Various process utilities are used in the petrochemical industry as auxiliary variables to facilitate the
addition/removal of energy to/from the process, power process equipment and inhibit unwanted reaction.
Optimisation activities usually focus on the process itself or on the utility consumption though
the generation and distribution of these utilities are often overlooked in this regard. Many utilities are
prepared or generated far from the process plant and have to be transported or transmitted, giving rise
to more losses and potential inefficiencies. To illustrate the potential benefit of utility optimisation, this
paper explores the control of a dual circuit cooling water system with focus on energy reduction subject
process constraints. This is accomplished through the development of an advanced regulatory control
(ARC) and switching strategy which does not require the development of a system model, only rudimentary
knowledge of the behaviour of the process and system constraints. The novelty of this manuscript
lies in the fact that it demonstrates that significant energy savings can be obtained by applying ARC to
a process utility containing both discrete and continuous dynamics. Furthermore, the proposed ARC strategy
does not require a plant model, uses only existing plant equipment, and can be implemented on control
system hardware commonly used in industry. The simulation results indicate energy saving potential
in the region of 30% on the system under investigation.