Energy-saving cooling costs Fluorocarbon 67% less
By Barry Copping
Posted 16 August 2012
Ambient process cooling and inverter controls save a “massive” amount of energy
Fluoropolymer processor Fluorocarbon expects its cooling costs to be cut by 67% by installing energy-efficient inverter controls and a “free” cooling system from specialist IsoCool.
This saving would give the project, which has been funded with a loan from the Carbon Trust and Siemens Financial Services under the Energy Efficiency Financing Scheme, a scheduled payback of less than two years.
Fluorocarbon's Hertford factory is one of the largest of five across Europe. On-site processes include high-performance coatings, engineering plastics, moulding and screw extrusion. The new integrated cooling system supports more than 70% of plant.
Shaun Grundon, health, safety and environmental officer, explains that historically the cooling system consisted of a single water chiller of 120kW cooling capacity, and cost just over £20,000 a year to run.
"A few years ago, the cost of electricity on the site doubled from 7p to 15p per kWh," says Grundon. "We already had plans to improve energy efficiency, so we addressed the site as a whole and applied for the Carbon Trust/Siemens loan to cover four projects, of which the cooling system is the largest."
Grundon says that since Fluorocarbon had enjoyed considerable success using IsoCool on previous projects, the company went back for more – especially as IsoCool is a Carbon Trust-accredited supplier.
To reduce the energy consumption of the process cooling system, IsoCool retrofitted a separate RFC air blast cooler to the chiller. This provides the cooling source when ambient temperatures allow partial (or even 100%) direct air cooling, so offloading the compressors and cutting operating costs.
"Looking at Hertford weather conditions showed that we could save a lot of money with free cooling," comments Grundon. "Our cooling system has an outlet temperature of 18°C, and the ambient temperature in this area is below that for about eight months of the year."
IsoCool also identified further energy savings from installing inverters to the process pumps, to match operational speed accurately to demand.
"Our water chillers used to be running 24/7, 52 weeks of the year," adds Grundon. "They never shut down. Now, thanks to the free cooler, the main chiller only switches on for two to three months per year. The energy savings are massive."
Based on the chilled water system running at 60% load factor, IsoCool calculated that the energy efficiency upgrades would lower the running costs of the cooling system to approximately £6,800 – just a third of previous total.
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