Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Energy And Environment Focus Leads To Rapid Regulation

With the Obama Administration's emphasis on energy and the environment, more people are wondering what this might mean for manufacturing. From what Benz Air Engineering has gleaned from several meetings and presentations, most industry insiders seem to be pointing to the Western Climate Initiative, launched in 2007, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as the regulatory drivers for a future national model.

For environmentalists and the energy industry, the most notable feature is that 2012 projections include revenues from a source that does not yet exist: a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system. Currently, there are two cap-and-trade models being implemented in the Northeast and West.

Some other key points for consideration at Western Climate Initiative meetings:

• Reduce CO2, CH4,N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6 emissions to 15 percent below 2005 levels, by 2020.
• Priority reductions, including facilities that emit 10,000 metric tons of C02e by 2010
• Mandatory reporting by all emission producers by 2011
• Future regulations for manufacturers that emit > 25,000 MTCO2e/year by 2012
• Future regulations for electrical generators at the point of first delivery by 2012
• Future regulations for emission sources at the point of emission by 2012
• Future regulations on transportation gasoline and diesel combustion by 2015
• Mandatory implementation of GHG Inventory Management Plan

Benz Air Engineering is already working with several sites to meet future emission mandates while improving efficiencies that result in an immediate fuel cost savings. Most engineering solutions, which optimize efficiency and minimize emissions for industrial, utility and district energy and steam generation facilities, realize an payback in approximately two years. Many qualify for rebates, including up to 50 percent of the installation cost.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quick Plant Energy Profiler Evaluates Energy Management

Developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Quick Plant Energy Profiler Software Tool is one of several free web-based programs developed by the DOE to help U.S. industry improve energy management at industrial facilities. The software is designed for industrial plant managers and personal who have access to basic information about major energy-consuming systems at their industrial plants.

Simple to use, energy managers or boiler operators can complete a plant profile in about an hour. The Quick PEP tool asks for:

• Average utility bill information
• Average production information
• Major energy-using systems
• Score cards (optional)
• Average energy usage information

Once the information is input, Quick PEP tool can produce a profile that includes:

• The Quick PEP tool will provide the following:
• Energy use and cost per unit of production
• Annual purchased energy graphs and tables
• Potential annual energy savings graphs and tables
• Customized list of next steps, including recommended ITP software tools for further analysis of specific systems

Once registered, the Quick PEP case Quick PEP provides a customized, printable report that shows the details of energy purchases at the plant, how energy is consumed at the plant, potential cost and energy savings at the plant, and a list of next steps that you can follow to get you started saving energy at your plant. There is also an online tutorial, which provides key definitions and step-by-step instructions.

One of the most compelling portions of the report is how much energy each major systems in your plant use on an annual basis. Even if you are unsure of percentages of total electricity or total fuel/steam that each system uses, Quick PEP is equipped with industry averages.

In addition to evaluating the savings opportunities provided by the software, Benz Air Engineering can help your plant review the information and prioritize energy management systems around your boiler. Or, simply fill out and return a brief one-page questionnaire.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Two-Part Equation: Renewables And Efficiencies

According to The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), energy consumption has doubled between 1971 and 2005 and fossil fuels provide approximately 79 percent of the global supply. But what IRENA, a new intergovernmental organization for renewable energy with 75 member countries, does not spell out is that the majority of the world's population doesn't rely on this supply.

Specifically, it is estimated that 1.6 billion people do not have access to electricity and 2.4 billion people rely on traditional biomass (wood and dung). As people in developing countries require more energy, most will turn to fossil fuels much like China and India have since 1971. (China and India doubled their energy demand since 1990 and are expected to match or surpass OECD countries by 2030.)

Solution: Renewables

IRENA aims to become a driving force in a rapid transition toward the widespread global use of renewable energy. Specifically, the new agency will facilitate access to reliable data on the potential of renewable energy, as well as information about best practices, effective financial mechanisms, and the state of the art in renewable energy technologies. The agency will also develop and promote renewable energy policies on the local, regional, and national level. You can learn more about IRENA goals here.

While the United States has not yet joined the agency, it was represented at the founding meeting by an observer from the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. And, in recent weeks, the United States will join as it moves toward tighter emissions standards and renewable energy. ON Jan. 30, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced they will invest up to $25 million over the next four years for the research and development of processes that produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products.

Solution: Efficiencies

Of course, renewable energy is only part of the equation for sustainability. The other component is making more efficient use of the energy we have on hand. For example, one of Benz Air Engineering's recent retrofits in Modesto, Calif., reduced the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of one boiler from 30 parts per million to 6 parts per million. And, because the boiler is operating more efficiently and burning less fuel while delivering the same output, CO2 was reduced 20 percent. Four areas for consideration:

• Efficiency: Solutions require less fuel to produce a given energy output.
• Reliability: Solutions typically retrofit on proven, reliable steam boilers.
• Environmental: Solutions reduce CO2 by requiring less fuel, and reduce NOx.
• Economic: Solutions save manufacturing plants on their energy bills.

For example, if every manufacturing plant in the United States was retrofitted to provide for better efficiency, the United States could reduce its energy demand by as much as 20 percent. It makes sense for companies to consider reducing their energy needs as quickly as possible because most estimates project the global population will reach 9 billion people by 2030.

Considering the combined rate of population growth and the rapid pace of growth among developing countries, supply and demand will likely increase energy prices exponentially. In addition, there seem to be clear indicators that stricter emissions standards will be forthcoming under the new administration.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Del Monte In Modesto, Calif. Benefits From Compu-NOx

When a Del Monte Foods plant operating in Modesto, Calif., was required to reduce NOx emissions to less than a limit of 30 parts per million (ppm) in the 1990s, several special considerations had to be made in order to meet the needs of its seasonal production schedule. Specifically, the boiler, with a 10:1 turndown target, would have to operate with a near full load for three months of the year, but less than 20,000 pounds per hour for re-manufacturing during the rest of the year.

One of several unique features included with the initial bid saved the plant from having to purchase and install a new 300-horsepower fan. Instead, Benz Air Engineering installed a 250-horsepower variable speed drive to control an existing combustion air fan. It also added a 5-horsepower flue gas recirculation fan, which was also controlled by a variable speed drive. These solutions better met the needs of the plant. And, since the 250-horsepower fan operated at less than 400 watts of power, it is estimated the variable fan solution saved as much as $7,000 per month.

There were several other breakthroughs provided by Benz Air with its Compu-NOx solution. For example, Del Monte Foods' initial turndown requirement was 10:1, but the Compu-NOx solution delivered a boiler turndown of 15:1 while maintaining very tight and responsive boiler controls. This, combined with a unique feedwater control that eliminated an old pneumatic control, enabled Benz Air to increase boiler efficiency that resulted in an estimated annual savings of $100,000 in natural gas.

Highlights from the Initial Retrofit

• Reduced NOx emissions to 22 ppm, well below the 30 ppm requirement.
• Reduced CO emissions to 50 ppm, well below the 400 ppm requirement.
• Increased efficiency to ensure low NOx and CO levels attained with .8% O2.
• Meet all emission requirements at full capacity, and with a 25:1 turndown.

Since the initial retrofit, Benz has returned to Del Monte Foods several times to help the plant meet new requirements. To date, Benz has assisted in increasing plant efficiency to greater than 93 percent, reducing NOx emissions to less than 6 ppm, and earning more than $265,000 in efficiency rebates.