In an earlier post, Identifying Components then Optimizing Industrial Energy Consumption, we discussed how energy optimization initiatives were affected by what could be measured. Emerson’s Jonas Berge added a great comment to that post, which I will share here to bring it greater visibility.
Running fans at excess speed, failed steam traps, fouling, inefficient combustion, pipe leaks, poor insulation on steam and condensate lines, relief valve leaks, tank leaks, unused equipment not turned off, valve leaks, and valves left open are some of the other reasons why plants are consuming more energy than they should. Poor combustion control, especially when fuel heat content changes, wastes energy by causing excessive stack losses. Leaking compressed air systems and valves left open, when not producing, waste the electricity that was consumed to compress the air.
Leaking steam systems waste the fuel that was consumed to generate the steam. Pumps and fans left on, when not producing, waste electricity. Water leaking and condensate not recovered waste the water itself plus the chemicals and energy required to treat it.
Most plants today only measure the energy streams in a single point at the source; where water, gas, and electricity enter the plant, from the air compressors, from the steam boiler, and from the utilities plant etc. Therefore, there is no visibility if there are leaks in an area somewhere in the plant, if consumption is higher than normal in some plant unit, or if some equipment is running when not needed.
By only looking at overall plant energy consumption, problems cannot be pinpointed so there is little or nothing that can be done to improve and sustain. Thus energy managers at most sites do not have the information they need in order to drive an energy management practices according to ISO 50001 to reduce reduction in energy consumption and losses. Whatever little data is available from the control system is infrequently put into spreadsheets manually.
Energy management is not just about electricity
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