Grain processor continues its energy harvest

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) had reduced its energy usage by 37% from 2000 through 2010. But that wasn’t good enough.

With an annual energy spend in excess of $1 billion, ADM increased focus on energy hiring Thomas Mort, CEM, as its corporate energy director in 2011. With a new corporate goal to reduce energy usage an additional 15% by the year 2020, Thomas was brought in to help lead the charge. Thomas shared some of the progress with an impressed audience at the fourth annual American Manufacturing Strategies Summit.

Headquartered in Decatur, Illinois, ADM is a grain processor with 30,000 employees and 265 processing plants around the globe. With annual sales of $90 billion, ADM has a global daily capacity of 7.6 million bushels.

ADM is a leader in efficient energy production to run some of its largest plants. Utilizing cogeneration (CHP) to produce steam and electricity is far more efficient that the typical coal-fired utility electric plant. The cogeneration plants added efficiency is equivalent to reducing more than 480 million kWh/year, said Mort.

lead-Mike-Bacidore.jpgMike Bacidore is chief editor of Plant Services and has been an integral part of the Putman Media editorial team since 2007, when he was managing editor of Control Design magazine. Previously, he was editorial director at Hughes Communications and a portfolio manager of the human resources and labor law areas at Wolters Kluwer. Bacidore holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at 630-467-1300 ext. 444 or mbacidore@putman.net or check out his .

“It is a major undertaking to reduce the total energy usage by 15%, especially after major savings have been accomplished over the last 10 years," explained Mort. "Hundreds of projects requiring identification, development, approval, funding, and implementation are required.” He challenged the energy teams to reset the target from 2020 to 2016, which would result in more savings to fund the increased effort that would be needed.
Mort pointed out that a bottleneck was in the step of detailed engineering development of projects. “Plant engineers need to resource project development according to value and not according to the plant engineers' calendar,” he explained.

To support this effort, ADM leveraged funds from programs such as the Ameren Electric incentive rebate program called ActOnEnergy. Staffing grants were used to bring in experts. The experts helped to analyze systems and to provide the needed project development. Recently one of the ADM teams received a rebate check for more than $1 million.

One area of opportunity was identified as “bad actor pumps.” Mort discussed how engineers do their best to properly size equipment but often oversize equipment. “Who gets into the most trouble — the engineer who makes a pump too small or the one who makes it too large?” he asks. The term "retro-commissioning" — looking at installed equipment to determine if it is running at optimal efficiency is used to describe the process, explained Mort.

Beyond electricity, significant heat recovery projects are being undertaken. Collecting the “white hot water vapors” emitted from dryers and using it to heat water which then heats incoming air reduces natural gas usage.

More than 50 million kWh/yr savings has resulted so far from experts’ project development combined with the plant engineers and maintenance implementation of projects.

“We are on track for meet our stretch goal to reduce energy by 15% by 2016 and in getting projects in the hopper for next year.” said Mort. Not a bad start.

Read Mike Bacidore's monthly column, From the Editor.

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