Industrial Utility Efficiency    


Every municipality and utility is facing the reality of rising energy costs. In 2010, the Town of Billerica, MA, which is located 22 miles northwest of Boston with a population of just under 40,000 residents, engaged Process Energy Services and Woodard & Curran to conduct an energy evaluation of the Town’s Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) and pump station systems sponsored by National Grid. The objective of the evaluation was to provide an overview of each facility system to determine how electrical energy and natural gas were being used at the facility and to identify and develop potential costsaving projects.
This major mill complex upgraded their compressed air system and thereby eliminated $500,000 in annual rental compressor costs, reduced annual cooling-water costs by $500,000, and reduced electrical energy costs by $135,000 per year.
This factory currently spends $735,757 annually on the electricity required to operate the compressed air system at its plant. The group of projects recommended in the system assessment will reduce these energy costs by an estimated $364,211 (49% of current use). Estimated costs for completing the recommended projects total $435,800. This figure represents a simple payback period of 14.4 months.
Most printing facilities use vacuum for one process or another.  I recently spoke with Jesse Krivolavek, (a vacuum system efficiency specialist with IVS, Inc.) about his recent adventures in the world of printing.
A recent comparative vacuum technology study performed by Dr. Kingman Yee, as part of a Chrysler Summer Intern Professors Program, found that air consumption could be reduced by 98% when equipping a robot’s end-of-arm tooling with COAXÆ technology and a Vacustat™ check valve.
This stamping plant is a 2.5 million-square-foot facility with over two thousand employees.  At the time of the assessment, the plant was processing approximately 1,600 tons of steel per day into automotive vehicle components and parts such as body parts.
Air cannons, also known as air blasters or just “blasters” belong to a family of products known as flow aid devices. For over 30 years, air cannons have been used widely in industries such as cement manufacturing, electric power generation, coal, metal, and non-metal mining, and pulp and paper manufacturing.
Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine spoke with Mr. Ed McGovern (VP Sales & Business Development) of PIAB North America.
In February of 2008, a sugar plant near Savannah, Georgia suffered the ultimate tragedy. Fouteen employees were killed and 40 injured when finely ground motes of sugar dust ignited, setting off a violent blast. If the fatalities and a tarnished reputation weren’t enough, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) then fined the company more than 8 million dollars in workplace violations related to combustible dust.
Utilities have been cleaning their boilers for many years using either steam or high-pressure air.  In the past, when air was used, due to the size of the boilers and the reasonable quality of fuel used, a relatively small amount of cleaning was required.
Relatively few people realize that for a variety of industrial manufacturing applications, from air knife drying to simple blow-off nozzles, the use of high pressure compressed air that bleeds into the atmosphere represents a significant waste of energy.