Treble Whammy

Published:  08 July, 2011

Lower maintenance costs, lower energy costs and reduced CO2 emissions, all at the same time. PWE reports.

Today, more than ever, companies large and small are looking at new proven technologies to help them reduce their overheads, with an ever-increasing number also recognising the benefits of reducing their carbon emissions, particularly bearing in mind the impending introduction of central government’s CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, which has set allowances at £12 per tonne of carbon dioxide in March’s budget.

A quick, cost effective, and proven method that many companies are implementing to lower carbon emissions and reduce energy costs is the installation of voltage optimisation systems.

Voltage optimisation is an electrical energy saving technique, in which a device is installed in series with the mains electricity supply to provide an optimum supply voltage for the site's equipment. Interestingly, it is also proven to improve power quality by balancing phase voltages and filtering harmonics and transients from the electricity supply, leading to reduced maintenance costs as less demand is placed on electrical equipment.

The reason voltage optimisation can have such a significant impact on energy used is because on the whole, the National Grid supplies a higher voltage than is generally required. Although the nominal voltage in the UK is 230V, the average delivered is actually 242V. This ‘over-voltage’ means that energy consumption is not only higher, but as a result, the lifespan of equipment is shortened. Voltage optimisation can therefore improve the life expectancy of equipment.

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme

Due to the Climate Change Act, which has set legally binding targets to reduce carbon emissions by 34%, by 2020 and 80% by 2050 - based on 1990 levels - the UK government is keen to introduce schemes to encourage organisations to reduce carbon emissions. One such scheme is the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. 

A mandatory scheme, it features a range of reputational, behavioural and financial drivers which aim to encourage organisations to develop energy management strategies that promote a better understanding of energy usage.

The scheme was originally launched to encourage organisations across the UK, to monitor carbon dioxide emissions and for every tonne emitted they would have to surrender an ‘allowance’, which would be bought at the start of the financial year. Allowances could, under the original scheme, be sold on to other organisations at a price determined by the buyer, should they have too many.

However, following the Chancellor’s spending review in October 2010 and the subsequent budget in March 2011, if an organisation doesn’t surrender enough allowances, they will now be taxed directly by central government for every tonne of carbon dioxide they don’t submit allowances for. It is therefore, in the best interest of the organisation, to lower energy usage, not only to save money on their electricity bills, but also to reduce their carbon emissions to ensure they are not taxed by central government.

Pegler - Yorkshire

Pegler is a well known and respected, world leader in the manufacturer of advanced plumbing, heating and engineering products. Energy and water conservation is at the forefront of the company’s product development with concern for the environment being an integral and fundamental part of the company’s business strategy.

At its facility in Doncaster, the company has two large extraction systems, which are heavy users of electricity. The systems regularly suffered from motor failures due to the high voltage delivered to the building. Peglers recognised that voltage optimisation could provide an ideal solution to the repeated maintenance issues it was experiencing.

One solution capable of delivering improvements in voltage is EMSc (UK) Ltd’s voltage optimisation system Powerstar. The system, which is entirely designed and manufactured in the UK, not only delivers high efficiency, but is also proven to provide optimum savings, also improving life expectancy of electrical equipment. Peglers commissioned EMSc to find out whether using Powerstar could achieve a reduction in voltage. 

Before installing the system, EMSc carried out a series of tests to ascertain the level of voltage being delivered to the facility. It registered 254V, which is above the  regulations. By reducing the voltage by 15V, it would not only bring the company in-line with the G5/4 regulations, but would also ensure that the motors operated at their optimum parameter, thereby reducing long term maintenance issues from arising.

The Powerstar solution was custom wound to meet the exact specifications of the site and by reducing energy usage Powerstar also enabled the company to lower its CO2 emissions and so lessen its carbon footprint.

The installation at Peglers achieved a voltage reduction by an average of 15V on the extractor motors. For one of the extraction systems following the installation of Powerstar, the average power consumption was reduced to 47.06kW (previously 53.22kW), the power factor increased to 0.88 from 0.83, while power demand fell from 64.1kVA to 53.9kVA.

Similarly for the second extraction system the data showed a reduction in average power consumption from 56.36kW before Powerstar installation, to 46.72kW, an increase in the power factor from 0.66 to 0.70 and a reduction in Power demand on the supply from 85.3kVA to 66.8kVA.

The resulting savings from the installation of Powerstar on the first extraction system was 6.15kW or 11.56% and for the second the savings were 9.28kW or 16.6%. Each extraction system operates for 7,000h a year, projecting annual savings in the region of 43,080kWh – equivalent to £2800 and a 64,960kWh saving equating to a £4,222 yearly reduction respectively.

Combined the overall reduction in power consumption was 108,043kWh per annum, equivalent to 46.4 tonnes of CO2. The direct result of the installation of Powerstar is a saving of £7,486 per year (based on 6.5p/kWh). Maintenance costs have also reduced significantly as a direct result of the installation.

In today’s world of spiralling energy costs, companies are focusing on improving energy efficiencies by introducing sustainable, high-efficiency energy saving devices, which not only safeguard the environment, but also result in welcome energy cost savings and reduced maintenance costs.


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