When people talk about climate goals the focus often lays on the geopolitical situation. In the meantime simple technological innovations for the industry are neglected far too often. That is unfortunate, as a company such as Tata Steel has realised a huge reduction in costs and in gas and CO2 emissions with the simple installation of contact-free magnet couplings.
On the one hand we do not want to cut in our energy consumption, but on the other hand we do want to reach the climate goals. Especially in the (industrial) economy these two sides of the coin conflict with each other. So in that industry the energy consumption remains high.
In the meantime industrial consumers are overtaken by current affairs from all different directions. With the sanctions against Russia it got visible how much energy there is being consumed and how very dependent we are on international parties.
For the great consumers in the industry energy gas usage has always been relatively cheap thanks to European fundings; the consumer pays 0,25 EUR/kWh and the industry only 0,05 EUR/kWh. Due to this arrangement the industrial consumers needn’t pay much attention to energy saving solutions. But since recent it seems that those low energy prices remain with the past. Additionally there is of course the global attention to reach the climate agreements. The urgence for substantial reduction of CO2 emissions and gas usage is rising in the field of large industrial consumers.
As it seems, industrial consumers are suddenly faced with huge challenges. Many consultants are trying to give an insight in the big picture and project groups around the world are making plans of approaches. Though the concrete implementations of these plans and ideas are often years ahead.
But for a fact there are short term possibilities. By increasing the efficiency of production processes it is possible to save quite fast quite a lot of energy. Several innovative technologies with direct impact haven’t received the attention it deserved. Until now!
One of the quick wins for the industry is by cutting down the exorbitantly high energy consumption of pump- and fan systems. This can be achieved by using adaptable contact-free magnetic couplings. Principally it can be said that most pumps are designed a few sizes too big because of many (technical) safety measurements. At the bigger power outputs, above 7,5 kW, 75% of all pumps are installed with a choke valve or bypass to deflate the overproduced outcome of the pump. Without a choke, too much water comes out of the pump, which isn’t needed for the process.
Choking is an energy wasting process as the system is just pumping against a choked valve. By implementing a contact-free magnetic coupling in a pump system this process can be controlled much better, and much simpler.
At four pumps at the cold rolling mills of Tata Steel variable contact-free magnetic couplings from Zytec Nieuwegein are installed, in only two days. In the installation the pumps are directly set in the best-efficiency point, and the choke valves were completely opened. With this instalment a direct energy reduction of 600 tonnes CO2 and 1,1 million kWh electricity per year is achieved. This is the equivalent of the yearly energy consumption of 340 households or 300.000 m3 gas. The payback period of this investment was less than a year and a half. This short payback period can be reached for one of the reasons that most industrial pumps have a continuous activity of 365 days and nights per year. So it shows that for these great power systems the impact of an energy reduction solution is huge.
The Dutch industry imports three billion m3 gas from Russia every year. Imagine that if in the Netherlands alone we execute 3.000 of these optimisation projects, such as in the production facility of Tata Steel, then we will save one billion m3 gas that we don’t need to buy or import.
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