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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 03/03/2008 ) - HTML Format

You have a choice


I have heard, from several people, that energy savings in industrial refrigeration are expensive. I do not agree with this statement. I think that in industrial refrigeration we have a unique opportunity to achieve significant energy savings without significant capital investment.

What is the goal of energy savings in industrial refrigeration?

The goal is optimum operation of the refrigeration plant. This means that the plant should be operated at optimum (the best) set points (condensing pressure, suction pressure, defrosting and etc.) and at optimum operating strategies (compressor sequence, condenser sequence and etc.). Right now we have 2 ways to achieve the optimum operation.

1.     Improve operation of the existing refrigeration plant through tuning up process. This means, determine the optimum set points and optimum operating strategies of refrigeration plant and implement these set points and strategies by adjusting the plant operation. This is a short cut to optimum operation.

2.     Buy PLC, VFDs and etc. to improve efficiency of refrigeration plant. This approach requires significant capital investment. However, it will not guarantee a significant energy savings.

Example. A company plans to save $50,000 by improving the efficiency of refrigeration plant. They have 2 options:

1.     Tune up an existing plant at a cost of $5,000 . To make sure that this approach works, a test can be done. The cost of this test is free.

2.     Invest in energy saving equipment (PLC, VFDs and etc.) at a cost of $100,000 or 2 years payback. A test of this approach requires significant capital investment, because it is not possible to buy 5% or 10% of PLC or VFD. The minimum investment for this testing will be in the range of $30,000- $50,000.

Management of this company has the opportunity to choose the acceptable approach.

Several years ago, we only knew of the capital investment approach. Presumably, this is the reason that many people believe that energy savings in industrial refrigeration are expensive. Today, management of every company has a choice between significant capital investment and tuning up of existing refrigeration plants. Choose the right approach.


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