Enormous energy savings on steam consumption

The energy crisis is forcing many companies to investigate where savings can be made. Sitech thinks along in savings ideas, such as the process optimization of the largest steam consumer at one of our major international customers. An idea that could be implemented easily, quickly and without investment. And with which a lot of energy can be saved: as much as 7 percent on the annual steam consumption at this plant.

Less steam at lower throughput
Sebbe Lecocq, Process Control & Optimization Engineer at Sitech, is one of the inventors. He explains: “The idea is actually very simple: by linking temperature to pressure in this plant, steam consumption decreases. Previously, the temperature was a fixed value, set on the high side as a precaution. Pressure was also a fixed value at all production rates. By linking pressure to that production rate, if the throughput is low, the temperature is also much lower. The lower the throughput, the lower the amount of steam required per ton of product.

Need to save energy
“This idea of reducing steam consumption is not new,” responds Marc Pijpers, Process Control & Optimization Consultant at Sitech. “We were already working on this before the energy crisis. But initially it led to failures in the plant. Because there was no need at the time, we didn’t pursue the idea further. The current crisis has ensured that energy conservation is high on the agenda. As a result, we had the space to put the idea into practice now.”

‘SMART collaboration makes it possible to achieve maximum savings with little energy.’


Together and quickly realized
There are more ideas to reduce steam and power consumption. These can now be put to optimal use. Sebbe: “Such as installing a vapor recompression unit or replacing a fixed pump with a speed-related pump. These require considerable investments.” Marc: “What we did now only cost some man hours and software. Moreover, we were not dependent on external parties in the implementation. We did this ourselves, together with the operators of the measuring room. As a result, we were able to implement this idea within four months.”

Continue to optimize process
Due to rapidly rising energy prices, the savings are even higher than expected. “The amount of steam that can be saved with this depends on the throughput at the different product types,” Sebbe said. “Across all product types, this can save up to 7 percent on steam consumption on an annual basis, depending on conditions, such as weather.” Marc concludes, “By continuing to optimize the process, we will see if further savings are possible. We will evaluate this at the end of 2023.”

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