Process cooling systems are mandatory components of the production infrastructure in many plants. System efficiency is second only to operational performance (i.e. meeting the process requirements) in the design and operation of these systems, and many companies go to great lengths to attain system efficiency. Many times, unfortunately, the actual system performance is well below the hoped for efficiency target.
How do you replace aging cooling towers without risking disruption to a plant's continuous high-volume operation? That was the challenge at a major Midwest automotive manufacturing facility. In 1998, SUVs and minivans began rolling off the production line at the 4.5 million-square-foot facility (roughly 80 football fields under one roof), and the existing cooling towers were due to be replaced.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) started moving down the pump efficiency path when it began regulating certain commercial and industrial pumps in 2020. This effectively removed the least-energy-efficient pumps from the market—about 25 percent of the total. It is a good start, but real change will not be achieved unless we start replacing the installed base with more efficient pumps. The state revolving fund (SRF) programs have a green set-aside of 10 percent of their funds that must be spent on carbon-reduction initiatives. Most facilities have already identified the bad actors—equipment that often breaks down or requires maintenance.
In late October 2023, professionals from around the world gathered at the Best Practices 2023 EXPO & Conference at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois to source and learn about Sustainble, Safe and Reliable On-Site Utilities Powering Automation including chillers, cooling towers, motors, compressed air, blowers, vacuum, pneumatics and more.