Published Papers

Below are a selection of papers written and published by members of the Covey Consulting team.

Biorefineries as sources of fuels and chemicals

Geoff Covey, Bruce Allender, Bronwyn Laycock and Mike O’Shea

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At present, the value of biofuels is such that only large biorefineries are likely to be economic except in special circumstances. Large biorefineries require a large capital investment and thus represent a large commercial risk. However, there are strategic reasons that make it desirable to some companies to enter the biofuel market now. Although the revenue from fuels from biorefineries is relatively low, some of the chemicals that form components of these fuels are of high inherent value. This paper shows that by extracting some chemicals from the products of fast pyrolysis and selling the remainder as fuel, even quite small biorefineries can become economically attractive.

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What is the role of biorefineries

Geoff Covey and Stephen Grist

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In recent years there has been considerable interest in the concept of biorefineries – factories that will use biomass as a feedstock to produce a range of chemicals similar to those currently produced from crude oil in an oil refinery. One point of debate is whether the development of biorefineries will be an opportunity or a threat to the pulp and paper industry.

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Preparing for commissioning

Geoff Covey, Dennis Shore, Reg Harvey and Gerke Faber

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Many projects go well until they enter the commissioning phase and then even comparatively minor problems can cause a disproportionate amount of trouble and delay.

The commissioning stage of the project is the time when delay is most expensive because the plant is paid for but is not yet producing an income. It is also the time when there is the most attention on the project and impatience from above can cause rash decisions to be made in an attempt to minimise the delay.

If the commissioning experience is analysed after the event (which rarely happens) the reasons for the difficulties can usually be traced back to inadequate preparation for commissioning.

This paper will cite various real-life problems that the authors have encountered and show how these might have been avoided, or at least reduced in severity by proper preparation. In every case, it is not simply a matter of ‘being wise after the event’. With proper planning measures could have been in place to address the problem when it arose.

The case studies will also include some for which proper planning in advance did result in avoidance of delays. These cases are often harder to identify because the problems that did not arise or which were solved promptly are simply not noticed or not documented by anyone. This can create difficulties in the next project because the measures which solved problems that did not cause much disruption can readily be omitted.

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Commissioning after major rebuilds and new constructions

Geoff Covey, Dennis Shore, Reg Harvey and Gerke Faber

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ABSTRACT

Commissioning is often the most difficult part of a capital project because although it is almost always possible to construct a plant, until it is complete there will always be some uncertainties about how a one off system will behave.

Unfortunately, planning for commissioning is rarely as thorough as for other stages of the project and there is always pressure to get the finished plant on line as soon as possible.

Further, in many organisations there are a limited number of people with experience of commissioning, because large projects are infrequent.

Together these factors often lead to inefficient and even damaging strategies being applied.

This paper discusses strategies and the development of skills that will usually result in more effective commissioning.

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