A sustainable solution

When people talk about energy reduction and management through waste minimisation techniques, the governing factors relative to the success, or otherwise, of a project of this nature is the ability of the company, or more specifically the local management, to sustain the efforts on a long-term basis. Recognising the danger of losing this focus, Aqua Enviro have developed a front end software programme to be used in conjunction with many data capture and processing systems to depict real time energy costs and consumption rates, as operations manager,
Mark Lowe, discusses.

The key to long term success is the availability of real energy costs to the people who have the influence to dictate local policy and affect change within the business. The difficulty is that data capture and depiction for energy is often historic and can be meaningless unless it can be accompanied by product throughput data. Aqua Enviro's programme is a user friendly system that gives meaningful information as a useful tool and not a complicated nightmare that requires input from several departments and can be a full time job amongst many others.

The front screen will depict totals of individual utilities which are made up from multi-meter inputs in back screens. All the site meters will have a pulse output which can be hard wired or transmitted to a data capture device which will then process the information into a format that can be used in the software programme. The main meters on the front screen are made up from inputs from all the meters in the chain that are measuring the particular utility. Gas, for example, will be depicted on the front screen as a total for all the gas that is used on the site but it may be made up of sub meters measuring the following:

  • the boiler
  • the plant
  • domestic heating
  • domestic water heating
  • individual plant apparatus or other equipment.

By selecting each sub-meter individually the current and cumulative usage will be displayed and will also lead to back screens which can be programmed with utility cost and measurement units, which can have several values for day or night tariffs and hold separate value for volumetric variations. It is also important to note that fuels can be bought, used and paid for in different units, gas can be bought in M3, burned as Therms, and paid for in kWH.

By selecting 'the boiler' from the above list, the screen would not only display the boiler gas meter, it would have the option to display the boiler plant as an energy account centre or EAC.

Energy account centre
The EAC would depict the boiler plant in its layout form and depict all the sub-meters that make up the total energy cost for the boiler plant, i.e.

  • GAS
  • Other fuel if required

Once again the EAC can be measured against product throughput and EAC efficiencies can be calculated using fuel in and volume/pressures of steam out formulae.

Monitoring and targeting are key watchwords in waste minimisation information and can now be produced to aid in cost reduction initiatives.

Vital link
A unique feature of the software is that it can be linked to a series of environmental management software that is available for each individual EAC. It can produce risk assessments for each EAC and will advise in statutory regulations that govern various operations within industry, i.e. HSG 70 for control of Legionella. The software not only provides a waste minimisation tool for assessing the effects of monitoring and targeting, but also it can provide the site Health & Safety officer with a link to comprehensive information as to the legal and environmental responsibilities with which he or she needs to comply. The programme is also password protected to prevent confidential information being accessed and to prevent the set up screens containing the price/volume information being tampered with.

In summary, the myth that it costs huge amounts of capital spend to reduce the energy bill can be shattered. Waste minimisation is best served by the phrase, 'people, systems and technology' with the technology sector only being explored when waste created from the first two have been eradicated. If waste minimisation is to be successful on an industrial site then it must be driven at all times, real time information is vital, and the skill of an individual to focus the site team can prove invaluable in keeping the momentum of the project.



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