Petrobras Refineries Adopt Artificial Intelligence in Torch Control

Source: 8/20/2021, Location: South America

The digital transformation is increasingly present in Petrobras' industrial processes, bringing gains in safety, the environment and energy efficiency. Six refineries have already implemented the Smart Torch. The system combines artificial intelligence and automation to control the quality of gas burning in torches, reduce steam consumption and emissions that generate greenhouse effect. The technology is already present in the refineries Presidente Getúlio Vargas (Repar), Presidente Bernardes (RPBC), Henrique Lage (Revap), Duque de Caxias (Reduc), Capuava (Recap) and Paulinia (Replan).

Developed in a partnership between the Petrobras Research, Development and Innovation Center (Cenpes) and PUC-Rio, with the integrated participation of the Refining and ICT areas, the system provides steam savings, resulting in better energy efficiency, in addition to keep burning safely for the environment. "The gains brought by Smart Torch in refineries are equivalent to the energy supply of a city with about 20 thousand inhabitants, seeking to improve performance and environmental compliance in operations, with safety, cost reduction and increased efficiency, strategic pillars of Petrobras", informs Nicolás Simone, Executive Director of Digital Transformation and Innovation.

The torch, or flare, is essential equipment for a refinery's safety system and used to prevent the discharge of flammable or toxic gases into the atmosphere, carrying out the safe burning of these compounds. For the combustion to be complete and adequate, water vapor is used in a flow proportional to the types of gases that arrive in the torch system. Smart Torch applies image analysis and machine learning techniques with continuous burn imaging. This allows automated monitoring and adjustment of steam injection to the torch in real time.


The development of the Smart Torch with artificial intelligence is part of the RefTOP – World Class Refining program, with the objective of positioning Petrobras among the best oil refining companies in the world. It consists of a set of initiatives that seek to implement improvements to increase the efficiency and operational performance of refineries so that they are more competitive in opening up the country's oil refining market. Investments initially foreseen in RefTOP until 2025 are of approximately US$ 300 million.

The program will promote the intensive use of digital technologies, automation and robotization in refineries, being one of the guidelines for the company's Refining and Natural Gas (RGN) area, together with the Gás + and BioRefino 2030 Program. According to the 2021 Strategic Plan -2025 of Petrobras, this set of initiatives will prepare the company's refining and natural gas activities for an open, competitive market in transition to a low-carbon economy.

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