Reduced energy costs and emissions as a result of VFD motor control

10 July 2023

The use of variable frequency drives (VFDs) at a biomass plant in Brazil has resulted in increased efficiency, lower energy consumption, and reduced emissions.

The biomass plant, which converts waste material into heat and energy, had previously utilised a damper-controlled ventilation system and continuously moving material conveyor to feed the burners. However, this set-up caused the fans to run at a constant maximum speed, regardless of the required ventilation flow. Additionally, the system suffered from inefficiencies caused by an excess of material being fed into the burners.

Marcus Silva, Head of Sales for Latin America at Invertek Drives, explained further: "The biomass plant was highly inefficient, resulting in high energy costs and emissions. The objective was to accurately control the ventilation and optimise the biomass burning process." The project involved replacing the damper ventilation system with a VFD-controlled setup, enabling precise control of fan speed according to the required air flow.
This immediately led to reduced energy consumption and improved boiler efficiencies. The feeding mats responsible for material transport were automated, ensuring only the necessary amount of material was used, preventing accumulation and inefficient burning. The mats' speed could be adjusted or stopped based on the required quantity.
Marcus emphasised the positive outcomes: "As a result, the customer achieved greater boiler efficiency with reduced biomass consumption and electricity costs. Additionally, the optimised burning of biomass significantly decreased the emission of gases into the atmosphere."
The project used Optidrive E3 and P2 VFDs, which operated at 380V and ranged from 5 to 75hp. Additionally, the energy-saving features of the drives were activated, contributing to overall energy reduction.

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