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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 02/05/2008 ) - HTML Format

Free energy savings

In the October 2007 newsletter, I gave you information about remote tuning up of refrigeration plants. The initial step of this tuning up is free. I have been asked many follow up questions about free energy savings, and I will give you additional information about this issue.

Remote tuning up of refrigeration plant does not require an initial visit to the plant. This approach eliminates the necessity of upfront investment for the initial visit of the consultant. Usually, I send a questionnaire to chief engineer (supervisor) to get information about equipment and about operating set points. Than I review this information and suggest to him the necessary steps to improve efficiency of the refrigeration plant. The first few steps are simple and do not require significant effort from me or from the chief engineer (supervisor). This is the reason that the initial step of tuning up is free. Typical annual energy savings of this step are $ 10,000 - 40,000 (average $ 25,000). Acceptable payback on investment in energy efficiency in industrial refrigeration is 2 years. The average plant can save $ 25,000 of energy costs or $ 50,000 of investment in energy efficiency. Surprisingly, the cost of saving $ 50,000 of investment is less than $ 1. Do you know anybody else who can save you $ 50,000 without any investment? May be this free energy savings looks too good to be true, but you have the opportunity to test this approach.

How do you make money? Several times I was asked this question. Usually, optimization of average refrigeration plant can save $ 80,000 - 100,000. The first $ 25,000 of this energy savings is free. The cost of the rest of the energy savings is not free, but payback for the remaining steps is a few months. This payback is 10 - 20 times shorter than acceptable in our industry (2 years ), because optimization of refrigeration plant operation is the best way to save energy.

Example of refrigeration plant free tuning up.

Minimum allowable head pressure for refrigeration plant is 120 psig . This plant has 6 different high stage screw compressors. These compressors have liquid injection oil cooling. This oil cooling is a major barrier in reducing the head pressure.

High stage screw compressors have different sensitivity to low head pressure. For winter operation, this plant requires only 3 high stage compressors. We can choose 3 compressors (less sensitive to low pressure) and run them during winter operation. Head pressure can be lowered to 110 psig. For this plant, every 1 psig of lower head pressure will save $ 2,000 per year in energy costs. Total annual energy savings from choosing the right compressors will be $ 20,000 . The other 3 compressors will be the leading machines during the summer operation.

I believe in smart and efficient operation of refrigeration plants. Optimization of refrigeration plant operation is the best way to save energy. You have the opportunity to test the best approach in energy savings, and this test is free.


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