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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 01/13/2009 ) - HTML Format

Global economic crisis and energy efficiency

 

During a global economic crisis, it is difficult to obtain financing for energy efficiency projects. What should we do to improve the efficiency of refrigeration plants?

I think that optimization of a refrigeration plant operation is the best way to go. This approach does not require capital investment and 60-80% of total energy savings can be achieved.

Example.

Potential total energy savings for a refrigeration plant is $100,000. To achieve these savings 3 steps should be done.

Step 1. Encourage your operating engineers to save energy. Experienced engineers can often save $30,000-40,000 for a mentioned refrigeration plant. However, this step should not take longer than 1 year. It often takes a few months for operating engineers to improve the efficiency of a refrigeration plant. After this period, optimization process is stalled because operating engineers have used all their knowledge and experience. The cost of this step is minimal. Normally, several bonuses will be a sufficient reward for the operating engineers.

 

Step 2. Hire an energy efficiency consultant to continue the optimization. This step can save you an additional $30,000-40,000 for a mentioned refrigeration plant. Why can an energy efficiency consultant do a better job than an operating engineer?

1. An energy efficiency consultant has the knowledge of a professional engineer. He can review the operation of a refrigeration plant as a designer.

2. A consultant has experience in the operation of refrigeration plants. However, this is different experience than the experience of an operating engineer because it is based on thorough knowledge of industrial refrigeration.

3. An energy efficiency consultant has done his own extensive research in energy savings. Based on this information, he can choose and implement optimum condensing pressure, optimum suction pressure, optimum defrosting, etc. The cost of this step is insignificant in comparison to the capital investment of energy saving equipment.

 

Step 3. Buy energy saving equipment (PLCs, VFDs and etc.). This step is very expensive. However, it can be implemented if you can get the incentives from the government and/or from utility.

I believe that optimization of refrigeration plant operation is the best way to save energy, especially during the global economic crisis.

 

Additional information about optimization of refrigeration plant operation can be found in my article “Ideas on energy savings” that was published in the November 2008 issue of the Condenser (IIAR magazine).

 

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