Choose sustainable products for a greener plant

Sheila Kennedy says energy efficiency and emission control keep plants sustainable.

By Sheila Kennedy, contributing editor

Good resource stewardship is simplified with technologies that encourage or increase sustainability. When it comes to energy, there are tools to increase efficiency, manage waste heat, and monitor and control consumption in real time. For pollution control, vapor and emission reduction technologies are in demand.

Thermal management

Lamp design influences energy efficiency and heat transfer. VS Glow infrared heaters from Tempco Electric Heater offer better thermal efficiency over time by using a dimensionally stable ceramic housing and reflector that will not warp. Short-wave or medium-wave halogen infrared lamps are encased in VS Glow’s patented ceramic housing. The ceramic reflector is gold-coated, which reflects infrared energy toward the target instead of being absorbed by the heater housing.

"Gold is a better reflector for infrared energy than stainless steel or other materials,” says Tom Hittie, production manager for Tempco (www.tempco.com). “We apply gold to the housing, where it remains for a long time, rather than to the lamp. Lamp coatings evaporate over time with heat, causing a loss of efficiency.”

Compact heat exchangers are useful for cooling electrical control panels and enclosures. Noren Products’ Compact Cabinet Cooler (CCC) reduces equipment downtime by providing efficient removal of waste heat, which cools the panels and enclosures without letting contaminants inside. The heat exchangers use Noren’s closed-loop heat pipe technology to prevent equipment failure and keep components in the cabinet cool, dry, and clean.

“The CCCs are a fraction of the cost of air conditioning, easy to install or retrofit, and virtually maintenance-free,” says Kimberly Dawn, CEO of Noren Products (www.norenproducts.com). “We have had great success with our air-to-air and air-to-water CCCs in the food processing sector.” Wastewater, reclamation, and packaging are also prime markets for Noren’s compact heat exchangers.

Efficiency upgrades

Energy efficiency upgrades for industrial process fans are available. For instance, Robinson Fans (www.robinsonfans.com) now offers additional fan wheel designs for retrofit replacement into existing fan housings, which offer higher efficiency and therefore decreased energy consumption.

Sheila Kennedy is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics.Sheila Kennedy is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at sheila@addcomm.com.

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“Fans tend to be categorized first by design and then by specific speed,” says Dan Banyay, product development director at Robinson Fans. “Within one fan design, we are developing fans to meet all requirements from low specific speed operation to high specific speed operation, all with the goal to decrease energy consumption of the operation.” The fans are tested and verified for efficiency ratings at the company’s own AMCA-accredited lab facility.

Energy monitoring

Ready access to energy information gives managers greater control over energy consumption. CEO Mobile Apps from UtiliVisor (www.utilivisor.com) provide access to building energy data in real time, from any location, using a smartphone or tablet device. The Apps provide secure, customized, continuous energy oversight (CEO) of facility and critical system data points that are currently being monitored by UtiliVisor.

"Mobile Apps merge all disparate meter readings and operator-logged data with a facility's automation and controls historic data to provide a single, validated view of operating conditions in near real time, and from any location,” says Dave Harroun, chief technology officer for UtiliVisor.

Pollution control

Vapor recovery units (VRUs) remove and recover vapors from storage tanks, so they don’t escape into the atmosphere. Purgit’s refrigerated VRUs condense the volatile organic compounds out of the vapor stream. With closed-loop vapor control, the vapor space is stirred to eliminate dead areas. Mixing is required to obtain a representative sample of the vapor to confirm regulatory compliance.

“We knew our VRUs would be cleaner and safer than combustion systems in tank degassing applications, but what we didn’t expect to find over the past six years is that refrigerated vapor recovery is faster than all mobile combustion systems, too,” says Townsend Hilliard, project engineer at Purgit (www.purgit.com). “Our customers pick us for shorter tank turnarounds.”

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At the federal, state, and local levels, efforts to control the emissions of hazardous air pollutants are ongoing. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed changes to the Industrial Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Boiler MACT) emissions standard have renewed interest in selective non-catalytic reduction and other NOx reduction technologies.

According to the EPA (www.epa.gov), the standards cover more than 200,000 boilers and incinerators that emit harmful air pollution, including mercury, cadmium, and particle pollution. The proposed standards will control toxic air emissions from boilers located at large and small sources of air toxins.

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