Costs of Hidden Manufacturing Energy Waste (and How to Reduce It)
We sometimes forget how much manufacturing energy waste can cost all of us. Below is a detailed look into these daily negative effects and how it can be reduced.
The conversion of energy from one form to another has enabled several products and machines to run and operate seamlessly.
An example of such machines are compressors used in commercial and industrial buildings for manufacturing processes. These machines rely on energy sources such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas and they also consume electrical energy which aids their proper functioning.
However, the “hidden costs” or “externalities” of manufacturing energy waste are high and these costs can be translated as the negative effects of energy waste.
For instance, external energy costs arise from the manufacturing activities in commercial buildings that take advantage of compressors, and this cost is evident in air pollution which can impact both public health and the environment.
Also, a National Research Council panel revealed that in 2005, energy waste resulted in $120 billion in hidden damages, excluding climate change in the U.S.
Negative Effects of Hidden Manufacturing Energy Waste
Manufacturing energy waste has several negative effects on humans and the environment.
Some of these include:
1. Impact on Human Health
The disposal of energy waste causes increased air pollution, which can impact on human health negatively, thereby leading to premature mortality and morbidity.
Chronic bronchitis and asthma are also health challenges posed by these pollutants. This is because air pollutants consist of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), etc.
2. Impact on Crops
Energy wastes also have a negative effect on nongrain agricultural crops.
It causes lower grain yields which can be greatly tied to global warming as a result of the emission of certain gases to the atmospheres.
3. Climate Change
Fossil fuels used to source energy also create external effects as a result of the emission of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) including water vapor, CO2, ozone, methane, and nitrous oxide.
The emission of these gases cause climate change that could impact on the ecosystem and society, in the future. The reason can be tied to the fact that heat from the earth’s surface is absorbed by these gases, thereby causing energy to be radiated back to earth instead of space.
Nonetheless, commercial buildings that use compressors can reduce energy waste costs significantly by following certain measures.
How to Reduce Costs of Hidden Manufacturing Energy Waste
The efficiency of compressors in commercial and industrial buildings is one of the most common causes of industrial energy waste. If you are a manufacturer, there could be high energy wastage which may come with a cost.
Nonetheless, a report “Finding Hidden Energy Waste with Data Loggers” by Onsetcomp shows how this cost can be reduced by taking the following measures.
Identify Energy Waste
The best way to determine energy costs is to first identify energy waste. An identification is made possible using temporary data logging devices that will enable you to get the critical operational information.
This information focuses on energy consumption and environmental conditions in your commercial building.
Also, these temporary measurements and recording devices are better since they are a less expensive alternative to installing permanent metering systems.
Therefore, the use of temporary data loggers to obtain information will justify the cost of installing new energy-saving equipment in commercial buildings.
Accordingly, energy waste can be discovered and curbed in the following areas:
- Heat energy wastage
- Non-use of free cooling
- Overly high peak energy use
- Improper compressor control
- Leaving electric machinery running when not required
Let’s take a look at each of these:
1. Heat Energy Wastage
The heat of compression generated by a compressor is often eliminated by cooling. The cooling process causes about 70% of the input energy to be lost.
On the contrary, an economic strategy would be to recover the heat and use it for winter space heat or process heat.
2. Non-use of Free Cooling
Facilities may use chillers to provide water at 40°F to 50°F which is useful for manufacturing processes and space cooling.
This process may require equipment such as refrigeration compressors, condensers, evaporators, cooling towers, pumps, etc.
Among each of these, the refrigeration compressor consumes more energy.
On the contrary, free cooling can be used at certain times of the year instead of relying on the compressor. It can be when the humidity allows for a direct rejection of the heat to the environment.
3. Overly High Peak Energy Usage
A good number of commercial and industrial electric rates have energy charges [¢/kWh] and peak power charges [$/kW].
It is essential to know when the peak usage occurs and the electric loads contributed to the peak.
Peak power (demand) charges can be reduced through the use of average electric load [kW], which is recorded every 15 minutes.
4. Improper Compressor Control
Compressed air is used in factories since it offers several benefits.
Nonetheless, the use of compressed air is an inefficient way to deliver energy throughout your facility. This is because 70% of the energy is converted to heat at the compressor, whereas, only 10% is used to achieve useful work.
On the other hand, when more than one compressor is used, compressor control is important to allow the machines to share the load efficiently. In this case, you can baseload all except one machine which will be designated as the swing machine.
5. Leaving Electric Machinery Running When Not Required
Money can be saved in the long run by turning off equipment while not in use.
However, this is sometimes not the case since energy and money are wasted daily just by not turning off the lights.
In the case of machines, they may not restart properly if left to run for a long time.
The hidden costs of manufacturing energy waste are numerous, however, industrial and commercial buildings can reduce these effects significantly. Whether it is with the use of compressors or machines that are powered by electricity, public health, and the environment can be protected.
It all begins by reducing heat energy waste, controlling compressor use, not leaving machines running when not in use, and other measures.
In the end, more benefits will be derived from the use of energy to generate power for compressors and other machines.
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