The Food Manufacturing Brainstorm features industry experts sharing their perspectives on issues critical to the overall food industry marketplace.
Refrigeration costs account for the majority of a plant’s total electrical costs, often exceeding 60 percent of total operating expenses. As
energy costs continue to increase, more and more food manufacturers are realizing the need for energy optimization and monitoring as a
way to increase productivity and lower energy costs.
The key drivers in managing energy efficiency are:
• Reducing operational costs.
• Utilizing existing systems to reduce equipment costs.
• Analyzing the ROI for new energy savings projects.
• Conducting a power quality assessment.
Most refrigeration systems are designed to optimize the efficiency
of each individual component rather than looking at the entire system
as a whole and ensuring that all components work together efficiently.
Many manufacturers add new equipment without regard to the impact
on the total system, leading to wasted energy and operational inef-
1. Continuously check your basic systems for new technology.
Food manufacturing facilities often have the following basic systems:
Continuous, dependable magnetic protection against tramp iron contamination
Magnetic Liquid Traps
Leader in product purity and equipment
protection in the Food Industry.
ficiencies. Here are some steps manufacturers can take to reduce energy costs:
1. Audit. Identify deficiencies and establish baseline usage.
2. Design. Select the proper equipment
based on size and compatibility and install
3. Energy Recovery. Capture waste
energy and reuse it.
4. Maintenance. Conduct regular maintenance to check for dirty filters, broken
sensors, failed insulation and other malfunctions that could be wasting energy.
5. Monitoring. Know how much, when and where energy is being
used. Install alarms and monitoring systems to identify inconsistencies
and trends that could be wasting energy.
6. Operations. Optimize your set points or put in controls to do it
automatically to better manage processes and efficiency.
compressed air, hot water, steam systems,
lighting and HVAC. Consider new LED lights
in place of fluorescents or adding VFDs to
larger electric loads. Today’s technology is
advancing so rapidly with regard to energy
reduction that we recommend a periodic
review of these systems — perhaps every 12
to 18 months. What was installed even just
a few years ago should be re-examined and
2. Cooling load energy reduction. Food
manufacturing facilities which produce perishable products require some type of refrigeration systems. Whether
the refrigeration is required to cool, freeze or simply store products,
the associated equipment may involve several thousand horsepower.
Energy users this large offer numerous opportunities for energy savings.
SSOE engineers with refrigeration design and operating experience
are able to perform an evaluation of a system that targets energy
savings and utility incentive opportunities. This assessment begins
with an evaluation of existing system operating conditions as well as
capacity requirements, equipment selections and pipe sizes. The control strategy for refrigeration systems is also evaluated for opportunities to reduce energy consumption through condenser fan and pump
cycling, compressor staging, reduced discharge pressure operation,
defrost timing and methods, use of variable frequency drives and
adjustments for seasonal operating conditions.
An energy assessment may take several days to several weeks,
depending on the size of the system and the accuracy of system doc-
umentation and drawings. SSOE has found that the engineering costs
for these services typically will total only a fraction of energy savings.
3. Utility incentives. Numerous electric and gas suppliers offer
rebates and other incentives to reduce energy consumption. Switching
to an interruptible gas supply for boilers and adding a back-up fuel
may present an attractive option for consideration.