U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Advanced Manufacturing Office – Industrial Distributed Energy

Kaiser Aluminum Uses DOE Process Heating Software Tool Company-Wide After Energy Assessment

July 18, 2008

The possibility of improving productivity while saving energy and money motivated the Kaiser Aluminum aluminum extrusion plant in Sherman, Texas, to participate in a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Save Energy Now energy assessment. Following the assessment, employees at the Sherman plant implemented two recommendations and achieved annual natural gas cost savings of $360,000, energy savings of 45,000 MMBtu, and improved furnace efficiency by 11.1% with a simple payback period of 1 month.  

Using DOE's Process Heating Assessment and Survey Tool (PHAST) software, DOE Energy Expert Richard Bennett of the Janus Technology Group identified three opportunities for increased energy efficiency. Employees at the Sherman plant adjusted burner controls on one of the main reverberatory melting furnaces to lower excess oxygen levels, and repaired the furnace's door sill and jamb to prevent cold air from seeping in. Personnel are considering the third recommendation, optimizing furnace airflow, for future implementation.  

The success of the assessment and the quality of the DOE training on process heating system analysis led Kaiser Aluminum to adopt the Save Energy Now assessment methodology and PHAST software as the corporate diagnostic tool for process heating systems. Five other plants have used PHAST to evaluate process heating system efficiency and have identified significant opportunities for improvement.  

"The Save Energy Now assessment was a tremendous asset in helping us identify energy savings opportunities," said David Conrow, Vice President of the Kaiser Aluminum Production System. "The process provided insight into new areas we had not previously considered and validated merits of potential projects we previously identified. We found the experience quite helpful."  

To learn more about Kaiser Aluminum's assessment, including energy savings recommendations that can be applied to your plant, read the full case study (PDF 637 KB). Download Adobe Reader. See additional Save Energy Now case studies.  

Apply today for a Save Energy Now energy assessment to start saving energy in your plant. If you already participated in an assessment, be sure to implement the recommendations and complete an assessment report with your DOE Energy Expert.