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View Subscription Details: Letter ( 08/31/2015 ) - Plain Text Format Cost of Final Optimization
Very often people are concern about investing in energy efficiency in industrial refrigeration. When they invest in LED lights with motion sensors, energy savings are obvious. It is a different story for industrial refrigeration. A refrigeration plant has several components and one component can influence the energy use of another component. To save energy in industrial refrigeration, the system performance should be evaluated and improved. An additional factor to this performance is ambient conditions and they have significant influence on plant efficiency. I suggest to every end user to have a trusted adviser, who will help them make the right decision related to the investment in energy efficiency of their refrigeration plant.
What is the most cost effective way to save energy in our industry? It is optimization of the refrigeration plant operation and the plant operators can do initial steps of the optimization. Every company should encourage their operators to participate in this energy saving process. However, operators can do only the initial optimization, because final optimization is complicated and should be done by the experts. What is the cost of final optimization? It depends of the size of the refrigeration plant. Typically, optimization of a small plant with compressor power 500 HP or less can cost as low as $5,000. This cost can be compared to that of a small fan VFD. Nevertheless, optimization will save you 10-20 times more energy than a fan VFD. Optimization of the refrigeration plant with compressor power 3000 HP or more can cost you up to $30,000. Typical, payback of final optimization is 6 months or less.
Example. Management of a company invested $200,000 in energy saving equipment (PLC, VFDs) for their refrigeration plant. Annual energy use of this plant was reduced by 500,000 kWh. It appears to be a good investment. However, one year later they invested $20,000 in full optimization and saved an additional 500,000 kWh. At energy cost of 10 cents per kWh the payback of optimization was less than 5 months.
I believe that investment in final optimization is the most cost effective way to save energy in industrial refrigeration and every company can afford it. Do you agree with me? It will be good to hear your opinion about this issue.
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