Measure, Monitor and Improve Energy Efficiency

A recent Top Quartile post, The Path to (Energy) Recovery: Reduce Waste to Boost the Bottom Line, shared a statistic from the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy:

…the energy used by U.S. manufacturing plants costs the nation an additional $180 billion annually, while improving energy intensity by 20 percent or more is typically available. That could add up to savings of about $45 billion a year.

Process-Energy-EfficiencyImproving the breadth and accuracy of measurement instrumentation is an important step in improving energy efficiency.

A new whitepaper, Process Energy Efficiency: Measure, monitor – then improve and engineering insight report, Top 5 Measurements for Energy Efficiency have recently become available.

The whitepaper opens noting:

An effective approach to energy efficiency relies on a continuous stream of measurement information to verify that energy is being produced, transported, and consumed as efficiently as possible.

While some inefficiencies are easily spotted, others might not be without additional measurements. Examples include:

  • Fouling or corrosion within heat exchangers increases the energy input that’s required to produce the desired amount of process heating.
  • Poor combustion control, especially when fuel heat content changes, wastes energy by causing excessive stack losses.
  • Leaking compressed air systems waste the electricity that was consumed to create the compressed air. Losses in air pressure further drive up energy waste.
  • Steam trap failures cause energy loss, reduced heating efficiency, and increased risk of water hammer events.

While process manufacturers and producers have little control over the cost of the energy they consume, they can optimize usage. Measurement devices should be:

…strategically located throughout the process, to detect anomalies wherever energy is being produced, transported or consumed. Temperature, pressure, and flow measurements provide immediate insight into sub-optimal process conditions that can inform maintenance and repair activities, and drive down energy use.

Top-5-MeasurementsIn the Engineer Insight Report, the top five measurements to improve energy efficiency include:

  • Utility fluids – metering flow and managing use
  • Compressed air – measuring flow to identify leaks and manage use
  • Boilers – improving drum level measurement
  • Heat exchangers – predicting and detecting fouling
  • Steam system – monitoring steam traps

The report highlights specific flow, level, pressure and acoustic measurement technologies and examples of how they are used.

Here’s an example from the drum level measurement portion of the report:

A major paper mill in the United States was experiencing lost production and increased utility costs due to boiler trips during routine start-ups. Boiler trips were caused by an error in the boiler level reading of a DP transmitter installed with impulse lines. The DP level transmitter was calibrated for full boiler operating pressure and temperature. However, during start-up, when the boiler was cold, water and steam density differences in the impulse lines caused errors in the DP level readings. The solution was to supplement the DP measurement with a Rosemount 5301 Guided Wave Radar with Dynamic Vapor Compensation. With more accurate level readings during all process conditions, from start-up to full output, boiler trips have been minimized. This paper mill now enjoys increased boiler efficiency, minimized unplanned process shutdowns and increased production.

If you are looking at ways to improve the energy efficiency of your production operations, register to receive the whitepaper and engineer insight report. And, a virtual plant tour, energy efficiency video and more educational information is available in the Energy Management Solutions area of the website.

You can also connect and interact with other measurement and industrial energy management experts in one of the Measure & Analyze groups and Industrial Energy group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

Posted Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 under Energy, Flow.

One comment so far

  1. There are many Pervasive Sensing solutions using wireless sensors that can improve energy efficiency and reduce loss. In addition to the heat exchanger fouling, compressed air and other utilities like water, gas, electricity, and steam, and steam trap failures mentioned above, there are also cooling tower excess cooling, air cooled heat exchanger excess cooling, and relief valve seat passing. Learn more from this article:
    http://www.ceasiamag.com/2015/08/plant-modernization-for-energy-efficiency-and-loss-control/

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