Putting the production process through its paces

19 October 2011

Dr Michael Bunk, TÜV SÜD Industrie Service and Dr Silvio Kammer, Innospec Leuna, discuss the process undertaken by the chemical company to implement a state of the art energy management system.

Energy-intensive companies in Germany are currently preparing to record and systemise their energy data to ensure they meet the structures of an energy management system (EnMS) which is specified by ISO 50001 and EN16001. Businesses wishing to benefit from energy and tax savings must be able to submit specific plans for EnMS implementation.

Companies wishing to establish an EnMS should start by taking inventory of their current energy demand. TÜV SÜD Industrie Service has been working with one company, Innospec Leuna, to prepare a study analysing the energy consumption of the chemical company.

From 2012 onwards, German manufacturing companies consuming in excess of ten GWh of electricity per year and paying over 15% of their gross value added for electricity will have to supply evidence of a fully effective EnMS to be eligible for possible tax benefits according to the German Renewable Energy Act. In accordance with EN 16001 this EnMS must be certified by a third party.

Innospec Leuna, through a close collaboration with TÜV SÜD Industrie Service has succeeded in rendering its production process significantly more energy-efficient, raising the percentage of electricity and other utilities saved. In the future, the company will rely on computerised data recording systems to further systemise this process.

At its Saxony-Anhalt facility, Innospec produces plastics and chemical additives. Critical production facilities include a high-pressure polymerisation plant for the production of ethylene-based products. This plant accounts for a major part of the company's energy consumption and the objective of the study was to uncover areas of potential savings in energy and production cost. TÜV SÜD inspected the machinery and central production aspects including cooling and air-conditioning systems, vehicle fleet, IT server, lighting and building services systems. Systematic energy efficiency requires firm proposals for improvements, so the screening must cover all energy consumers and all energy carriers used.

Data obtained from existing metering systems provided an initial source of information, together with data taken from additional temporary measurements. This data was used to develop individual load profiles. Next, an energy report was prepared, documenting the results of this screening and the areas of potential energy savings. Due to the computerised collection and processing of the individual data, any progress achieved was immediately evident. Further advantages included prompt and, where appropriate, synchronised results informing about the energy demand – even of individual sub-systems. The experts further used the results in their energy reports, which served as important sources of information.

Who is responsible?
Comprehensive energy management comprises more than technical recording and optimisation of energy values. Innospec Leuna documented its commitment to the continuous improvement of energy efficiency, the scope of application of its EnMS, its energy policy and its communication thereof. Clear definition of the functions responsible for improving energy efficiency is critical for the installation of control systems and the improvement of operating processes. Given this, the appointment of an energy manager played a decisive role. In the future, the energy manager will coordinate the established objectives and targets and will be responsible for implementing improvement actions. Further aspects included raising employee awareness for the most energy-efficient mode of operation of the systems and installations. This often accounts for a significant share of energy and cost savings. Further approaches include training courses to familiarise employees with new processes or EnMS application.

To localise areas of potential savings, energy management must know at all times where and how much compressed air, electricity or heat is needed, comparing this with the production volume. 15-minute forecasts allow for the precise control of energy demand. At Innospec Leuna, the experts screened time-specific energy consumption and grid quality, analysing peak consumption and steam management. The outcome: Potential areas for energy saving in addition to the hyper compressor – the biggest energy consumer – include the intermediate compressor station and the cooling cycles. In addition, excess steam can be processed and used in secondary processes.

Intelligent improvement
Once the energy data has been recorded, short- medium- and long-term improvement actions can be derived and analysed. Customised solutions were desgined for Innospec Leuna at a manageable cost. All secondary units are only in operation during actual production. Individual equipment including drive systems and motors were systematically replaced by more energy-efficient devices during plant turnaround. Excess low-pressure steam is now used for electricity production.

The functions responsible for operating equipment, procurement and building management have also been more closely integrated, facilitating the implementation of organisational measures in particular because they are supported by both commercial and technical functions in the company. Targeted energy management also impacts positively on the availability and service life of installations and equipment, reducing maintenance costs.

The secret of the success of an energy management system lies in the exact control of energy consumption and the identification of the interrelations between the individual components of plants and systems. Individuals in charge of production benefit from the effective and systematic use of areas of potential savings which are identified within the scope of online measurement of energy demand. In many companies of the manufacturing sector, energy demand accounts for one-quarter of total costs. Studies carried out in the Netherlands and Denmark revealed that by introducing an EnMS, companies can reduce their energy demand by up to 20% in the long term.

About the author
Dr Michael Bunk is head of Energy Systems TÜV SÜD Industrie Service GmbH and Dr Silvio Kammer is an authorised officer (Prokurist) and technical director of Innospec Leuna GmbH

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