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In factory and manufacturing environments, electricity costs account for 40% of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a pump. By following energy management best practices, a manufacturer can decrease the electrical consumption of its pumping systems by at least 30%, yielding a 20% reduction in TCO and a return on investment within 24 months.
Graphic 1: Typical pump life-cycle cost profile (Courtesy of Hydraulic Institute and Pump Systems Matter)
If improving the energy efficiency of a pumping system can result in significant savings, why do operations teams find it difficult to initiate changes? Typically, pumping system performance ratings aren’t tied to energy efficiency, making it difficult to justify resources for energy improvements. But with a limited investment, following three basic energy management steps can help manufacturers meet their sustainability objectives and reduce ownership costs.
Step 1: Manage your energy efficiency Most efficiency problems result from a mismatch between pump operations and the actual system requirements, and from improper use of throttling valves and damper technologies to control the flow of liquids. One simple solution is to deploy variable speed drives (VSDs), which enable high efficiency performance and can save 20% of energy at 100% flow and 36% at 60% flow.
Step 2: Maintain your assets Maintenance costs represent 25% of TCO for a pumping system, and maintenance practices contribute to energy-influenced savings. Proper maintenance of motors, drives, pumps, and associated pipes is crucial, as efficiency drops by 10 to 15% for an unmaintained pump.
Graphic 2: Cost curves of the different maintenance approaches (Courtesy of Penn State University / Applied Research Laboratory - “Open systems architecture for condition-based maintenance”)
Step 3: Understand your energy costs In order to cut additional costs, industrial site owners and facilities teams for water/wastewater and oil and gas operations must decipher their utility bills and understand common billing terms. Customer charge is a fixed charge based on an anticipated power consumption range and the price of the actual power consumed. Actual energy charge is for the active energy consumed over a set time and whether usage was during “peak” or “off-peak” hours. Demand charge is for the highest average power consumed within any 15-minute time period over the span of a month. Power factor penalty is the ratio between “active power” that generates work and “apparent power” that could potentially be used to generate work. If the power factor is less than the given value stated in the utility contract, then the penalties are invoiced for the power factor. The following actions are recommended:
By adopting energy-efficient technologies, implementing reliable maintenance practices, and optimizing cost control of the utility bill, industries that operate pumping systems can establish an effective energy management plan, reduce TCO by 20%, and achieve their operational sustainability goals.