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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 02/29/2016 ) - HTML Format

Do we need an energy efficiency adviser?


There are thousands of industrial refrigeration plants. All these plants were designed to keep required temperatures in refrigerated rooms. They do it pretty well. In the past, nobody paid attention to how much energy is required to keep this temperature. Can we reduce the energy use of our refrigeration plants? Yes, we can.  How? This is the most important question. To achieve the same energy savings, you can spend $10,000, $100,000 or $500,000.

Fifteen years ago I started my research in energy efficiency in industrial refrigeration. This research has shown that some companies invested a lot money in energy efficiency but they didn’t achieved required energy savings. Why did it happen? They didn’t get good advice. Does every company need a good adviser in energy savings? Yes. It should be an independent, professional, and trusted adviser. This adviser should not sell you equipment but should tell you how to maximize efficiency of your refrigeration plant with minimum investment. It is easy to save energy with huge investments and many contractors can do that but only experts can save energy with little investments.

Recently, I advised a company regarding the investments in energy efficiency of their refrigeration plant. The contactor suggested the installation of new PLC and VFDs for screw compressors, condenser fans and pumps. I told them that VFDs for water pumps are a waste of money. To wet the whole heat transfer area of the evaporative condensers water supply should be steady. Modern PLC, screw compressor VFDs and condenser fan VFDs will help save energy but they should be set up properly. These PLC and VFDs are just energy savings tools. Every tool can be used differently. I worked 6 months with this company to maximize energy savings for their refrigeration plant. Lowering of condensing pressure was a major energy saving measure. Winter operating condensing pressure of this plant was gradually lowered from 150 psig to 80 psig and 20% energy savings were achieved. Will they be able to achieve these energy savings without an outside adviser? Most likely, not. To achieve 80 psig condensing pressure, this plant had 3 barriers. Hot gas defrosting, liquid supply from high pressure receiver and oil carry over. It was not easy to solve these barriers but it was done and this winter, the mentioned refrigeration plant, successfully operates at condensing pressure of 80 psig.

If you want to maximize energy efficiency of your refrigeration plant and to minimize unnecessary investments, find a trusted energy efficiency adviser.   

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