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Choose the right approach

There are many approaches to energy saving in industrial refrigeration. I will compare several of them and you can choose the right one.

     1.  In-house tuning up of refrigeration plant.

Usually, operating engineers are involved in this initial tuning up. They can improve the following settings: head pressure, suction pressure, defrosting, compressor sequence and etc. Typical payback of this approach is less than 1 month. At this initial step you can achieve up to 20 - 30% of total energy savings. This is the best way to start energy saving process.

2.      Final tuning up of refrigeration plant.

You should hire an independent consultant to optimize performance of your refrigeration plant. This approach does not require major capital investment and has payback just a few months. At this stage of tuning up you can get up to 70 - 80% of total energy savings.

3.      Full scale energy efficiency project.

This approach can give you maximum energy savings, but it requires significant (hundreds thousand dollars) capital investment. Payback of this approach is 2 - 5 years. Find experienced consultant for this project.

4.     Investment in energy saving equipment.

Many companies just buy energy saving equipment from contractors or directly from manufacturers. Results of this approach are varied. Sometimes you can get 2 years payback, sometimes energy savings are minimal and payback is over 20 years. Ask the manufacturer of energy saving equipment for guaranteed satisfaction. No savings, no payment.

To avoid unnecessary investment I suggest to every company the following steps to improve energy efficiency of refrigeration plants.

Step 1. In-house tuning up of refrigeration plant.

Step 2. Final tuning up of refrigeration plant by consultant.

Step 3. Investment in energy saving equipment. At this step, proposals from contractors and manufacturers should be reviewed by independent consultant to estimate the real energy savings. This consultant will advise you the direction of your investment.

Example. A company has $ 20,000 in energy efficiency of refrigeration plant. You have an opportunity to invest this $ 20,000 in condenser fan VFD or in liquid pump.

Independent consultant has estimated that investment in condenser fan VFD will give you 5 years payback and investment in liquid pump will give you 8 months payback. Certainly, you should invest in liquid pump first.

The investment sequence mentioned above will help you avoid unnecessary investment (payback over 10 years) and it does not require significant initial financing.

Step 1 usually costs just a few thousands of dollars. Money saved in step 1 can be invested in step 2. Money saved in step 2 can be invested in step 3.

Minimum initial investment and step by step approach will give you an opportunity to reach the maximum energy savings.   


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