Waste energy survey identifies £596,000 of saving opportunities

Reduce energy waste in manufacturing.

To reduce waste energy, start with identifying two of the biggest waste sources – compressed air losses and radiated heat loss.

Compressed Air Losses

Generating compressed air in the volumes required to run your manufacturing facility is an expensive task and requires a huge amount of electricity. In fact, around 10% of all the industrial electricity consumed in Europe is used to generate compressed air.

Compressed air is used in numerous applications such as, air tools, brakes, manufacturing machines, dentist equipment, actuated valves, and cylinders. It’s an ideal power source as it is easily stored in tanks and distributed via a network pipework.

Due to ageing pipework and incorrect fittings, compressed air is leaking from the supply pipework systems. The leakage rates are often as high as 20%, costing business through electricity bills and contributing to CO2 emissions.

Compressed air leaks are common in the following areas:

  • Shut off valve left open
  • Passing air guns
  • Push fit fitting
  • Air regulators
  • Leaking hoses and couplings
  • Leaking flange gaskets

These leaks can be identified whilst the plant is in operation by using specialist leak detection equipment, most commonly, ultrasonic detection.

53North carried out such an air leak survey in July 2022 at a large manufacturing facility in Bradford and identified air leaks costing the business £313,000 in wasted electricity costs. The cost to repair these leaks was estimated at £12,000, meaning the return on investment was only 2 weeks.

Radiated Heat Loss

It is common in manufacturing sites to use steam as a heating source. Creating steam from water is another significant energy user for industry, most commonly gas. Hot surfaces radiate energy to colder surfaces in their line of sight resulting in a loss of energy. Steam pipework, accumulators, valves, boilers, heat exchangers and condensate return lines are all systems that can waste energy through radiated heat loss.

Three factors impact the amount of radiated heat loss:

  • The temperature of the internal pipework/system
  • The size of the surface area of the hot surface
  • The length of time the opening permits radiation to escape

Using thermography equipment 53North completed a radiated heat loss survey in July 2022 on the same site in Bradford. The radiated heat losses identified was costing the company £283,000 in lost energy. The repair cost (for improved insulation) was estimated at £60,000 meaning the return on investment was 11 weeks.

With increasing energy costs can you afford not to have an energy survey? Contact 53North to understand how we can support you reducing energy costs and reduce your CO2 footprint.