Chevron Corporation, one of the world’s largest integrated energy and oil companies, has one of the largest refineries on the West Coast, located near the beach communities of El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, just south of Los Angeles International Airport. In response to community complaints about noise nuisance, it has launched a pilot program to identify and measure possible noise sources originating from or independent of the refinery.
Because Chevron already implements OrbiWise’s LoRaWAN network server (OrbiWAN) within operations around the globe, and whose offer also includes Sampols, the company’s high-performance, low-cost IoT-based solution for environmental noise management, the two companies partnered for the project.
The mission was clear: to set up a permanent and consistent solution collecting and providing noise data from within and outside the refinery.
“The refinery is uniquely sandwiched between two very affluent communities and we have always strived to be a good neighbor”, said Samlall Bisram, Manager, IPS & Technology Innovation at Chevron. “Using noise data to better engage with the community when there are noise complaints is extremely important to our overall goal of not being seen, heard, or smelled”.
The refinery area consists of an approximately four-kilometer square patch of land, where many dozens of sensors were installed. Most sensors were installed inside the refinery itself, around key facilities and dispersed around the plant’s border. Additional sensors were placed in the community areas north and south of the refinery to provide a perspective of noise in surrounding neighborhoods.
Chevron personnel can easily view the resulting data on a simple, color-coded map interface displaying noise occurrences as green, yellow or red — a range from safe to unacceptable levels.
This has provided a new level insight into noise sources originating in the refinery or from the surrounding communities, such as where petroleum products are transported from the railroad spur, or from community road construction. As the project unfolds, Chevron and OrbiWise hope to use the sensors not just for monitoring purposes, but also for predictive maintenance, where abnormal sounds can be detected from machines that need attention before a severe noise nuisance occurs or to prevent damage to facility equipment.