Optimizing Energy Efficiency – How It Could Be Done Differently?

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In recent years, one of the core managerial goals for any manufacturing facilities around the globe has been to build more sustainable manufacturing processes. One of the biggest challenges for the pharmaceutical industry is implementing highly-reliable energy solutions at their research and manufacturing facilities that not only support sustainability goals, but also improve competitiveness by reducing costs, reducing energy price volatility, and providing other value-added benefits to the manufacturing process.

Below was the real case studies being made by the author and the engineering team in managing the ever-rising energy cost in a pharmaceutical industry.

The manufacturing facility uses 2 chiller systems to support its energy system with Chiller A using the natural gas to fire-up the boiler and Chiller B using the electrical energy to fire-up the AHU’s. Boilers in a manufacturing industries were used to generate heat to be used as water-heating, central heating, sanitation and sterilization among others. AHU’s on the other hand regulates and circulates air as part of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system known as HVAC.

In the environment mentioned above, natural gas was used as the source of energy in heating the boiler. With the cost of natural gas by Gas Malaysia being revised upward from RM16.07 mmBTU to RM24.00 mmBTU or approximately 50%, therefore it’s logical to revisit the usage and study which sources of energy between natural gas and electricity that will provide the best benefit and cost-saving. Here, the author and his team is studying the option of either using the natural gas or electricity to fire-up the HVAC system.

Chiller A consumer gas which cost RM 16.07 per mmBTU which is purchased from Gas Malaysia. Whereas Chiller B consumers electricity supplied from TNB. Now, we want to see which is more cost effective? – Lets do the numbers :
(All data from electricity and gas reading was in operation for 3 to 4 months in 2012 which provided actual energy use)

Chiller A Operating Cost

Gas Tariff – RM 16.07 (MMbtu)
Gas Usage When Ciller A In Operation – 2 500 (MMbtu)
Cost – 482 100 (RM)
Estimated Pump And Cooling Tower Energy – 100 (KW)
Pump And Cooling Tower Energy Peak kWh – 490 000 (kWh)
Pump And Cooling Tower Energy Off Peak kWh – 350 000 (kWh)
Pumping Energy Cost – 218 400 (RM)
Maintenance Cost (Estimated) – 60 000 (RM)
Total Cost To Run Chiller A – RM 760 500

Chiller B Operating Cost
Peak Electrical Power Consumed – 1 249 500 (kWh)
Off Peak Electrical Power Comsumed – 833 000 (kWh)
Additional Maximum Demand – 297 (KW)
Total Energy Cost – 535 619 (RM)
Maximum Demand Cost – 113 169 (RM)
Maintenance Cost Per Annum – 40 000 (RM)
Total Cost To Run Chiller B – RM 218 400

In a simple calculation, between the two cillers, it can be concluded that the use of electrical energy chiller generates a savings of approximately RM 71 000.00. With electricity tariff epected to remain constant untill next year, therefore industries should take advantage of the current pricing to explore any opportunity to improve the energy expenditure and in tandem, improve the overall financial profitability.

(Quoted from the local dailies…….15th Feb 2016 – The current electricity tariff for domestic and industry consumers in Peninsular Malaysia will be maintained at 38.53 sen per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while that of Sabah and Labuan at 33.32 sen per kWh, from Jan 1 until June next year. However, during the same period, electricity tariff rebate for peninsular Malaysia will be at 1.52 sen per kWh compared with 2.25 sen per kWh from July until December this year. For consumers in Sabah and Labuan, they will continue to enjoy a lower average electricity tariff of 1.20 sen per kWh.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Maximus Ongkili said the rebates and tariff reduction would be passed on to all categories of consumers of Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) in peninsular Malaysia and Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) in Sabah and Labuan except for domestic consumers with a consumption of 300 kWh of electricity or less per month.)


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