Step 1 - Planning and Organization
Task 1d: Select focus areas
Shijiazhuang Iron and Steel Company Ltd ( Steel, China)
This steel plant is located in the city of Shijiazhhuang. As the city is expanding, the plant has to consider the residents living around the plant and take initiatives to reduce resources that are also in demand from the growing population. This particularly applies to ground water, as ground water levels in the city’s aquifer are reported to have lowered from minus 10 meters to minus 70 meters in the last 20 years! Because the plant is a large consumer (600,000 m3/month) and ground water costs 1.5 rmb/m3 compared to 3 rmb/m3 for municipal water , the company wishes to continue to use ground water but try and reduce water consumption at the same time. Water consumption was therefore an important selection criteria for focus areas, and cooling towers were selected as a focus area as they consume a lot of energy and water.
Lesson learnt: Other resources than energy, such as water, can be important when selecting focus areas, especially when these are expensive, when there is a shortage or when it is a priority in Government’s policies
Vishakapatnam Steel Ltd (Iron and steel, India)
The focus areas selected by the Team were based on the preference of top management to ensure their support for the energy assessment, and less on data analysis. Focus areas included the captive power plant and the chilled water plant.
Lesson learnt: Top management preference is a very important factor in the selection of focus areas.
ITC Ltd PSPD (Pulp & paper, India)
Since the company carries out regular monitoring and data collection, the company knew where the main energy problems and improvement areas existed. Therefore the selection of focus areas was relatively easy. However, based on the Team’s further measurements and analysis of the data some additional focus areas were added. The focus areas selected were the soda recovery boiler, lime kiln, digesters, paper machine, and coal-fired fluidized bed boiler.
Lesson learnt: A good monitoring- and data collection system helps to identify focus areas but it is still important to take additional measurements to find any less obvious focus areas
Coromandel Cements Ltd (Cement, India)
Top management played an important role in the selection of focus area at this company. After a walkthrough of the entire plant, the external facilitators and the Team met with top management. Top management has regular meetings with staff, top management held the same views as the Team about the choice of focus areas. Top management proposed to:
Lesson learnt: Top management can play an important role in the selection of focus areas.
- Leave out some focus areas because they were already being addressed through other projects and/or they would probably need large investments which the company does not have at this moment
- Carry out some monitoring to confirm that the proposed focus areas were selected based on the right information. Due to lack of monitoring equipment, a local equipment supplier was contacted for a demonstration of monitoring equipment by monitoring some parameters for the proposed focus areas.
- The focus areas selected were the coal mill circuit, and the kiln and preheaters section.
Indocement ( Cement, Indonesia)
This large company has almost twenty parallel cement production lines. Because of this, a production flow chart and data collection was only done for one of the production line that would be used as a basis for this project, and not for the entire plant. Because of similarities between production lines, the work done at one production line could later be carried out for other production lines in very much the same way.
Lesson learnt: For large companies with parallel production lines, it is more practical to focus on one line only and later to apply the same principles to the other.
Pindo Deli PP (Pulp and paper, Indonesia)
Compressed air supply was considered as a possible focus area but was not selected because this is contracted out to a third party and if an energy assessment is to be successful then cooperation from the contractor is essential. A possible barrier is that contractors earn more money if they can sell more compressed air, and therefore they should be given some monetary incentive to assist the company with reducing consumption.
Lesson learnt: When selecting focus areas, consider if the cooperation of contractors or suppliers is needed for the assessment and if they are likely to cooperate.
PT Krakatau (Iron and steel, Indonesia)
There were five potential focus areas and there were reasons supporting the selection of each of them. The Team held a facilitated discussion whereby first criteria were agreed, such as management preference, energy reduction potential and cost reduction potential. Then each focus area was assessed against these criteria before selecting focus areas.
Lesson learnt: By first agreeing as a Team on the criteria to select focus areas and only then assess each focus area against the criteria it is possible to more objectively come to an agreement on what focus areas to select.
Hutul Cement Ltd (Cement, Mongolia)
A meeting was held with the Director and the Team to identify large energy users, where old equipment is used and where scope for improvement exists. Based on the outcome of this process, the Team selected the 3 focus areas.
Kiln Section: This area was selected as the first focus area because Hutul Cement wants to reduce coal consumption (and the Kiln Section is using 52 % coal consumed by the plant), and the kiln is operating 24 hours per day.
Steam system (boiler): The district heating boilers, including economizer, air pre-heater and fans, were selected because the boilers consume 34% of coal and are therefore the second largest coal user of the plant and because the boiler efficiency is low.
Cement Mills: The Cement Mills were selected as the third focus area because they are one of the largest electricity consumers and use open circuit ball mills, which is an older technology.
Lanka Tiles Ltd (Ceramics, Sri Lanka)
While focus areas are often mainly selected because of high energy consumption and costs, at this company the “raw material preparation area,” including jaw crushing and hammer milling, was selected as a focus area because of high losses of energy and raw materials, which made it immediately clear that a lot of improvement opportunities existed:
Lesson learnt: Focus areas are sometimes selected because it is immediately clear that there are significant losses and many options for improvement
- The driving motors of the jaw crusher and hammer mills consume a considerable amount of energy
- Major raw materials for the process (Feldspar and Dolomite) are received as a mixture of a wide range of particle sizes and are crushed by the jaw crusher and hammer mill into small particles. The smaller particles in the received raw materials do no need to go through the jaw crusher and the very small particles not even through the hammer mill but could be added directly to the ball mill or standby raw material heap. Therefore energy is wasted and separating small particles from the raw materials would thus make sense
- Small particles act as a cushion for the larger particles, reducing the effectiveness of milling operation, the material throughput and ultimately increased the energy consumption per unit load of raw material. Separating small particles prior to crushing would therefore make sense
- Very large lumps of raw material also increase the jaw crusher power consumption (and reduce the throughput). Manual breaking of large lumps prior to feeding them into the crusher would reduce the jaw crusher energy consumption
- Raw material is lost at the standby raw material piles due to the “carpeting effect” (i.e. small sized materials spreading around the piles like a carpet which makes it difficult to collect them for processing)
G-Steel (Iron and steel, Thailand)
The plant’s Team, the Thai facilitating organization TISTR, and both local and international consultants carried out the assessment at this plant. The following options were presented to the plant manager:
Lesson learnt: It is very important for the team to ensure that all proposed options and sufficient details will be delivered to the top management.
- Scrap preparation and utilization of chemical energy (i.e. during the melting process) options for reducing the electricity consumption of the Arc Furnace
- Improve the deteriorated refractory and fine-tuning of the gas burners options for reducing the natural gas consumption at the tunnel furnace
- Investigation of non optimized utilization and leakages survey options for reducing the electricity consumption of the compressed air system
- Investigation of the excess utilization of cooling water system
The feedback from the plant was that their priority is to produce hot rolled coils of steel to meet the target of 100,000 ton/month. In addition, despite monitoring equipment available on site, most data/information is inaccessible due to the lack of systematic information system and internal communications. Thus, all proposed options are undermined and tend to be ignored.
Siam White Cement Company Ltd, SWCC ( Cement, Thailand)
Because this is such a large and complex company with several internal environmental and energy programmes in place, it was important to select focus areas that had not been covered yet and that were small enough to make it possible to go through all the Methodology steps within the project’s timeframe. The focus areas selected were, therefore the improvement of the company’s power supply system and the reduction of electricity consumption of major equipment, e.g. Cement Mill, Raw Mill.
Lesson learnt: For very large companies it is important to select focus areas that are manageable in size and complexity.
Other lessons learnt:
It is a good idea to select focus areas during a facilitated brainstorm session, where one person uses a whiteboard to write down the main potential focus areas and the reasons for evaluating them
A general understanding of the plant and process steps is necessary before selecting focus areas
Choose the focus areas that not only have high energy inefficiencies but also have high potential for improvement
Management preference is important when selecting focus areas, but don’t forget to also consider suggestions from (technical) staff as they often have a better understanding of the real potential to improve energy efficiency
Top management’s selected focus area are sometimes based on their perceptions of where energy is lost, so it is important to confirm this with data collected during the pre-assessment
Although focus areas should be selected before the energy assessment, in practice additional focus areas are sometimes added during the assessment when more data becomes available
When involving a consultant, be aware that he/she may prefer the selection of focus areas where his/her experience lies, although these are not always the best focus areas to be selected from a company’s point of view
Most companies select focus based on where high energy cost savings are, rather than where high reductions of wastes and emissions are Consider the knowledge of the Team members in selecting the focus areas and this will make the assessment easier to complete and the identification of successful options more likely