Energy Matters was a quarterly newsletter for DOE's Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMO). It provided in-depth technical articles to help industry professionals save energy, reduce costs, and increase productivity. These archived issues may contain broken links or information that is no longer accessible. Some of the following documents are available as Adobe Acrobat PDFs.
This issue also focuses on improving process heating in manufacturing facilities: the Isothermal Melting technology promises energy savings for the aluminum industry; our Ask an Energy Expert column addresses process heat loss; and ITP introduces an updated process heating sourcebook and software tool. In another article, find out how three companies optimized their steam systems through Save Energy Now energy assessments.
In This Issue
- Utility Companies and ITP Pool Efforts to Help Industry Save Energy Now
- Isothermal Melting: Reaching for the Peak of Efficiency in Aluminum Melting Operations
- Ask an Energy Expert: Optimizing Process Heating Systems
- Assessments Reveal Steam Energy Savings Opportunities for Chemical, Automotive, and Paper Manufacturing Companies
- Self-Assess Your Energy-Saving Opportunities Today with Resources from DOE's Industrial Technologies Program
- Boost Process Heating System Performance with New Sourcebook and Software
Utility Companies and ITP Pool Efforts to Help Industry Save Energy Now
What does the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) have in common with U.S. utility companies? Both recognize energy efficiency as an energy resource in helping to offset rising fuel costs, increase productivity, boost the bottom line, and reduce environmental impacts. A partnership between the two sectors to provide energy efficiency resources to U.S. industrial customers could be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Through its Save Energy Now initiative, ITP is joining forces with U.S. utility companies and associations to deliver energy efficiency assistance to industrial customers. This includes free energy assessments, system-specific training workshops, technical publications, software tools and other resources. The new partnership will complement existing demand side management programs already offered by utilities to their customers.
Partnership Takes Action to Develop Energy Efficiency Plan
This partnership results from a series of meetings between ITP and various utility companies and associations, such as the American Public Power Association, California Energy Commission, Edison Electric Institute, Energy Solutions Center, Tennessee Valley Authority, and other utility stakeholders. Results of these meetings are forthcoming in a new Utility Action Plan currently in development. This plan will identify key activities to help improve energy efficiency of U.S. industry, and addresses how ITP can directly help utility companies lower their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint.
Utilities use demand side management programs to encourage customers to reduce their energy bill, including load control options, implementation of energy-efficient technologies, and conservation information. These programs work to reduce energy use; the Energy Information Administration reports that since 2003, actual peak electricity load has decreased by an annual average of 5.9%, while energy savings have risen an average of 8.3%.
Because of their unique relationship, utility companies are in a prime position to provide information to help their industrial customers reduce their energy use and become more efficient. The energy-saving opportunities gained from the "low-hanging fruit" can help companies control their own energy costs and stay economically viable.
And, when customers cut energy costs, utility companies also benefit. Utility companies recognize that energy efficiency practices are the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to meet power demand. Through conservation measures, utilities can offset new power generation facilities, prevent load instability during peak times, and make more energy available for other customers at no extra cost.
Save Energy Now Delivers Energy Solutions for Industrial Customers
Save Energy Now energy assessments focus primarily on fine-tuning energy-intensive industrial systems such as process heating, steam, compressed air, motors, pumps and fans. The energy assessments are conducted by DOE Energy Experts, skilled at using BestPractices software tools to identify ways to optimize industrial systems and save energy. During the assessments, Energy Experts work closely with plant personnel to train them in the use of the software tools, so they can perform their own assessments.
Since 2005, Save Energy Now energy assessments have been conducted at 500 industrial plants throughout the country, and have identified more than $700 million in annual savings. Plants can reduce their energy bill by an average of 10% annually by implementing low- or no-cost recommendations identified by energy assessments.
Energy Efficiency: A Win-Win for Customers and Utilities
One of the utility associations partnering in this initiative is the American Public Power Association (APPA). Ensuring reliable electricity at a low price is a key objective of APPA, which serves more than 2,000 community-owned electric utilities.
"The partnership between DOE's Industrial Technologies Program, APPA and our members is important because it helps utilities help their customers. Public power utilities are not-for-profit utilities so energy efficiency just makes good business sense," says Ursula Schryver, Director of Customer Programs at APPA. "It helps keep customer bills down by reducing energy use, helps utilities control costs by reducing the need for new generation, and is environmentally responsible."
Utilities want to ensure that their key customer base is economically healthy, and remains in their service area. Utilities can contribute to this by providing free energy assessments to help companies find ways to reduce energy intensity. Not only does this establish good will with customers, but it helps the utility balance electric loads and provide reliable service for everyone, while offsetting the cost of new power generation facilities. Read the "Energy Audits for Large Industries" article in the May 2008 issue of Public Power magazine for details on energy assessments ITP offers to industrial customers through the Save Energy Now initiative.
DOE's Industrial Technologies Program and U.S. utilities know that energy efficiency makes good business and environmental sense. This new partnership promises to have broad energy-savings impact for industrial customers across the nation.
Isothermal Melting: Reaching for the Peak of Efficiency in Aluminum Melting Operations
It's called Isothermal Melting—and this new technology, developed with support from the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program, could revolutionize the aluminum industry's melting capabilities.
This superior melting system offers many benefits to aluminum manufacturers:
- 70% higher efficiency than conventional furnaces
- Near-zero in-plant emissions
- Widespread, cross-cutting applications
- Energy diversity: using traditional and renewable energy sources.
Cost and productivity
- Low capital and operating costs
- Dramatically reduced process time
- Extended refractory life
- Significantly reduced plant floor space
- Retrofit to sidebays of conventional furnaces.
- Less than 1% metal loss
- Excellent metal quality
- Improves plant environment by reducing noise and pollution.
Aluminum is a lightweight, high-strength, and recyclable metal, and in great demand as a versatile and sustainable material for transportation, construction, and packing products. However, the energy demands required for the aluminum melting process are also substantial, driving aluminum manufacturers to find ways to reduce costs.
Aluminum melting is an energy-intensive process that typically uses gas-fired, reverberatory furnaces. These furnaces are thermally inefficient, yield high metal oxidation rates and melt loss, and generate emissions. Faced with the high energy requirements of the melting process, rising natural gas prices, and growing demand, the aluminum industry is exploring energy-efficient ways to melt, hold, and transport aluminum.
Isothermal Melting Represents a Paradigm Shift
Dr. C. Edward Eckert of Apogee Technology, Inc., understood the need for a radical melting technology that could substantially reduce energy intensity and metal loss in large-scale aluminum melting and other molten metal processes. So, with support from DOE's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP), Apogee Technology assembled a project team to research, develop, and demonstrate a new melting technology.
The result? The Isothermal Melting process (PDF 48 KB), which offers a revolutionary, highly efficient aluminum melting alternative to conventional furnaces. Download Adobe Reader. The Isothermal Melting system employs high-efficiency, high-intensity electrical resistance heaters to melt aluminum, using less than one-third of the energy required by conventional gas-fired furnaces. The resulting potential savings in natural gas used by the aluminum industry for melting and molten metal processing is estimated at 63 trillion Btu per year, equal to a cost savings of $340 million per year.
"The key to the Isothermal Melting process was to develop a technology that was capable of using an energy conversion process that could operate at near 100% conversion efficiency, and then effectively and rapidly transfer the heat that was produced into the melt," says Dr. Eckert. "Once it was clear that we could begin to do that, it made sense to move forward with the project."
After 5 years of intensive R&D, the project moved into the commercial demonstration phase at Aleris International, Inc. at Newport, Ohio, and was christened during a kick-off event in April 2006.
The project partners are not the only ones who are excited about this technology. In 2006, the Isothermal Melting process was awarded a prestigious R&D 100 award. Most recently, the technology was named one of the top 10 technologies of 2008 by Industrial Heating magazine.
Technology Synergy Yields Energy Savings
The Isothermal Melting (ITM) project demonstrates that working together works. ITP partnered with Apogee Technology, Inc., Aleris International, Drexel University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Argonne National Laboratory to produce a technology breakthrough with significant energy savings impact and widespread potential commercial applications.
Unlike conventional gas-fired furnaces, ITM melts aluminum via conduction and convection using a multi-bay, continuous-flow system that features two independent heating sources. The first is an array of high-heat-flux, direct-immersion electric heaters that supply melting heat requirements. The second is a moderate-heat-flux refractory panel heating system that provides holding heat for the molten aluminum. Aluminum manufacturers can expect benefits such as excellent metal quality, highly efficient operations, zero in-plant emissions, less melt loss, and reduced plant floor space requirements. (See How Does It Work?")
Moving into Commercial Demonstration
Aleris International, Inc., is one of the world's largest recyclers of aluminum and one of North America's leading manufacturers of common-alloy sheet from recycled aluminum. In its 48 production facilities worldwide, the company looks for ways to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs in melting operations. In 2005, the first commercial-scale, 5,000 lb/hour isothermal melter was installed at the Aleris International aluminum plant in Newport, Ohio. The furnace operated continuously for 15 months with molten aluminum. In comprehensive melting tests, the furnace demonstrated a thermal efficiency of 87% (including holding losses), a melt energy performance of 552 Btu/lb, and less than 1% metal loss to oxidation.
"While conventional recycling of aluminum uses just 5% of the initial energy investment needed to produce aluminum from mined products, it still represents a large energy expenditure for Aleris when we are melting billions of pounds of aluminum," says Dr. Ray D. Peterson, Director of Technology at Aleris International. "We are very excited about the opportunity that Isothermal Melting may offer to replace our current melting technologies and provide us with both savings in melting cost and a reduction in metal lost due to oxidation."
The next phase of the project promises to boost energy savings even further, through direct delivery and dispensation of molten aluminum to the casting operations site.
Integrating Melting and Delivery System Optimizes Energy Savings
The second phase of R&D focuses on integrating the energy-efficient melting capabilities with advanced portable delivery and in-plant dispensation technology. The new process will be showcased at Aleris International's operations and GM's Powertrain Division in Saginaw, Michigan, beginning in 2009. This demonstration calls for melting to be done at Aleris in an Isothermal Melter, and then uses turbo-electric ladle (TeL) trucks to transfer and dispense the molten aluminum at GM's casting operations site.
The integrated delivery and dispensing system further reduces metal loss and contamination, provides the flexibility to change alloy chemistry, and eliminates the need for energy-intensive holding furnaces at the casting site. The overall energy savings of the integrated system could exceed 85%, compared with the current practice of conventional melting, gas-burner-preheated ladles, and the reliance on insulation and superheated metal that limit transport time and distance.
Energy Savings Potential Expands in Cross-Cutting Applications
The Isothermal Melting project exemplifies a successful collaboration between ITP, industry, and academia to develop a promising new technology with a significant impact on energy efficiency in melting and other molten metal processes. As Apogee, Aleris and GM move forward with the next phase of the project, they will expand the initial technology into advanced melting and delivery capabilities.
What's more, the potential cross-cutting applications for the technology will extend energy savings and environmental benefits beyond the aluminum industry. These include other molten metal processes such as those involving lead, zinc, magnesium, and copper-based alloys as well as the production of glass, chemicals, and forest products.
Isothermal Melting Project Partners
- DOE Industrial Technologies Program
- Apogee Technology, Inc.
- Aleris International, Inc.
- Drexel University
- University of Pittsburgh
- General Motors
For more information, please contact Glenn Strahs, DOE Industrial Technologies Program, or call 202-586-2305.
How Does It Work?
View an animation of the isothermal melting technology. This animation is intended to represent a basic overview of the Isothermal Melting and transport and delivery process.
Ask an Energy Expert: Optimizing Process Heating Systems
Dr. Arvind Thekdi, our featured DOE Energy Expert, routinely conducts energy assessments to improve energy efficiency of process heating systems at industrial plants. During the assessments, he often encounters questions that indicate confusion about how process heating systems operate. In this issue of Energy Matters, Dr. Thekdi provides some basic information about process heating systems, and offers solutions for reducing heat losses to increase efficiency.
What is process heating?
Process heating is a critical step of manufacturing operations, used to heat materials in production of metals such as steel and aluminum, and nonmetals such as glass, cement, rubber, plastic, petroleum products and ceramics. Heat is applied to raise temperature of solids, liquids or gases in heating equipment such as furnaces, process heaters, melters, ovens, or dryers. The heating process softens, melts, or evaporates the materials, and may promote chemical reactions, molecular rearrangements, or breakdown of molecules of the materials being heated. Heat required in process heating equipment comes from fuels such as natural gas, fuel oil, coal, and other energy sources such as electricity or steam.
What are the different types of process heating systems?
The three most common process heating systems are: fuel-based, electricity-based and steam-based systems.
In fuel-based process heating, heat is generated by the combustion of solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels, and transferred either directly or indirectly to the material. The combustion gases are either in contact with the material (direct heating), or are confined and separated from the material (indirect heating; e.g., radiant burner tube, radiant panel, muffle). Examples of fuel-based process heating equipment include furnaces, ovens, heaters, kilns, and melters.
Electric-based systems (electro-technologies) use electric currents or electromagnetic fields to heat materials. Direct heating methods generate heat within the material by either (1) passing an electrical current through the material, (2) inducing an electrical current (eddy current) into the material, or (3) by exciting atoms/molecules within the material with electromagnetic radiation (e.g. microwave). Indirect heating methods use one of these three methods to heat a heating element or susceptor which transfers the heat either by conduction, convection, radiation or a combination of these to the material. Examples of electric-based heating systems include induction heating and melting, electric arc furnaces, infrared ovens, and vacuum furnaces.
Steam-based systems use steam to supply heat to the materials directly or indirectly. Direct steam heating systems inject steam into liquids or gases. Indirect systems use a heat exchanger in which steam is cooled and condensed in tubes; the heated tubes supply heat to the liquids and gases. Steam offers several advantages in process heating operations, such as high heat capacity, ease of transport, low toxicity and cost, and can be generated by a variety of by-product fuels. Examples of steam-heated systems include distillation columns, water or air heating, paper drying, and humidification.
Hybrid systems use a combination of process heat systems using different energy sources. An example is a paper drying process that combines an electric-based infrared technology with a fuel-based dryer.
What is the most common area of efficiency improvement for process heating systems?
Reduction or elimination of heat losses is the most important consideration in reducing energy use for process heating equipment. In cases where it is impossible to reduce the losses, consider recovering part of the energy lost and using it within the process itself or for other useful purposes. Several heat recovery methods exist that can be used within the heating system itself, within the plant, or converted into easily transportable energy such as electricity.
Efficiency of heating equipment is measured by the ratio of the amount of heat used by the material being heated to the amount of energy supplied to the heating equipment. For example, if heating equipment uses 10 MMBtu/hr heat and the load or material uses or receives 6 MMBtu/hr heat during the heating process, thermal efficiency of the process is considered 60%. The heat not used by the material is lost through the system.
Heat loss depends on many factors, such as the type of heat supply system used, equipment design, operations, and maintenance of the equipment. Here are some common areas of heat loss, and steps to take to reduce or recover the heat loss.
Area of Heat Loss
Steps to Reduce Heat Loss
Heat in flue or exhaust gases from the heating system. This includes heat content of total mass of flue gases, including air leakage into the system through opening: make-up air; moisture in flue gases or other sources.
Heating equipment walls or outside surfaces
Material handling equipment such as conveyor, belts, trays, fixtures etc.
Heat stored in refractories, insulation or other materials used for the equipment itself when it is heated from lower (usually ambient temperature) to the operating temperature
Cooling system air or water, if used
Openings by thermal radiation
Heat content of special atmosphere or reaction gases introduced in the system or released from the material being heated when these gases or vapors are discharged at high temperature from the heating equipment.
Other losses and solutions
Estimate heat losses in your system by using ITP's Process Heating Assessment and Survey (PHAST) software tool. PHAST also allows the user to estimate reduction in these losses by energy saving measures for each of these areas of heat losses.
For more information on how to improve your plant's process heating system efficiency, please see the following ITP resources.
- Process heating tip sheets.
- Improving Process Heating System Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry (PDF 1.2 MB) Download Adobe Reader.
- Technical handbooks, guides, and technical briefs on process heating.
- Process heating assessment training.
Questions/comments about this column? Contact Dr. Arvind Thekdi at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Arvind Thekdi has more than 40 years of experience in R&D and design of industrial process heating systems. During his career, he has worked for industrial heating equipment supply companies and government organizations, and conducted more than 50 process heating energy assessments in all major industrial sectors. Dr. Thekdi has helped to develop several energy efficiency software tools, including DOE's Process Heating Assessment Tool (PHAST). In addition to his role as a DOE Process Heating Energy Expert, he is an instructor for DOE's process heating end user and Qualified Specialist training classes. Dr. Thekdi has published more than 50 technical papers and contributed to two books on combustion and process heating, and holds 15 U.S. and foreign patents related to high temperature processes and equipment. Dr. Thekdi received a M.S. degree from Indian Institute of Science, and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.
Assessments Reveal Steam Energy Savings Opportunities for Chemical, Automotive, and Paper Manufacturing Companies
West Linn paper mill's new blow down heat recovery system is saving the company approximately 18,000 MMBtu and $133,000 per year.
Through Save Energy Now, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) performs energy assessments to help industrial manufacturing plants identify ways to improve efficiency in energy-intensive systems such as steam. Three recently published Save Energy Now case studies highlight the energy and cost savings recommendations identified during energy assessments performed at a chemical, automotive, and paper manufacturing plant.
Using Steam Assessment Tool to Measure Energy Savings Opportunities
- Dow Chemical Company St. Charles Operations in Hahnville, Louisiana: $1.9 million and 272,000 MMBtu in natural gas
- Chrysler truck and minivan complex in St. Louis, Missouri: $627,000 and more than 70,000 MMBtu in natural gas
- West Linn Paper Company mill in West Linn, Oregon: $379,000 and more than 58,000 MMBtu in natural gas.
Steam is used for various processes in these three plants, ranging from electricity generation to space and process heating. With such differing industries, recommendations in each plant varied accordingly. However, all three plants had one recommendation in common: the need to implement or improve a steam trap survey and repair program—a simple step that each plant quickly put into operation and almost immediately achieved a payback.
The Energy Expert guided plant personnel in the use of SSAT. Employees learned how to use the software to monitor their steam systems as part of an ongoing energy management effort, and also to share their knowledge with other facilities. The summaries below capture the savings opportunities discovered at each plant. Your plant, too, could benefit from applying some of these measures to improve steam efficiency.
Dow Assessment Results in Permanent Energy Savings Measures
At Dow Chemical Company's 2,000-acre plant in Hahnville, Louisiana, identifying energy efficiency opportunities is key to helping meet the company's corporate energy management goals. The energy assessment was performed by a team consisting of DOE Energy Expert Riyaz Papar of Hudson Technologies and six Dow employees.
Using SSAT, the team quantified several opportunities for increasing steam system efficiency. By quickly capitalizing on short-term opportunities, the plant has achieved annual savings of approximately $1.9 million and 272,000 MMBtu in natural gas.
Dow made immediate improvements to its steam system, including repairing several failed steam traps, fixing a number of leaks, improving an existing steam trap program, and enhancing a leak repair campaign. Because the total cost of the improvements was approximately $225,000, the simple payback was only about six weeks.
As a result of these cost and energy savings, the Hahnville plant has made steam trap maintenance and leak management an ongoing agenda; leaks and failed traps are recognized and replaced quickly. Dow is also sharing the results of the assessment with its other facilities that utilize steam.
Assessment Helps Chrysler Meet Energy Efficiency Goals Faster
The energy management policy at Chrysler encourages independent evaluations to identify opportunities that help the company meet its target goal of a 2% annual reduction in energy use per unit of production. At Chrysler's 5-million-square-foot truck and minivan assembly complex in St. Louis, Missouri, steam powers turbines and provides space and process heating.
Because the St. Louis complex uses 2.4 million MMBtu of natural gas and landfill gas per year, energy costs account for a significant amount of the complex's total expenses. After implementing several of the assessment recommendations, Chrysler saved approximately $627,000 in energy costs and more than 70,000 MMBtu in natural gas per year, with a simple payback of just over 2 months.
Energy Expert Riyaz Papar worked with two Chrysler employees and used SSAT to analyze the complex's steam system. The team uncovered energy efficiency opportunities in the steam system that could be implemented faster than Chrysler had predicted.
The company's Energy Champion worked directly with plant operations, maintenance, and the powerhouse to make immediate changes that would not affect production. Powerhouse operators were trained on a new operating strategy for the boiler that allowed the plant to shut down one boiler and operate the others as close to fully loaded as possible. A steam trap audit at the north plant revealed that 30 of the 48 steam traps had failed. Steam trap repair and inspections are now part of regular maintenance.
"Thanks to the expertise of the Save Energy Now consultant, we have identified some new opportunities to build on our past progress, and we are moving quickly to implement those ideas," said David Lyons from the Chrysler Environment and Energy Planning Group.
Small Changes Mean Big Savings for West Linn Paper Company
Founded in 1889, the West Linn Paper Company located in West Linn, Oregon, is the oldest active paper mill in the United States. The mill uses steam to dry up to 700 tons of coated free-sheet paper daily and to power two back-pressure turbines. Energy efficiency is an important concern for West Linn; the mill had already implemented some energy savings measures by the time of their energy assessment. After implementing several of the opportunities identified during the assessment, the mill achieved annual savings of approximately $379,000 and more than 58,000 MMBtu in natural gas, with a simple payback of less than 6 months.
During the assessment, Energy Expert Bill Moir of Steam Engineering, Inc., formed an assessment team with mill employees and helped them use the software to determine opportunities to improve steam system efficiency. The mill implemented several of the recommendations, including surveying steam traps, connecting two separate steam headers, applying additional insulation to steam headers, retuning boilers, and resetting combustion controls.
"The Save Energy Now assessment was a great way to help us quantify the opportunities we knew were out there and discover additional opportunities we hadn't seen before," said Robert Hart, Engineering Manager, West Linn Paper Company. "It helped us prioritize the work and sell it to mill management. Training with the Steam System Assessment Tool also gave us a consistent method to evaluate new projects. It was time well spent."
See more Save Energy Now case studies.
Self-Assess Your Energy-Saving Opportunities Today with Resources from DOE's Industrial Technologies Program
By Rolf Butters, Technology Manager
Perhaps your company already has an energy management program and you have evaluated your options and implemented energy saving projects. Are you aware that companies such as yours can often save 10% to 15% using best practices to increase energy efficiency? Would you like to know what types of projects your peers have evaluated and achieved? What other types of projects can you cost-effectively consider and potentially achieve? How can you intensify your energy savings search efforts without investing large amounts of time and money?
Reducing your company's energy consumption and costs, improving productivity, and meeting corporate energy management goals can all be accomplished by making improvements to industrial process systems. To help you achieve this, the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) offers a variety of industry-focused resources that are easily accessible through the ITP Web site.
The ITP State Activities Web site is a good place to find out about resources and incentives available in your area. This helpful site connects you to a database with almost 2,000 energy-saving incentives and resources available for industrial plant managers, including training opportunities and contact information for experts who can assist in your efficiency efforts.
One way plants are achieving energy savings is through Save Energy Now, a national initiative that helps industrial manufacturing companies identify ways to reduce energy use in the most energy-consuming industrial process systems. To date, 500 plants have completed Save Energy Now assessments to achieve total energy savings results of nearly $106 million, with total identified energy cost savings exceeding $700 million. In addition to energy assessments, ITP offers the following helpful resources.
Learn About How Other Plants are Identifying Savings Opportunities
Visit the Save Energy Now participating plants Web page to learn more about how other companies have identified savings in their facilities. Search by industry, energy system type, state, or year to discover energy savings recommendations that might be applicable to your plant. Also look for new icons to easily identify which companies have completed assessment reports, as well as those that have participated in case studies, and have been recognized by DOE for their energy savings accomplishments.
For example, if your company is in the steel industry and you are interested in the types of energy-saving opportunities other plants have identified, you may find reports from steel companies describing their assessment results in the participating plants database.
Access the Industrial Assessment Centers Database
ITP's Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) database contains data collected from more than 13,000 assessments conducted at small- and medium-sized plants both before and as part of the Save Energy Now initiative. These assessments are performed by teams of university professors and engineering students who are well-trained in energy management.
The IAC database can be searched by industry/product, year, state, annual energy expenditures, or subsequent energy savings. Use the Recommendation Index to identify assessment recommendations related to your category(s) of interest, such as energy management, waste minimization/pollution prevention, or direct productivity enhancements. Explore subsequent opportunities within a category and identify typical simple returns on investment based on energy costs at the time of the assessment. For example, to determine the payback on installing occupancy sensors, try this exercise:
- From the main IAC database Web page, select Recommendation Index
- Under Assessment Recommendation Code, click on Open, located next to Energy Management
- Locate Buildings and Grounds under Description and click on Open
- Locate Lighting under Description and click on Open
- Locate Controls under Description and click on Open.
Here you will see that installing occupancy sensors has an average return on investment of 1.3 years (data average is based on prior years and does not reflect current energy prices). You can also use the IAC database to create a customized list of top 10 assessments and recommendations by entering your own criteria. For instance, sorting by large average savings highlights the large opportunities to recover waste heat and implement combined heat and power processes.
In addition, the IAC site offers several training resources, including guidebooks such as a Modern Industrial Assessments Training Manual and Self-Assessment Workbook for Small Manufacturers; and the following archived Webcasts:
- Energy Efficient Building Management Strategies
- Measuring and Improving Boiler Efficiency
- Combined Heat and Power
- Optimizing Combustion Systems
- Steam System Management.
Software Tools, Training, and Publications Help Evaluate Opportunities
An integral part to the success of Save Energy Now is the variety of resources that are provided during energy assessments, which are conducted by DOE Energy Experts. These Energy Experts are all Qualified Specialists, highly skilled in the complex workings of energy-intensive industrial systems, including steam, process heating, compressed air, and motors, pumps, and fans. Energy Experts utilize DOE's system-specific software tools to analyze systems and provide recommendations for improvement. Learn how to use the software tools as part of your assessment or by attending a training event or Webcast. You will find that they are extremely valuable in quantifying any energy efficiency improvements you are considering.
"Training with the Steam System Assessment Tool program gave us a consistent method to evaluate new projects. It was time well spent," said Robert Hart, Engineering Manager at West Linn Paper Company. Read more about West Linn Paper Company (PDF 636 KB), which is saving $379,000 in energy costs annually after participating in a Save Energy Now assessment. Download Adobe Reader.
In addition to software tools, you can consult ITP's technical publications for guidance on purchasing, analyzing, and maintaining energy efficient industrial systems and components. These include tip sheets, technical fact sheets, and sourcebooks. To keep informed about new tools and resources like those mentioned here, as well as the latest industrial news highlights and announcements, training events, and project opportunities, subscribe to E-Bulletin, ITP's monthly electronic newsletter.
The Summer 2008 issue of Energy Matters will feature Part 2 of this article, with in-depth information about the IAC database and potential applications of wireless sensors for condition-based monitoring.
Boost Process Heating System Performance with New Sourcebook and Software
To help you understand and enhance the efficiency of your process heating systems, DOE's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) has updated two resources in its BestPractices library of helpful technical resources—the process heating sourcebook and Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool (PHAST) Software.
The second edition of Improving Process Heating Systems Performance: A Sourcebook for Industry (PDF 2.38 MB) was produced in collaboration with the Industrial Heating Equipment Association (IHEA). Download Adobe Reader. The new sourcebook provides information about basic process heating applications and equipment, options for energy and performance efficiency, and an overview of process heating economics. A new feature of this edition is a chapter emphasizing opportunities for improvement in electric-based systems performance.
Electric-based systems use electricity to make or transform a produce through heat-related processes. This new chapter features details and efficiency improvement tips for:
- arc furnaces
- electric infrared processing
- electron beam processing
- induction heating and melting
- laser heating
- microwave processing
- plasma processing
- radio-frequency processing
- resistance heating and melting
- ultraviolet curing.
The sourcebook also features a list of ITP's BestPractices process heating performance improvement tools, as well as a directory of additional industry resources on process heating systems. Find the entire suite of process heating tip sheets and technical briefs in the Appendix section.
Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool (PHAST) Version 2.0
ITP also announces the release of Version 2.0 of the Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool (PHAST). This software tool helps industrial users investigate process heating equipment that uses fuel, steam, or electricity, and identify the most energy-intensive equipment in their facility. Version 2.0 is enhanced to also assess furnace equipment, ovens, heaters, melters, and boilers. The new version supports both English and metric units of measurement, and allows local currency options for energy cost and savings calculations.
Download PHAST today, and start saving energy and money in your industrial process heating systems
Dr. Arvind Thekdi provides helpful tips for optimizing your process heating system in this issue's Ask an Energy Expert column.
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