Energy Efficiency Weighs on Manufacturers’ Minds

You can tell energy efficiency is weighing on the minds of process manufacturers across many industries. How do I know? One way is to be part of the Automation & Control Engineering LinkedIn group. David Greenfield asked the simple question:

What tips, tricks and basic engineering processes have you used — or recommend using — to increase the energy efficiency of your facility?

As I write this post, the question was posed a month ago and there are now 66 public responses. No telling how many additional private responses he’s received. These responses are coming from process manufacturers, automation suppliers, consultants, and others with something to offer.

Some responses include DC bus sharing, variable frequency drives, LED lighting, energy management planning, pressure drop utilization, power factor correction capacitors, boiler optimization, heat waste recovery, co-generation, control valve performance, HVAC optimization, etc. These ideas go on and on for four pages, and counting.

These ideas touch things that are process related, power related, facilities related–almost every organization in a manufacturing facility.

Given all the possible things you can do–what should you do? In addition to all the great ideas shared in this LinkedIn group, we have more than 25 posts in the energy management category of this blog. I’ll cite one example from Emerson’s Bob Sabin on the need to develop and energy management plan in the post, Moving to Leadership in Energy Reduction. I wrote:

Bob described the energy improvement process that begins with survey and measurement, followed by actions to fix field devices and loops, followed by equipment repair, followed by unit process optimization, followed by site coordination to drive the entire operation to the best cost point within constraints. Although the process is never ending, the savings are cumulative with each pass through the improvement cycle.

I anticipate the number of energy efficiency-related posts will continue at a steady pace. It’s not only in process manufacturers’ economic interests, it also helps them improve emissions, cut waste, and promote cleaner manufacturing.

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