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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 06/17/2008 ) - HTML Format

Operating Engineer

I think that an operating engineer is an important part of the energy saving process.

Unfortunately, we do not have plug and play energy saving controls. Every control should be tuned up. Initial tuning up can be done by operating engineers and up to 10 % of energy can be saved at this step. For final tuning up, the operating engineer and the energy efficiency consultant should work as a team to maximize energy savings. The operating engineer knows the details of particular plant operation. The energy efficiency consultant has knowledge and experience in implementation of the different energy saving measures. Maximum energy savings can be reached when knowledge and experience of the operating engineer and the energy efficiency consultant are combined.


A refrigeration plant operates at condensing pressure of 140 psig. An energy efficiency consultant determined that the optimum condensing pressure at current ambient conditions is 105 psig. He advised the operating engineer to gradually reduce condensing pressure to 105 psig. At 115 psig of condensing pressure, the operating engineer noticed underdefrosting of 2 evaporator coils. The hot gas supply, BPR (back pressure regulator) setting and length of defrosting were adjusted. The condensing pressure was successfully reduced to 105 psig .

Due to different ambient conditions and different refrigeration loads, settings of refrigeration plant should be changed from time to time. An experienced operating engineer with advice from the energy efficiency consultant can keep your refrigeration plant at peak efficiency all year around.

Motivation of operating engineers is a very important issue. If the operating engineer is not interested in energy savings, it will be difficult to maximize efficiency of the refrigeration plant. Management should motivate the operating engineers to actively participate in the energy saving process. It may be in future that we will have plug and play energy saving controls, which will not require active participation of operating engineers. However, I think we are a long way from having these controls. For now, an operating engineer is a major player in the energy saving process.


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