Optimize refrigeration systems energy usage

Maintenance and monitoring are just two of the six ways.


Six ways to optimize energy usage in refrigeration systems. Courtesy: CFE Media with information provided by Luke Facemyer.Refrigeration costs account for the majority of a plant’s total electrical costs, often exceeding 60% of total operating expenses. As energy costs continue to increase, more and more food processors are realizing the need for energy optimization and monitoring as a way to increase productivity and lower energy costs. 

Optimizing the entire systems

The key drivers in managing energy efficiency are reducing operational costs, utilizing existing systems to reduce equipment costs, analyzing the ROI for new controls system upgrades, and conducting a power quality assessment.

Most refrigeration systems are designed to optimize the efficiency of each individual component rather than looking at the entire system as a whole and ensuring that all components work together efficiently. Many processors add new equipment without regard to the impact on the total system, leading to wasted energy and operational inefficiencies. 

Top six ways to save energy 

Maintenance: Conduct regular maintenance to check for dirty filters, broken sensors, failed insulation and other malfunctions that could be wasting energy.

Monitoring: Know how much, when and where energy is being used. Install  alarms and monitoring systems to identify inconsistencies and trends that could be wasting energy.

Energy Recovery: Capture wasted heat from condensers and turn it into energy.

Water Savings: Manage and reclaim the water that’s evaporated from your condenser.

Operations: Change your set points or put in controls to do it automatically to better manage processes and efficiency.

Design: Select the proper equipment based on size and compatibility, install VFDs

Energy audits – energy efficiency checklist

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of automation is the ability to optimize the entire system to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs. By collecting and analyzing data, technicians can identify systems that are running in an inefficient manner and correct them. 

Technicians can manage the control and sequencing of all equipment to maximize energy efficiency. They can run trend analyses, alarm logs, energy management data, and runtime reports in real-time to improve the efficiency and reliability of your entire system.

- Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, Associate Content Manager, CFE Media, Plant Engineering, Control Engineering

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