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How to cut costs in the second largest energy-using industry
By Dr. Ahmad R. Ganji, P.E., Ber eley A!!lied "cience # Engineering $nc., "an %rancisco "e!tem&er '(, ()))
The chemical industry, the second largest energy-user in American manufacturing, accounts for 19% of the industrial power consumed in the United States. It s also one of the nine !industries of the future! "I#$% identified &y the U.S. 'epartment of (nergy, where impro)ed energy efficiency could significantly affect the economy and the en)ironment. #n a)erage, energy costs constitute a&out 9% of the )alue of shipments in the chemical industry. (nergy use )aries greatly &y process and product, &ut features held in common across differing segments include purchasing, deli)ery and consumption of energy, as well as energy cost sa)ings. So, where are the sa)ings* +illing ,hanges in utility &illing rates can &ring cost cuts that seem li-e found money. Utility companies &ase customers &ills on rate schedules. $actors affecting a company s rate schedule may include local or state regulations. type of customer "industrial or agricultural, for e/ample%. le)el of use "-0h of electric usage or therms of gas usage per year%. ma/imum draw from the utility grid "also called !demand!%. and whether the company can afford interruptions with ad)ance notice. Is your company on the optimum rate schedule* The schedules aren t cut-anddry. 1et a description of them from the utility, or loo- them up on the Internet. As- a utility account representati)e to e/plore alternati)e schedules. ,onsulting firms determine the appropriateness of the rate schedule and share potential &enefits from it. Issues may include2
3 Time of use )s. In some cases you may e)en &e a&le to negotiate some aspects of the deli)ery rate with your local utility if you ha)e enough le)erage with them. hot water. then your local utility is pro&a&ly o&ligated to deli)er the energy to your site at a prescri&ed rate. pro&a&ly &ecause the plant doesn t ha)e enough storage capacity or simply hasn t paid attention to the su&6ect. 3 . 5ost third-party energy pro)iders will want a long-term contract. $or this e/ample the compressor energy sa)ing will &e 9%. so ma-e sure to understand all the pro)isions. 3 Interrupti&le )s. $or e/ample.ore )s. noninterrupti&le ser)ice. Try to match the utility with the company s needs. referring to the annual consumption limits the utilities set. secondary ser)ice.3 4rimary )s. 4lant utilities 4lant utilities "such as compressed air. a plant needs :7 psig air pressure at the point of use. The local utility and state energy office may &e a&le to help. you should not produce 188 psig steam and then throttle it down to 78 psig. noncore. steam and chilled water% are often a ma6or source of energy consumption. 4roducing steam at higher than the re<uired pressure wastes pumping power and lowers &oiler efficiency. >ou can lower the compressor discharge pressure to 118 psig and add a few hundred gallons more storage capacity &ased on present air storage and the capacity of the lines. nontime of use ser)ice. if you need 78 psig "corresponding to 99:. If your state has deregulated the energy mar-et. you ha)e the option of &uying the energy as a commodity from a )ariety of )endors who are licensed to do &usiness. (nergy pro)ider Is your company &uying energy at the lowest price* In some states. referring to the )oltage of the ser)ice deli)ered to your facility. Some tips for proper setting of the plant utilities2 . 4rimaryser)ice is often cheaper. In another e/ample.$% saturated steam. and a near&y compressor is producing air at 1=8 psig. and they re a place to start the energy cost sa)ings. Interrupti&le ser)ices are always cheaper.
your compressor should produce a pressure of a&out 17 psi to 97 psi a&o)e the ma/imum needed pressure at the point of use. e<uipment updates and application of new technology.alifornia . Software tools can help identify and implement energy-sa)ing measures for compressed air systems. Typical e/amples are air agitation. 3 0here)er possi&le. . if your process needs cooling at ?8. 3 If your process can get &y with &lower air in place of compressed air. cooling and displacing. Ta&le 9 shows the electric power re<uirements per standard cu ft per min "scfm% of a compressor "producing air at 188 psig% in comparison to some typical &lowers. drying. 3 0ith proper storage capacity. 3 If you ha)e a dual pressure need in the plant "e.g. you can potentially reduce the cost of air compression significantly. Bew technologies are process dependent. (/amples are natural gas infrared heating )s. 198 psig and ?8 psig%. plus the pressure drop from the compressor to the point of use. &ut it s sometimes difficult to identify the opportunities.. (lectric pumps consume a&out one-eighth of the energy of air pumps. depending on the plum&ing costs. you can pro&a&ly use cooling tower water. 'on t use air pumps as a con)enience. use electric pumps in place of air pumps.$ or a&o)e. electric infrared heating and drying. it pro&a&ly will pro)e cost effecti)e to esta&lish two compressed air systems. Ta&le 1 shows the percentage of energy use increase@decrease in comparison with 188 psig compressed air production. 3 >our &oiler should produce steam at a pressure to meet the highest pressure need "corresponding to the highest temperature for saturated steam% plus any pressure drop from the &oiler to the point of use. 4rocesses 4rocesses are where companies can pro&a&ly sa)e the most. especially in places li-e .fluidiAation.ooling tower water temperature is climate "especially wet &ul& temperature% dependent. $or e/ample.3 Use cooling tower water in place of chilled water where)er possi&le. Some well--nown ways of sa)ing energy and cutting costs include proper maintenance.
Another issue in motor replacement is that motors are often o)ersiAed for the application. as the motors &urn out. they also operate at a low power factor. It can help in ma-ing motor replacement decisions. Eigh-efficiency motors cost more. In single-pass heating.! a free '#(-sponsored software program. the same as )aria&le-fre<uency dri)e "I$'%. steam or hot water is used in the heating process and then allowed to drain into the sewage line. The motors on the mar-et mostly satisfy the minimum efficiency standard set &y the go)ernmentG which is not necessarily the &est a)aila&le. contri&uting to a power factor charged &y some utilities. replace them with high-efficiency motors of the proper siAe. The smaller the motor. &ut for a motor that runs a&out 1F hr per day. +uy a power meterGan amp meter alone will not do the 6o&H #&tain a copy of !5otor 5aster. Some useful and short pay&ac. their efficiency and price. 'ownload the software from the 0e& at http2@@www.measures are2 3 Insulate hot and cold surfaces.within a few years if the e/haust temperature is a&o)e D88. 3 Ceplace electric motors with the properly siAed high-efficiency motors as they &urn out. 3 Ceco)er heat through well-esta&lished methods and technologies. and heat reco)ery from chemical streams@mi/ers using cooling tower water. energy and sewage cost.is less than two years. 4erform a power draw measurement on ma6or motors "in -0 or hp% and. which includes a comprehensi)e listing of motors.go). Typical pay&ac. &y calling ":88% :F998:F. In such a case. . reco)ery of heat from compressed gas of the e/haust of ammonia compressors. Standard efficiency motors are still on the mar-et. Ceco)ery of heat from hot li<uids is always much more economical than from hot gases under similar conditions. including condensate return lines.$. 3 A)oid single-pass heating and cooling &y all means. +y a)oiding single-pass heating and cooling the company can sa)e water.doe.is less than two years. ha)e &ecome more reasona&le and their application can &ring significant electrical energy sa)ings. which often pays &ac.where the price differs greatly for natural gas and electricity per unit energy output. the pay&ac. (/amples include installing an economiAer on &oiler e/haust. the greater the efficiency differential. and they do not operate at their optimum efficiency "that happens often for fans and pumps%.motor. 3 The prices of ad6usta&le-speed dri)es "AS'%.
especially when com&ined with a heat reco)ery system from the engine.om&ined heat and power. 6ust add a controller. for e/ample. Standard performance contracting "see &elow% is a good option. and it lowers &ills &y ?7%. AS's can &e used where)er a )aria&le load on the motor can either &e predicted "programmed% or sensed through a sensor. 3 .in less than one year for a two-shift operation in . If. The pay&ac.pay&ac-s are2 3 Installing high-efficiency lamps. cooling tower fans and pumps. often ta-es no new fi/tures. Another application is natural gas engine dri)es for applications such as large compressors. . replacing fluorescent T-19 with T-: with electronic &allast and the reflectors recommended for clean areas can cut costs &y at least =8%. it may reduce the power draw &y the motor &y appro/imately =8%. $or e/ample. (/amples are hot water and steam &oilers "pays &ac. infrared heaters. An AS' control system will decrease the flow &y reducing the speed of the motor. and refrigeration systems. don t change the motor. and mi/er motors. EIA. and it often &ecomes cost-effecti)e to con)ert to natural gas e<uipment whene)er circumstances allow. .alifornia%. a new term for !cogeneration. Among se)eral chemical plants recently audited.AS' controls the speed of the motor &ased on the demand. Some of the measures with <uic. including chillers. 3 Ceplacing con)entional incandescent lamps with long-life compact fluorescent. which often re<uire new fi/tures. Jighting is the easiest to deal with. A)oid custom-designed units and go for tested pac-aged unitsGthey ha)e pro)en <uite relia&le.! is worth -eeping in mind with a three-shift operation if the local utility s stand&y charges are not prohi&iti)ely high. To use an AS'. (/amples for application of AS's are large &lowers and fans.onsider se)eral measures. and heated tan-s through indirect heating. the flow demand through a &lower is cut &y one half through a damper. lighting ranged from F% to 91% of the electric consumption. +uildings and grounds 5a6or energy-consuming de)ices in the &uildings and grounds category are lighting.depends on the electric rates and the operating hours. thus lowering the power draw to appro/imately 97% of the full power. 3 In many states electricity costs four to fi)e times the price of natural gas per unit energy.
$or e/ample. .3 Ceplacing fluorescent and mercury )apor lamps with metal halide or high-pressure sodium in high &ay warehouses and manufacturing areas. The pay&ac. 3 Using &ile)el control for EI' lamps. 5aintenance 4roper maintenance of e<uipment can significantly reduce energy costs. Sa)ing energy on lighting also affects cooling and heating costs. 9 conser)ati)ely shows the annual cost of typical steam lea-s.?%. 3 4utting photo sensors on EI' lamps in places that ha)e sufficient natural lighting. malfunctioning steam traps. a 1% drop in pressure at the inlet of a compressor increases the power consumption &y a&out 8. such as metal halide and high-pressure sodium. 3 +oilers and steam systemsGsteam lea-s. 5a6or maintenance issues with direct energy cost are2 3 . A change in inlet air temperature from ?8. which raises energy costs.is a&out one year. The pay&ac. such as areas under s-ylights and near loading ports. Jea-s waste lots of e/pensi)e compressed air. That s a secondary effect in cost sa)ings@increase. $ig. for places that are not continuously occupied. $ig.$ corresponds to an increase in electric consumption of a&out 7%. Inspect for lea-s e)ery two months at off-operating hours for easier detection. clogged filters and warm air inta-e into the compressor. A malfunctioning steam trap lets the steam pass through instead of the condensate.ompressor and compressed-air systemsGthin. Eot air inta-e also increases power consumption. That s particularly effecti)e for cold storage areas &ecause it reduces the load on the refrigeration systems. while &oosting the producti)ity of the plant. scaled &oiler surfaces and untuned &oilers all cause pro&lems. &ecause all lighting energy e)entually con)erts to heat. 5anagement of air lea-s needs systematic attention. 'irty air filters create pressure drop at the inlet to the compressor. such as storage areas and warehouses.is often less than two years. worn-out insulation.$ to 188.of compressed air lea-s. 5alfunctioning steam traps can &e a ma6or source of energy loss in a steam system. 1 shows the cost of typical air lea-s.
# and un&urned hydrocar&ons "UE. Tuning the &oiler per manufacturer recommendation is a costeffecti)e method of eliminating the energy waste. while the whole re-&oiler could &e replaced at a cost of a&out K98.%. The local air pollution control authority may re<uire flue gas analysis on a regular &asis. fi/ing suction lea-s and water lea-s.of less than 8.7 years.ontact the &urner manufacturer in such a case. sharp temperature drop across the trap "78. which may call for some spot measurements. A comprehensi)e energy audit of the plant should include all aspects of energy supply and consumption as well as preparation of a detailed audit report. use of ultrasonic detectors. or perform an in-house energy audit yourself. In a recent audit of a chemical plant.# and UE. "a&o)e the manufacturer s specified le)el% result from poor mi/ing and low temperature in the com&ustion Aone.888 annually.$ and a&o)e for most cases%. (ach percentage point increase in e/cess air corresponds to a decrease of 8. resulting in simple pay&ac. 3 #ther maintenance measures include cleaning filters and heat e/changers.89% in &oiler efficiency for flue gas temperatures of =88. The report should include2 3 Analysis of at least one year of energy &ills. .in dis. A higher le)el of e/cess air results in losing energy through the e/haust. (/haust gas temperature and flue gas composition are e/cellent indicators of the &oiler s performance. repairing o)en and furnace lea-s and many others uni<ue to each facility.888. Eigh e/haust temperature. Assessing the situation To identify energy conser)ation and cost sa)ing measures.$ to F88. either get outside help &y hiring a consultant for a comprehensi)e energy audit. and high e/cess air are sources of inefficiency. 3 Analysis of the energy supply. e/cess . 4erform a flue gas analysis of &oiler"s% twice a year.Use any of the )arious methods for chec-ing steam traps. 4ersistent high le)els of .8=% to 8. 3 Identification of ma6or energy-consuming de)ices. including the rate schedule and alternati)e suppliers. it was found that fouling of a re&oiler downstream of a tur&ine was costing the plant a&out KD7. use help from go)ernment and utilities.$. The recommended le)el of e/cess air for forced-draft natural gas fired &oilers is 18% to 98%. a sight glass downstream of the trap and )isual o&ser)ation of a steam 6et coming out of an open trap. The more common detection methods include sound of steam flowing through the trap "or rapid chattering of dis.type%. .
In the calculations. An in-house audit To ta-e care of energy efficiency issues in house.at alternati)e energy suppliers. 3 Understand energy &ills and their components. Some general tips2 3 Leep energy efficiency a consideration in all e<uipment purchasing and retrofit. Those are rough estimates. 3 5a-e sure the company is on the optimum rate schedule &y &ecoming familiar with rate schedules that may apply to the plant. A comprehensi)e audit should not cost more than 1% of the annual energy &ill for larger plants "o)er K8. calculation of energy and cost sa)ings. Those audits ha)e plant siAe and location limitations. . operating hours and load factor "fraction of nominal rating of the e<uipment%. 3 Identification of energy efficiency opportunities. 3 Identify ma6or energy-consuming e<uipment. and estimation of implementation costs. An e/perienced and -nowledgea&le audit company will &e aware of any financing or re&ate opportunities for energy retrofit. go)ernment and utility sponsored audits are usually free of charge.onsider energy efficiency measures. 4erform the energy &alance separately for different types of energy. 3 Leep in touch with utility account e/ecuti)es or representati)es. and may include it in the report. .7 5% and a&out 9% for smaller plants. and their <uality and depth )ary.3 (nergy &alance of the plant to identify sources of consumption. and indi)idual cases will )ary. This is where the company can sa)e the most. and &e aware of it in different aspects of maintaining and upgrading e<uipment.onsumption is affected &y nominal rating of e<uipment. program. Use re&ate plansGoften they re not as &ureaucratic and time consuming as they loo-. any assumption should &e identified and 6ustified. Joo. consider the audit a continuous process. They may &e as simple as a wal-through audit sponsored &y many utilities or as comple/ as the more detailed process audits sponsored &y some utilities and '#( through its IA. 0here a)aila&le. . and get on their mailing list for energy efficiency programs.
go)@. funding. 3 Ceplace or retrofit inefficient e<uipment with newer energyefficient e<uipment. $inancing energy impro)ements (nergy impro)ement is cost effecti)e.period of less than two years for a 78% rate of return on in)estment.hallenge. 3 State energy office.rutgers. and most of the implementation can &e accomplished in house.enter "IA. Some are2 3 Utility companies. The Industrial Assessment . waste minimiAation and producti)ity impro)ement of small to medium-siAe manufacturing plants. . grants and resources.org in the 0est. especially in the maintenance category. 5otor . is dedicated to energy efficiency. and 4artnering with Industries of the $uture "I#$% are some of the #IT programs. a well-esta&lished program sponsored &y '#(. 3 Industrial Assessment . pro)ides audits at no cost. utility companies are prone to help their customers sa)e energy so that they can -eep them as customers. . 3 '#(. The local utility company is the first place to go. Auditing resources A )ariety of resources can help the company profit from energy efficiency. Cemem&er that most energy efficiency opportunities ha)e a pay&ac. (/amples are lighting retrofit and motor replacement.edu for plants east of the 5ississippi Ci)er or mailto2itemNli&ertynet. 5a-e sure to ta-e ad)antage of re&ates from utilities or local organiAations.hallenge. >ou can contact them through their 0e& site http2@@www. 0ith deregulation in place or on the horiAon. funded through its #ffice of Industrial Technology "#IT%. And they re often the first to -now a&out other energy efficiency programs. in the form of grants and direct assistance. on an incremental &asis if one-time replacement costs too much.%.oit. Through =8 centers across the country.ontact mailto2oipeaNcamp.enter.ompressed Air .3 (sta&lish #M5 policies that ad)ise employees to &e energy conscious. '#( has programs for energy efficiency. IA. The state energy office is another source for information. .
+esides regular commercial financing options. $ull-ser)ice energy ser)ice companies "(S. and share the profit with the company. performance contracting can help implement many of the measures with higher initial costs. Chemical Processing * ())) Putman +edia .#% finance and implement pro6ects.