailing tariff for the industry. The utility has already included It can be seen that under the prevailing tariff (Tariff 1), the
caustic soda manufacturing in the group of power intensive in- load rescheduling will result in an annual saving of Rs.15.93
dustries and they are intending to charge the industries under this million (3.97%) in the electricity cost. The peak demand gets
sector as per the provisions of the power intensive tariff (Tariff reduced from 16.90 MVA to 13.64 MVA (19.3%). The response
2). For comparison purpose the impact of load scheduling under to load scheduling operation under power intensive tariff (Tariff
a demand flat and energy differential tariff (Tariff 3) followed by 2) is more encouraging. Monthly electricity cost gets reduced
another state owned utility in India, is also evaluated. from Rs. 50.11 million to Rs. 45.57 million. It results in an an-
The optimization model as per (17) is developed, based on nual saving of Rs. 54.48 million (9%). The optimal schedule
the equipment and process data, given in Fig. 1. The corre- results in peak demand reduction by 17%. Since the industry
sponding MINLP formulation, for minimizing the electricity is already classified as power intensive and has to pay the elec-
cost, with 970 variables and 1495 constraints, is solved using tricity charge as per Tariff 2 in due course, the saving achieved is
Hyper LINGO [19]. significant. In respect of demand flat tariff (Tariff 3), consequent
to load rescheduling, monthly electricity cost gets reduced from
IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Rs. 36.28 million to Rs. 36.13 million. Even though the annual
Results of load scheduling operation under three different tar- saving in electricity cost achieved is not significant, the optimal
iffstwo demand and energy differential tariffs (Tariff 1 and schedule results in a peak demand reduction of about 18%.

Fig. 3. Effect of penalty factor on peak demand. Fig. 4. Effect of targeted production on peak demand.

The sensitivity of peak demand to the variation of penalty

factor is found out and shown in Fig. 3. Penalty factor indi-
cates the extent of penalty imposed by the utility, for exceeding
the maximum demand limit during peak hours. It can be seen
that, when is increased beyond a certain point, the peak de-
mand gradually gets reduced from the maximum limit imposed.
When is further increased the peak demand settles down at the
lowest possible value and remains almost constant. This hap-
pens because the plant has to maintain the specified production
level. The value of peak demand, which remains insensitive to
penalty factor, can be termed as critical penalty factor. Any at-
tempt to increase the penalty factor beyond this critical point, re-
sults in increased revenue of the utility company alone, without
any reduction in peak demand. Fig. 5. Impact of load scheduling on utilitys system load curve.
In the case of Tariff 1, it can be seen that the peak demand
gets reduced, if is increased beyond 0.4 and settles down to
the lowest possible value at 1.1. As the existing value of under production beyond the critical production of 41.6%, the peak
this tariff is 0.8, the scope for further increase in penalty factor demand increases gradually, and reaches the value of maximum
is limited. limit specified.
In respect of Tariff 2, the peak demand starts getting reduced Since Tariff 3 is a demand flat and energy differential tariff, it
at a penalty factor of 0.936 and settles down to the lowest value, can be seen that, the peak demand increases more rapidly when
at the critical penalty factor of 1.5. Since the existing value of the targeted production is increased beyond the critical produc-
is 2.6, very much above the critical value, there is no scope tion of 33.3%. Also it is observed that, unlike the other two tar-
for further increase in penalty factor. Tariff 3 is a demand flat iffs, the peak demand reaches the maximum value at targeted
and energy differential tariff and it can be seen that, the peak production of 80%. Hence it can be inferred that, the peak de-
demand starts getting reduced at a penalty factor of 1.26 and mand is more sensitive to the increase in targeted production
settles down to the lowest value, at the critical penalty factor of under Tariff 3.
1.6. Since the existing value of (for energy only) is 0.37, there Attempt has been made to assess the impact of load sched-
is much scope for further increase in penalty factor. Under this uling on the utilitys load curve, in the event of all major process
tariff, it is observed that the peak demand is least sensitive to industries resorting to the optimal operating strategy. It is esti-
increase in penalty factor. mated that, the industries coming under this category accounts
The sensitivity of peak demand to the production target is for about 26% of total electrical energy consumption in the
examined and shown in Fig. 4. In respect of all the three tar- state of Kerala, India [20]. The utilitys load curve on a typ-
iffs under consideration, it is found that the peak demand in- ical day has been plotted from the data collected. The average
creases if the targeted production is increased beyond a certain system peak demand is about 2580 MW and contribution of
point called critical production. Until this point, the system is major process industries towards peak demand is about 677
able to keep the peak demand at the lowest possible value, by MW. The effect of load scheduling operation on the utilitys
adjusting the load during other time periods (normal and off load curve is shown in Fig. 5. It can be seen that the peak de-
peak) to maintain the targeted production. Since both Tariff 1 mand of the utility company gets reduced by 146 MW (5.7%).
and Tariff 2 are energy and demand differential tariffs, any in- Consequent to the optimal scheduling of the industrial loads,
crease in targeted production result in increase in peak demand a considerable amount of load has been shifted from the utilitys
in almost same pattern. It is seen that, for the increase in targeted peak to off peak period, resulting in valley filling. At an average,

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The authors would like to thank M/s Travancore Cochin
C. A. Babu received the M.Tech. degree from Cochin University of Science and
Chemicals Ltd., Cochin, India, for providing the plant data. Technology (CUSAT), Cochin, India.
After acquiring a few years of industrial experience, he joined CUSAT as a
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