Energy-Efficiency
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Energy-Efficiency

Energy is and remains an essential basis for industrial production. Production sites can considerably reduce its energy consumption without endangering productivity. Energy efficiency equates to cost efficiency – a clear competitive advantage.

Globally, in all fields of industry, the potential for improved energy efficiency through improved procedures is significant . The following industrial technologies are widely used: compressed air and pump systems as well as air, refrigeration and conveyor technology. Today, most companies could potentially reduce their consumption of electricity and associated costs by 5 % to 50 %. In most cases, the payback period is less than two years and the return on investment is more than 25 %. Therefore, measures that improve energy efficiency are extremely appealing to companies for economic reasons.

For any improvement of energy efficiency it is necessary to analyze the current situation. INNOCHEM offers many solutions to improve energy efficiency. In the following you find selected examples:

Refrigeration

Even though refrigeration technology is used extensively, it was rarely considered as a possibility for improving energy efficiency until now. However, in refrigeration technology, there is often great potential for reducing energy costs. In particular, this concerns the continuous operating costs of such systems, which may account for up to 80 % of the total costs associated with a refrigeration system.

Approaches for improving efficiency:

  • improved heat insulation
  • reduced heat radiation
  • adjusted “busy” times and operating times
  • detailed design and selection of individual components
  • use of thermal cooling machines, for example, with solar heat, district heating, industrial waste heat, blower waste heat as well as waste heat from combined heat and power systems (CHPs)

Compressed Air

Trade and industry frequently require exceptionally large volumes of compressed air, which is one of the most widely used cross-application technologies and is mainly used in industrial processes. Compressed air is used in the following areas: pneumatics, active air (compressed air as a means of transport), process-air (e.g. drying processes), vacuum technology, aeration of biological processes and saturation of liquids.

Air, as a commodity, is an infinite resource and does not cost anything. However, compressed air/vacuums are usually supplied by electrical compressors. This generates costs of approximately 1.5 to 3 Euro Cents per cubic meter. The electricity required to generate compressed air can account for 20 % to 80 % of the overall energy costs in a company. Significant energy savings could be made here. If a company invest in efficient compressed air technology, it is possible to yield energy savings of between 5 % and 50 % with a payback period of less than two years. In order to determine the potential savings, it is always appropriate analyze the complete system.

In order to improve the efficiency of the system as a whole, it is necessary to optimize the individual components:

  • replacement of the electrical drives with more efficient motors
  • use of motors with variable speed control
  • use of improved compressors
  • use of modern control technology
  • improvement in tubing, filters and dryers
  • prevention of friction pressure losses
  • improvement of airtightness
  • regular filter replacement
  • heat recovery

Pumps

Pump systems presently account for a good 25 % of the industrial electricity consumed worldwide. It is believed that approximately 40% of this energy could be saved. Centrifugal and displacement pumps occupy a large market share, with centrifugal pumps accounting for 73 %. Centrifugal pumps, in particular, represent great potential for energy savings because approximately 75 % of these pumps are oversized, frequently by more than 20 %.

The German Energy Agency (dena) has an ongoing campaign entitled “Energy-Efficient Systems in Trade and Industry”,which advises companies active in the following industries on measures that they can introduce to increase their energy efficiency: chemicals, paper, electrical, food manufacturing, plastics and metal processing. In particular, this campaign demonstrates that all companies, irrespective of their industry classification, will benefit financially from any energy-saving efforts that they undertake. Depending on its size, a company could potentially save between 2,000 and 50,000 Euro per year. The payback period for the corresponding investment is generally two to three years. This campaign also shows that, on average, companies can reduce the electricity consumed by their pumps by approximately 30 %.

Measures to reduce pump energy:

  • replace oversized pumps with smaller pumps that have highly efficient motors
  • use highly efficient pumps
  • use frequency converters for variable-speed operations
  • equip pumps with proportional control
  • optimize downstream heat exchangers

Decentralized energy supply

Today's still largely centralized energy supply uses a power plant to supply energy to a large number of consumers in different geographical location. However, a great deal of energy is lost while it is being transferred along very long routes to the consumer.


Frequently, a decentralized energy supply would be more efficient. This concerns the supply of energy by small plants located in close proximity to the consumer. The plants are located directly where the energy is used.


The following advantages are associated with a decentralized energy supply

  • efficient use of electricity and heat production
  • significantly lower transmission losses
  • independence
  • energy security
  • generator directly influences the energy source
  • diversification of different energy sources
  • local job creation
  • regional accumulation of value


Therefore, centralized and decentralized energy supplies are not mutually exclusive. Both systems can co-exist and complement each other (integral energy supply).


Possibilities associated with a decentralized energy supply

  • greater efficiency through the use of combined heat and power
  • use of renewable energies

 

Combined Heat and Power Generation

In conventional power plants, only one third of the energy consumed is fully utilized. Combined heat and power (CHP) generators provide a viable, environmentally friendly alternative . CHP plants work on the principle of combined heat and power generation, whereby the energy consumed is simultaneously transformed into both electricity and useful heat . As a result, up to 40 % of the primary energy can be saved compared with centralized power generation and decentralized heat generation.


In addition to medium-sized and large CHP units, also “mini CHP systems” with a capacity of up to 30 kW are available. Mini CHP units essentially comprise a combustion engine, a power generator and a system of heat exchangers. The electricity generated in the generator can either be used for production process or fed into the public grid.


The waste heat generated by the combustion engine is recovered by heat exchangers and can be used for heating or cooling purposes. The heat is usually stored in a buffer storage unit until needed. The size of a small CHP depends on its capacity but is not generally larger than a standard boiler. The engines also make very little noise and therefore can easily be installed at many locations.