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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 10/30/2013 ) - Plain Text Format Investment in Optimization

Recently, a chief engineer mentioned to me that he is going to install a heat exchanger to recover heat from the ammonia refrigeration plant. This plant was operated at condensing pressure of 130 - 170 psig. I have calculated that potential energy savings of this investment will be 1 - 2 % and payback will be 8 years.
Another company invested a lot of money in VFDs. However, achieved energy savings were much less than they expected. Review of the refrigeration plant operating strategy has shown that additional energy can be saved by choosing the right strategy. However, even with additional energy savings payback for these VFDs will be 5 years.
Do we have a better option to save energy in industrial refrigeration? Yes. This is optimized operation of the refrigeration plant. Improvement of operation is the most cost effective way to save energy in our industry. For the first mentioned refrigeration plant, winter condensing pressure can be lowered to 90 psig and 20% of energy will be saved. Payback of this action is 2 - 3 months. This is much better than 1 - 2% energy savings and 8 years payback by investing in a heat exchanger.
I think that every company can afford optimization because it usually costs just several thousand dollars. However, it is critically important to find the right person to do this optimization. As far as I know, few people know how to do this correctly. Optimized operation can be implemented step by step. To test this energy saving approach, a few initial steps can be implemented first to make sure that you get real energy savings.
These days, many companies propose energy savings to end users. Typically, they require significant investments and promise to save a lot of energy. Unfortunately, very often the promised energy savings were not achieved.
Make a small investment in optimization and it will be one of your best investments in energy efficiency.
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