Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Valero Energy Corporation, for use of Invensys Operations Management’s patented ACA.HF Advanced Alkylation Measurement Solution. In the first phase, Valero will implement the solution at seven refineries globally.

The Invensys solution monitors and measures hydrofluoric acid levels in real time by analyzing differential responses from online sensors, designed to help improve the safety, reliability and environmental performance of the refinery and create new opportunities to reduce operating costs.

Commonly used in petroleum processing, hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic catalyst that must be carefully managed and controlled. Accurately analyzing how much HF is re-circulating within the process contributes significantly to increasing the efficiency of the refinery because it can improve crude stock yield and associated costs, Invensys Operations Management says. Early approaches to HF monitoring involved taking manual samples and analyzing them in a laboratory. This early approach, even when carefully executed, potentially exposed lab workers to severe toxins, and its accuracy was limited. And while more recent techniques can produce more accurate readings, their adaptation for real-time online monitoring can be complex and costly.

By using real-time online sensors instead of people, Invensys Operations Management’s advanced measurement solution is designed to significantly reduce the possibility of accidental exposure, thereby diminishing the risk to employees and curtailing the potential for environmental hazards. And because it replaces conventional manual laboratory sampling and other types of analysis, it can drastically improve the efficiency of the operation while lowering costs, Invensys says.