At this year’s Hannover Fair in Germany, an executive panel touched on the importance of using energy properly. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, industry accounts for about one-third of energy used in the U.S. This means that there is an estimated $60 billion in waste. The panel was asked what industry can do to fight this and what may change over the coming decade.
Kevin Yates, President, Siemens Energy Management Division, USA, said that there is a tremendous shift in how energy is created, transmitted and delivered due to availability of renewable energy, low natural gas prices, the need for greater power reliability and regulatory dynamics.
“Though the challenges of this changing landscape often focuses on utilities or independent system operators, the industrial market can also pursue the opportunities offered by a 21st century power mix,” Yates said. “So, even though this shift may seem focused outside of a plant’s walls, today’s energy mix not only can, but is already significantly impacting the way industrial and commercial markets manage and consume energy.”
Yates explained how Orangeburg, S.C. is home to the world’s largest Ibuprofen factory, which serves as an economic anchor for the region and has over 300 employees. The plant was plagued with power outages due to sub transmission system issues.
“Each time the power went out, the plant was required to shut down production, a costly process that resulted in serious production losses and waste generation,” he said. “The options amounted to either looking for a new site, or working with the local utility to improve power reliability on the grid.”
Siemens partnered with the Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities to develop a Distribution Feeder Automation System for the city’s power system that transfers power during an outage event so electricity can continue to flow. The technology was successfully installed and even after a severe ice storm hit the area, Yates said this technology helped transfer power in 90 milliseconds to an alternative source. The Ibuprofen plant was able to avoid costly production shutdowns and keep operations flowing.
Anne Cooney, President, Siemens Process Industries & Drives Division, USA, noted that while studies place energy costs at 5-10% of production costs across all industries, in process-based industries, energy costs may comprise the single largest component of total costs, as much as 40%.
“Consequently, energy efficiency is always on the initiatives list for most of our customers in the process industries,” she said. “One of the most easily deployed ways that we can help them with that is through energy efficient motors and drives, which can deliver 30% or greater efficiency over older equipment. Depending on the scenario, the gains can be almost astronomical, reaching even 70%.”
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, Green engineering