Assessments Point Out $11 Million in Fuel and Electricity Savings at Two Aluminum Plants
April 6, 2006
Assessment teams at Commonwealth Aluminum—now Aleris Rolled Products, a division of Aleris International—uncovered opportunities to save a substantial amount of energy and money during recent plant-wide assessments conducted at two of the company's sheet rolling mills. One mill is in Lewisport, Kentucky; the other is in Urichsville, Ohio.
The 10 energy-saving projects proposed as a result of the plant-wide assessments included upgrading furnaces, optimizing a compressed air system, improving the plant's annealing operations, and maximizing waste heat recovery, among others. Taken together, these projects could reduce the company's fuel use by as much as 1 million MMBtu, its electricity use by 38 million kWh, and its energy costs by $11 million per year.
The assessments focused on analyzing the processing procedures involved in converting aluminum scrap feed material to finished coiled sheet products. Even if the company implements only those projects with payback periods of two years or less, the resulting savings could top $2.4 million annually.
The company manufactures common alloy aluminum sheet from recycled aluminum, as well as aluminum and nonmetallic wiring products. At the time of the assessment, the company manufactured aluminum sheet for distributors and for the transportation, construction, and consumer durables markets.
The two sheet manufacturing plants assessed use two fundamentally different production process technologies: direct-chill ingot castings and continuous-casting technology. The assessments looked at the role of process technologies, the impact of operating procedures, and the effects of alloy composition, temper, sheet width, sheet thickness, and coil weight and size in determining energy requirements.
The assessment team found that the technologies and methods used in the assessments could be applied successfully to plants that employ both kinds of production processes.