Energy savings in utility systems 2016

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1 Energy savings in utility systems 2016 Page 1 of 15

2 Table of Contents Executive summary... 3 Compressed Air Systems... 4 Running costs and energy losses... 5 Compressed Air Leakage... 6 Low Dew point... 6 Refrigeration Systems... 8 Running costs and Energy losses... 8 Poor Control... 9 Refrigerant Leakage HVAC (Heating, ventilation and Air conditioning) Running costs and Energy losses Poor Maintenance regimes Poor Control Page 2 of 15

3 Executive summary This purpose of this white paper is to summarise where energy savings can be made in the utility systems employed in the industrial sector and to describe some of the faults that cause these inefficiencies. This white paper aims to answer the following questions: What are the main energy performance issues and inefficiencies in industrial utility systems? What are the costs relating to these issues? How can these issues or faults in system performance be identified? Is it cost effective to remedy them? How long (if possible to calculate) will it take for these changes take to return on the investment it takes to remedy them? This paper introduces industrial utilities and highlights two of the most common faults or bad practises for HVAC (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning), Air-compression and Refrigeration systems. It then goes on to explain how to determine if energy savings are possible and to describe potential solutions to said faults. This paper demonstrates that small but targeted changes to HVAC, air-compression and refrigeration utilities can result in major energy and cost savings with the more serious issues delivering a payback on investment of less than one year Page 3 of 15

4 Compressed Air Systems Compressed air generation systems (Figure 1) form an integral part of any factory where pneumatically actuation takes place, with upwards of 10% of a pharmaceutical plants electricity being used on air compression. Use of compressed air varies with the type of factory however some common examples would be; air brakes, air jet, air motor, valve actuation, boiler tube cleaning, cleaning, buffing and work positioning. With such a large percentage of all electricity in a plant being used for air compression, implementing some simple changes could result in large reductions in running costs. Figure 1. General Arrangement of an industrial Air Compressor System Page 4 of 15

5 Running costs and energy losses As detailed in Figure 2, the majority of cost associated with air compression is electrical. Though end use is key, the most cost effective place to identify energy savings on air compression systems would be with the general running and efficiency of the air compressor itself. Running costs of an air compressor over a 5 year period Servicing, 15% Purchase cost, 14% Electrical, 71% Figure 2. Running costs over a 5-year period Figure 3 details the losses associated with compressed air generation. These would typically be motor losses, compression and idle losses, cooling and drying losses, pressure losses in filters, dryer and pipework and leakage and expansion losses. However, for the purpose of this paper, high leakage rates, which are a major component of idling losses, and low dew point temperatures are discussed as these are two of the most prevalent issues in industrial compressed air systems. Figure 3. Energy losses in compression Page 5 of 15

6 Compressed Air Leakage Many factories can operate compressed air systems with leakage rates of approximately Leakage is commonly found at, but not limited to, joints, drains, valves, flexible hose pipes, filter and lubricator units, pressure regulators, condenser traps and thread sealants. A 2007 report published by the Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) found that a 4mm hole in a system, operating at 8 Bar, or PA (pascal) could result in losses of over 2000 per annum. Adjusting for inflation and energy price increases, this would equal almost On a factory wide scale this can result in large losses in energy and an inefficient compressed air system. It is therefore essential to monitor the leakage rate from industrial compressed air systems to ensure the generation system is not operating at unnecessary high levels servicing high leakage rates. Figure 4 details losses due to air leakage for a variety of hole sizes and typical plant compressed air operating pressures. Figure 4. Costs of leaks in compressed air system for a range of pressures Low Dew point In an air compressor air can become saturated due to isentropic compression and expansion. This moisture in the air can become problematic to end users who require a certain dryness of air. Driers, which are usually mounted in the compression air generation station, are employed to remove this moisture from the air. A dew point is defined as the atmospheric temperature (varying according to pressure and humidity) below which water droplets begin to condense and dew can form. Choosing a dew point which is suitable for a factory/ plant is very important. Choosing a dew point which is too low will result in over drying the air and hence will result in unnecessarily high energy costs to operate the system. Choosing a dew point which is too high may result in poor air quality for the end users. Table 1 can be utilised to determine a suitable dew point for a specific plant. It is therefore critical to monitor the dew point set points in use in industrial compressed air installations to ensure they are Page 6 of 15

7 as economically advantageous as possible while not impacting on end use requirements. Too often multiple systems on the same industrial site will operate with differing dew point settings with no quality requirement to do so. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the dew point on each system in isolation and in parallel for maximum energy performance. Table 1: ISO Quality classes of compressed air Page 7 of 15

8 Refrigeration Systems Refrigeration systems (Figure 5) are core to the operation of any factory which requires cooling of a process medium or has extensive HVAC equipment and a significant cooling load. Some examples of where refrigeration may be required in industry are; chilled water, data storage cold rooms, product storage, air conditioning and mixed use heat exchangers. Refrigeration is expensive and savings of 25 30% are easily attainable in most plants by implementing more efficient control and maintenance practices. These savings can be achieved with little initial cost and can pay off within two years. Ensuring that a refrigeration system is more efficient ensures better reliability, which in turn results in fewer breakdowns and less maintenance costs and down-time losses. Figure 5. A common industrial refrigeration system Running costs and Energy losses Table 2 shows some examples of typical refrigeration system energy usage in a number of sectors. As seen in the table, refrigeration costs vary considerably depending on sector. Costs may also be greatly influenced by ambient temperature. Refrigeration generally amounts to 20 70% of overall energy costs in most facilities requiring cooling. Therefore, if refrigeration efficiency is increased, this will amount to large energy savings overall. Energy losses in a refrigeration system are typically as a result of one or more of the following issues; blocked condensers, Recycling of warm air, oil level too high or too low, inadequate maintenance, leakage, poor control, distribution head too low, poor choice of refrigerant and obstacles in air flow. Page 8 of 15

9 Table 2: Refrigeration energy usage by sector Poor Control Often in industrial utility systems, control set points are not optimal for the service that they need to deliver. While these set points may be safe they do not ensure maximum efficiency. Customizing these set points to a particular plant can have a large effect on the efficiency of the system. Commonly plants use traditional control methods resulting in systems potentially running when not required or sub optimally when they are. Plants with multiple condensers or cooling towers, still relying on traditional pressure switches would see a large rise in efficiency due to installation of control microprocessors. Poor sequencing control of processors will cause several processors to operate at part load simultaneously. A condenser receives hot refrigerant gas from a compressor and condenses it into a liquid. At lower temperatures the pressure produced by the compressor may be lower, this reduces the amount of work required by the compressor. Installing floating pressure head control allows the compressor to float between high and low pressures according to ambient conditions. This will allow the compressor to operate most efficiently and cost-effectively. It is therefore essential to monitor the evaporator and condenser temperature values in comparison to the outside temperature and humidly levels to ensure optimum energy performance of equipment. Figure 6 details is a schematic of a typical industrial control system. Page 9 of 15

10 Figure 6. Control schematic Refrigerant Leakage Refrigerant leakage is a major issue in industry for a number of reasons. Leaking refrigerant greatly lowers the efficiency of the refrigeration process, increasing operation costs and energy usage. Refrigerants such as R171, R404A, are also very expensive to replace, often upwards of 45 a kg. Some of the chemicals contained in a refrigerant can be hazardous and therefore would pose a considerable risk to staff and end users of the system. Due to the hazardous nature of refrigeration chemicals, they pose a large risk to the environment, it is illegal to knowingly allow them to leak, therefore it is a crucial responsibility of a company to ensure that these leaks are repaired. If leaks are not repaired they will greatly affect the efficiency and day to day running of the plant, driving up energy usage and costs, as illustrated in Figure 7 below. The effects of leakage will grow in severity over time as materials and equipment degrade. It is therefore essential to monitor refrigerant charge levels to ensure optimum refrigeration system operation in terms of energy performance Page 10 of 15

11 Figure 7. Breakdown of costs associated with neglect of leaks Page 11 of 15

12 HVAC (Heating, ventilation and Air conditioning) HVAC systems (Figure 8) are made up of air handling units services by chilled water and hot water systems in order to maintain thermal and air quality conditions within an industrial environment. This system can include ducts, vents, water-coolers, air-coolers, heat exchangers, heat pumps, boilers and fans each with a packaged AHU or as separate components of a larger system. These systems maintain conditions in general work areas and also in more extreme environments such as clean rooms with the latter being especially energy intensive. Figure 8. A typical AHU Running costs and Energy losses According to a study conducted by the SEAI in 2007, HVAC can account for up to 80% of a sites total energy usage. In a study of 14 major manufacturers, it was found that HVAC accounted for 356 of 1000 GWh of total electrical energy and 322 of a total of 726 GWh thermal energy as detailed in Figure 9. Page 12 of 15

13 Figure 9. HVAC % Energy usage Possible sources of energy loss/ fault in a HVAC system may be; poor control, design issues, poor maintenance or calibration, an excessive number of air changes, wasted heat, poor insulation, a passive control valve, stuck damper, poor control logic, supply set points conflicting with room set points, poor management and erroneously selected set points. In a 2007 report, SEI identified 137 opportunities for energy savings in HVAC, having carried out a case study on a number of factories. Figure 10 identifies the opportunity frequency distribution of potential energy savings as observed by SEI. This report will focus on the two largest opportunities, poor maintenance regimes and inefficient control. Figure 10. Categories of opportunities, based on frequency of occurrence Page 13 of 15

14 Poor Maintenance regimes Effective HVAC maintenance is key to its efficient operation. Poor maintenance in a system, can result in large losses in energy. A lack of emphasis on utility systems maintenance with specific attention to HVAC systems can lead to the number of AHUs in a plant outnumbering those maintaining them by a factor of 20 to 1. Deficiencies in system operation can hence go undetected and unrepaired for long periods of time. Maintenance in HVAC systems is generally only carried out following complaints of end users or from breached limit alarms. Preventative measures are not in place and parts are not replaced before they fail. For example, filters may be changed on a time basis, rather than when the maximum differential pressure is exceeded. Policies such as this can result in parts remaining in place long after fail, seriously effecting the efficiency of the system. AHUs (Air handling units) are self-correcting and therefore will consistently supply air at the required standard. Should a fault such as a passing heating coil occur in the AHU, it will over-compensate with an overly open cooling coil. Therefore, faults that go undetected and unrepaired can have a knock on effect, over-working other components and causing further failures. It is therefore essential to monitor key operational parameters within an AHU and HVAC system in general, to ensure it is operating as efficiently as possible. Often faults in HVAC systems require down-time for repair, which may affect the overall plant. Therefore, components should be tested to ensure they will perform until the next annual or quarterly shut-down. It is therefore essential that HVAC systems are properly maintained, with proper maintenance policies in place, to prevent energy wastage, failures and to ensure maximum efficiency. Poor Control Similar to refrigeration systems, HVAC control set points often are not optimised according to specific service requirements. This may result in a system operating above the required standard, at a cost to the factory. Customizing these set points increases efficiency and limits energy losses. It is common for a plant to rely on the traditional control systems installed with the machines, replacing entire systems after a period of time. However, minor alterations undertaken to modernise these control systems can dramatically increase the efficiency of a machine or system, allowing it to function at a higher standard for longer. This will result in energy savings, while also prolonging the life of the machine, limiting replacement costs. Hunting which occurs in most plants, as a direct consequence of poor control, results in the overworking of HVAC systems, prematurely degrading components and wasting energy. Typically plants do not have an enthalpy control for its mixing box which would enable free heating and cooling. Variable load fans running at flat rate, not adjusting output according to demand with use of a VSD (variable speed drive), run at a constant cost. These systems which are not reconfigured at times of low occupancy or demand, when temperature, heating and airflow need not run at a continuous standard, are expensive. Similarly, HVAC systems which use radiators and split air-conditioning units often run simultaneously, without control in place to prevent this from occurring. Introducing control measures can result in large energy savings. Where possible, systems should be automated to optimise control and not left to run in manual sub optimal operation to overcome some short term issue. For example, often in plants, exhaust fans have no temperature control, which could automate control of the fan, limiting energy use and extending life-time of the fan. Page 14 of 15

15 References Air compression A guide to ISO High quality compressed air from generation to application-domnick Hunter. Compressed air technical guide SEI GPG216-Energy saving in the filtration and drying of compressed air Refrigeration Running refrigeration plant efficiently- a cost saving guide for owners (Guide 279) Good Practice Guide 280 Energy efficient refrigeration technology the fundamentals Good Practice Guide 283 Designing energy efficient refrigeration plant HVAC SEI, special working group- HVAC spin HVAC optimisation in pharmaceutical facilities- Biopharma Page 15 of 15

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