Industrial Utility Efficiency    


A small pulse crop and seed processing facility located in Canada has upgraded their facility compressed air system to accommodate the expansion of their production capacity.  While completing this project the facility has learned some valuable lessons about sizing and maintaining lubricated screw air compressors and compressed air drying equipment.
Compressed air system refinements have cut operating costs at a Milk Plant located in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada by 62%, for annual savings of nearly $30 000. The improvements were made following a compressed air audit that recommended consolidating two compressed air systems into one, installing a variable speed drive compressor, and making a handful of additional basic improvements.
CVP System, Inc.’s MasterPACKer Eco+™ Breaks Down Barriers to Cost and Energy Savings Through Improved Modified Atmosphere Packaging Technology Worldwide, Tesco, a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, U.K., initiated the demand for modified atmosphere packaging technology in the early 70s. It became one of the first grocers to move away from employing an onsite butcher to using a central processing/distribution system.
Compressed Air Best Practices interviewed Doug Barndt (Manager, Demand Side Energy-Sustainability), Joseph Gress (Principal Engineer, Demand Side Energy) from Ball Corporation and Chris Gordon (Compressed Air System Specialist) from Blackhawk Equipment.  
Nitrogen gas provides a number of diverse uses for a wide variety of manufacturers. As a sister function of compressed air, on-site nitrogen generation can provide additional opportunities for cost savings and other efficiencies for manufacturers who shift from delivered liquid nitrogen service.
This article describes a compressed air retrofit project implemented at Kellogg’s Eggo factory located in San Jose, California. Kellogg’s continues to realize both annual energy savings and quality improvements because of the upgrade. In addition, Kellogg’s received a substantial utility incentive from Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which was based on the achieved energy savings.
Temperature control of the musts during the fermentation process is required for the production of high quality wines. Alcoholic fermentation is the chemical reaction in which yeast is used to transform the natural sugars of the fruit into alcohol. The heat generated by this exothermic reaction has to be managed. If must temperatures are allowed to reach the 85°F to 105°F range the reaction will be stopped. This results in high sugar content and an unstable product that requires the addition of sulphur dioxide (SO2) to allow it to be stored without spoiling. In general, optimal fermentation temperatures are 65°F - 68°F for white wines and 77°F for red wines.
Recently, The Kroger Company’s Indianapolis bakery identified the use of compressed air in a blow-off and conveyor gap transfer as a major source of energy loss and cost waste. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “inappropriate use” of compressed air like blow-off produces high pressure atmosphere bleed leading to significant energy loss and unnecessary operational costs. Carrying a 10-15% efficiency return (according to the Department of Energy), compressed air applications can often be achieved more effectively, efficiently and less expensively with alternative solutions using a high flow rate and moderate pressure.
This Midwestern prepared food company now spends $269,463 annually on energy to operate their compressed air system. This figure will increase as electric rates are raised from their current average of 6.2 cents per kWh. The set of projects recommended below will reduce these energy costs by $112,902 or 41%. In addition, these projects will enhance productivity and quality and reduce equipment maintenance costs. Estimated costs for completing the projects total $146,102, which represents a simple payback of 15.6 months.
A leading soft drink bottling manufacturer’s compressed air needs were threatening to exceed its Michigan plant’s compressed air capacity. Faced with the cost of buying a new compressor, the soft drink bottling manufacturer re-assessed their compressed air use to identify compressor and energy savings opportunities. In the audit, the soft drink bottling manufacturer identified the use of compressed air in a gap transfer as a source of compressed air and energy inefficiency.
The secret to success is to understand the nature of what type of leak produces a detectible ultrasound and what does not, along with the techniques that can be used for effective leak identification.