Natural Gas Consumption Analysis Reveals Savings Opportunities
Can a bakery burn less gas with the same equipment? Statistical analysis of consumption data may provide an answer. The good news is that bakers do not need to do it themselves.
“We couldn’t explain a ‘hiccup’ in sub-metering data from our bread oven in our Sudbury bakery,” says Darren Borden, Energy Management Engineer at Weston Foods (Canada) Inc. “Sub metering alone didn’t identify an issue, but only indicated a change point. The site behaved differently between summer and winter operations. “
We worked with Weston Foods to look at the consumption data and, using statistical analysis, the bakery was able to quantify the loss of efficiency and pinpoint the time of changes that caused it. Through a discussion of the numbers with Darren we found the reason: temperature sensor calibration procedure was faulty. Fixing the problem required no investment: third party calibrators are now required to show a certificate of recent sensor calibration. This change alone is about to save the bakery about 15,000 m³ of natural gas per year.
Along with answering the initial question, the analysis provided several valuable by-products. The bakery now has a tool to calculate marginal cost of production for costing and budgeting instead of using average per kg gas consumption, which was confusingly different every month. Analysis quantified the difference between winter and summer consumption and tracked this difference to intake air temperature. Now a business case to preheat combustion air can rely on actual data. Uptake? At the very least – 60,000 m³ per year. On another oven, that already uses inside air for combustion, the difference in summer and winter non-production gas consumption has invalidated the operational decision to keep oven always on in summer to “save gas on reheating.” Changing the procedure will save gas with no cost.
This kind of analysis can also make the case for preventative maintenance. Analysis such as this turns sub-metering data into actionable information about efficiency and uncovers discrepancies, Borden says.
In other words, saving energy through analysis is an easy way to increase profit.
Anatoli Naoumov, MBA, MSc, CMVP has been involved in various areas of business analysis and business development for over 15 years working for companies in Canada, The Netherlands and Russia. Anatoli has been certified as measurement and verification professional (CMVP) by The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and The Efficiency Valuation Organization (EVO).
As a Managing Partner at GreenQ Partners Anatoli can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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