Effective energy management can help plants lower the energy cost per unit of product output, and provide a competitive edge during economic downturns, without cutting production levels, product quality or staff morale, reports Chemical Processing.
According to the article, the best energy management programs essentially cover five activities.
First, companies should analyze long- and short-term costs of continuous energy, and they should install energy sources close to users. It uses graphite manufacturing (pictured) as an example: furnace bases should be located as close as possible to the rectoformer housing to optimize energy use.
Second, they should compare process technologies and devices by energy cost per unit of output. Looking at chlor-alkali plants, for example, membrane cell technology uses about 20 percent less energy than diaphragm cells.
Third, companies should look at energy-efficient retrofits where possible. This could include installing variable frequency drives, or adding economizers and combustion air preheaters to furnaces and boilers.
Fourth, they should use metering, control and automation features.
And finally, the article says to review the lifecycle costs of technology and equipment. A $900 electric motor can consume $3,000 a year worth of electricity, it warns.
In related recent news, research from Frost & Sullivan finds that the European pneumatic equipment market will benefit from focusing on the energy-efficiency aspects of equipment. Most pneumatic-equipment customers want to optimize energy usage because of the dwindling natural energy resources in Europe, the report says. Energy efficiency can cut costs — from 5.0 percent to 50.06 percent — which boosts demand, revenues and profitability.
And an article in Plant Engineering magazine says it’s just a myth that pumps in a large industrial facility use more than their fair share of energy. Pumps account for almost 25 percent of all industrial motor energy usage, but are indispensible in the industrial world.
Photo Credit: Shibang Machinery Corporation