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Crowley Carbon’s Hot 6: Energy Efficiency Essentials


A recent DECC report shows that the efficient use of energy and water could save British businesses a total of £23bn per year. Most of the potential savings come from the more efficient use of raw materials and reducing waste generation, but energy efficiency on its own could lead to £4bn in annual savings. So what are the best methods to make a facility more efficient? Crowley Carbon give you our top 6 low cost opportunities.
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Essential for any facility with large or small scale AC induction motors – the variable-speed drive or inverter controls the flow of power into the motor and allows power to be used more effectively. A VSD can cut energy use so dramatically that it can pay for itself in as little as six weeks. More importantly variable-speed drives can extend the lifetime of electric motors and reduce maintenance and service costs by allowing them to be started up slowly, rather than jolted into action with a surge of power. This soft-start function is easier on the mechanical components and the electrics and electronics of the motor. The digital operation of the drives allows operational data to be captured more easily by EMS and M&T equipment, allowing maintenance to be scheduled and providing the early warning of potential breakdowns by highlighting energy anomalies.

A VSD converts the 50Hz fixed-frequency and fixed-voltage AC power supply into a DC supply, using an integrated rectifier. This variable output enables the VSD to quickly change the speed and the torque of the motor in response to the changing load. Systems that require control of flow or pressure are most suited to the use of a VSD. See IDS for more.
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LED lighting products have gotten a lot of stick in the past for being notoriously unreliable and well, not very bright. However as with all energy efficiency products, the technology has come a long way in the past 10 years. This means that today – by not having them installed in your plant you are needlessly wasting a lot of money. LEDs can save up to 75% more energy and last 25 times longer than ordinary incandescent bulbs.

LEDs use light emitting diodes to produce light very efficiently. An electrical current passes through semiconductor material, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs. Unlike ordinary incandescent bulbs they don’t have a filament that will burn out, and they don’t get especially hot. LEDs emit very little heat. In comparison, incandescent bulbs release 90% of their energy as heat and CFLs release about 80% of their energy as heat. The LEDS are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, and they last just as long as a standard transistor. The lifespan of an LED surpasses the short life of an incandescent bulb by thousands of hours.
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Heat pumps transfer the heat stored in the earth or in ground water to buildings in winter and the opposite in summer for cooling. Through compression, heat pumps can ‘pump up’ heat at low temperature and release it at a higher temperature so that it may be used again. A heat pump looks similar and can perform the same functions as a conventional gas or oil boiler, i.e. space heating and sanitary hot water production. Heat pumps in general have a COP of about 4.2 – 4.6 that means for every unit of electricity used to operate the heat pump, up to four units of heat are generated. That might not mean much to some but when we compare this to traditional electric resistance heaters that have a COP of around 1.0 – it means the potential for big energy savings!

When a heat pump is used for heating, it employs the same basic refrigeration-type cycle used by an air conditioner or a refrigerator, but in the opposite direction – releasing heat into the conditioned space rather than the surrounding environment. According to the US EPA geothermal heat pumps can reduce energy consumption up to 72% compared with electric resistance heating. But before everyone starts rushing out to buy this energy saving device keep in mind that initial cost can be up to 20 x more expensive than regular resistance heaters. On the plus side – The Renewable Heat incentive scheme brought in by UK and Irish governments in recent years helps fund the initial capex required.
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EMS (Energy Management systems), BEMS (Building Energy Management Systems), BAS (Building Automation Systems)… There are several acronyms coined for this type of software but essentially it relates to systems that monitor, report, control and analyse the energy consumption of an entire facility by tracking the energy consumption of specific equipment and their relationship to each other. A network of digitised meters and smart control systems like that from MDC lies at the heart of this capability. New systems, like Crowley Carbon’s refrigeration energy management system based on open source, cloud based technology have, in recent years given increased oversight of the complexities of industrial processes enabling the correlation of KPIs, production data, shift patterns, weather and occupancy rates .

Energy Management Systems can save anywhere from 10% – 50% on energy bills and provide a raft of other non – energy related benefits such as improved time management, improved internal comfort levels, satisfied occupants, improved CSR and can even increase the value of a property.
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This little known piece of kit is essential for large scale refrigeration systems. It might sound like a mouthful but the technology behind ecomesh could not be simpler or more straight forward. It is a unique mesh and water spray system that improves the performance of Air Cooled Chillers, Dry Coolers and Refrigeration plants whilst reducing energy consumption by up to 44%. hydromesh can be fitted to the vast majority of troublesome units, where its water spray technology eliminates problems and once fitted is virtually maintenance free. The solution is low cost, effective and does not interfere with process or operating conditions.
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Having a generator on site presents a huge energy saving opportunity. Demand response provides an opportunity for consumers to play a significant role in the operation of the electric grid by reducing or shifting their electricity usage during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other forms of financial incentives. Aggregators like Powerhouse are licensed by the grid to trade companies’ demand reduction availability and generating capacity in the Single Electricity Market (SEM). Smart grid applications improve the ability of electricity producers and consumers to communicate with one another and make decisions about how and when to produce and consume electrical power. This emerging technology, often enabled by energy management systems and smart meters will allow customers to shift from an event-based demand response – where the utility requests the shedding of load, towards a more 24/7-based demand response where the customer sees incentives for controlling load all the time.

UK government white paper on potential of demand side response to 2035

For more info on any of these products, how to implement or install or to query whether they are right for your business. Contact Crowley Carbon today.

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