Improve Sustainability by Optimizing Operations with Utility Consumption Monitoring

  • By Mark Thomas
  • October 03, 2023
  • Endress+Hauser, Inc.
  • Feature
  • Sponsored
Improve Sustainability by Optimizing Operations with Utility Consumption Monitoring
Improve Sustainability by Optimizing Operations with Utility Consumption Monitoring

Operational efficiency in process control and industrial applications has been an essential goal for plant operators and engineers. In today's landscape, rising utility costs and widespread eco-conscious initiatives place a new spotlight on energy savings in plants. Plant personnel are tasked with uncovering the ways to save and be resourceful while maintaining safety, quality, reliability and uptime. 
Utilities are a necessary expenditure, but there are many opportunities for savings that help with operational costs and meet environmental stewardship targets. However, proper energy management requires accurate data capture and analysis. This is only possible with reliable instrumentation to monitor plant processes and utility consumption. This information empowers personnel to establish baselines, monitor process efficiency, identify opportunities for savings and optimize operations.
Plant personnel can reduce operating costs by saving energy wherever possible. However, do personnel know how much energy is being consumed in the plant? Implementing an energy management plan with the right instrumentation can resolve this issue along with other challenges.
There are many areas for potential savings in key utilities and applications, such as:

  • Steam consumption
  • Compressed air
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Boiler efficiency

These are common process inputs for plant operation in many industry sectors, and vast quantities of energy are expended in the production and distribution of these utilities. This is why identifying opportunities for reducing consumption in plant processes is critical.

Reduce operational costs to become more competitive 

Energy consumption can be reduced by 5 to 15% with utility monitoring. But this requires establishing the right energy performance indicators (EnPIs) and making appropriate process operational adjustments. All reduction opportunities depend on instrumentation that can objectively quantify energy flows, energy consumption and process data according to ISO 50001 and ISO 50006, with related systems presenting this data in terms of EnPIs.

Guiding standards

ISO 50001 is a universal energy management standard specifying the establishment of EnPIs for setting up an energy management system. These indicators must be regularly reported, checked and compared against an energy baseline (EnB) created before introducing measures for increased energy efficiency.
Based on this information, potential areas for savings are evaluated, and improvement measures can be initiated for single processes in addition to throughout buildings, plants or entire factory complexes.
The ISO 50006 standard provides step-by-step guidance to companies for defining robust EnPIs and an accurate EnB for later comparison. The standard also contains several real-life examples, which can be valuable because it can be difficult to initially identify relevant variables in an energy system to determine EnPIs. Such variables include weather conditions, balance period, plant size, production variations and energy sources, to name a few.
Some common EnPI examples are:

  • Total primary energy consumption (MWh/year)
  • Improvement in energy intensity for the baseline year (%)
  • Adjustment for primary energy demand (MWh/year)
  • Energy savings for the current year (MWh/year)
  • Energy savings since the baseline year (MWh/year)
  • Improvement in energy intensity for the current year (%)
  • Total consumed primary energy (MJ/year)
  • Electricity, water, or fuel consumption (total values, peak loads, etc.)
  • Specific energy consumption, i.e., energy consumption per quantity of produced media, like compressed air (kWh/Nm3), steam (MJ/t) and hot water (kW/kg)
  • Efficiency of steam boilers (%)

Software-aided savings

Installing instrumentation to measure process and utility flow, temperature, pressure and other variables is critical for energy management systems. Still, these systems are only complete with a means to visualize measured values and energy data. This element is the basis for detailed evaluation, compliant with the ISO 50006 standard.
Energy management software is used to analyze measurement data and create energy reports. The applications on the market today typically provide access to entire plant monitoring systems via an internal intranet or the internet. Some of the best software packages incorporate the following:

  • Web-based secure local or remote access
  • Simple operation and easy-to-use interfaces with drop-down menus
  • Automatic data import from data loggers, SCADA systems, production systems and building management systems
  • Simple integration into existing operating data recording systems
  • Modular application design for simple customization
  • Simulation and calculation using multivariate mathematical functions
  • Energy analysis
    • Energy consumption monitoring
    • Efficiency assessment
    • Target/actual energy data comparison
    • Peak values identification
  • Cost analysis
    • Create diagrams and displays
    • Create and monitor budget plans
    • Cost comparison
    • Profitability calculations in terms of return on investment
  • Deviation analysis
    • Email notifications and warnings
    • Limit value adjustment
    • Notification prioritization
  • Reporting
    • ‚ÄčTailored reports via SQL Server Reporting Services
    • Cumulative curve calculation and comparative displays
    • Automatic report creation and sharing capabilities

Measure it to monitor it

Reliable instrumentation lays the foundation for effective and efficient energy management systems. Endress+Hauser's comprehensive portfolio of quality instruments, services and solutions can provide the measurement and data insights necessary to start driving energy efficiency in plant utilities and processes. 
Endress+Hauser's portfolio of products and services includes:

  • Robust instrumentation with industry-leading accuracy, reliability and repeatability
  • Smart devices for data logging and transfer
  • EMAS- and ISO-compliant calibration services
  • Customized solutions for wide-ranging energy applications
  • Professional planning, commissioning and maintenance of energy monitoring and management systems
  • Engineering and project management for single applications—e.g., boiler efficiency monitoring—and system-wide solutions
  • Expert support from qualified specialists
  • A global service network

 Accurate measurements are essential for making informed decisions when implementing initiatives to reduce energy consumption in industrial applications. By generating reliable utilities data, carefully evaluating it in energy management systems and making informed process adjustments, companies can reduce operating costs while leading the way with energy-efficient practices for a sustainable future.

About The Author

Mark Thomas is Endress+Hauser USA Industry Marketing Group Manager.

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