John Guthrie, Area Manager Product AC Drives, ABB writes: It’s that time of year again, when the Works Management Energy Report reveals how manufacturers are tackling rising energy bills.
And guess what? 70 percent of manufacturers intend to make energy savings by switching off unnecessary lights, with 67 percent intending to invest in more energy efficient lighting.
Once again, many industrial energy users can apparently only see the obvious and think they need look no further. Although reducing lighting costs is always worthwhile and easy to achieve, this focus on lighting is blinding manufacturers to the much more substantial savings that can be achieved with energy efficient motors and variable-speed drives.
The survey reveals that many manufacturers are still not aware that motor-driven applications account for some 65 percent of all electricity use in industry. Yet, only 10 percent of these applications have an efficient method of speed control to match motor speed with process demand. Targeting these energy intensive applications, like pumps and fans, is the way to make substantial long term cuts in energy bills.
The potential energy savings in industry are staggering - most companies can save thousands of pounds worth of electricity and some can even save hundreds of thousands of pounds by upgrading existing industrial processes. And it need not cost a huge amount to implement - the major savings to be made mean payback can be achieved on many projects in just a few months. Realising these savings could help to reduce CO2 emissions substantially while keeping companies competitive.
But savings of this magnitude won’t be made by looking at the same old solutions. Energy users will need to look beyond the obvious if they are to make a lasting difference to their costs.