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AI sensors keep fuel flowing at Europe’s largest refinery

At the vast Pernis refinery in Rotterdam, where Royal Dutch Shell processes 20m tonnes of crude oil a year, any glitches or unplanned downtime can be costly. The equipment and operating conditions at Europe’s largest refinery are monitored using 50,000 sensors that generate 100,000 measurements a minute. Last year Shell started using machine learning to better analyse and process that data. The model was designed to predict failures in control valves, and it allowed workers to carry out maintenance or adjust operating conditions as needed. Shell has since expanded the programme to 19 assets.


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