Partnership offers plant managers energy savings

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US-based Andover Controls has formed a partnership with UK-based
HVAC specialist AEC to offer plant managers greater potential for
energy saving. There is growing awareness that food processors need
to manage their energy consumption better.

Once a potential site is identified by Andover, a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty, data will be reviewed by AEC. This will identify possible opportunities for making savings and the cost for delivering the solution.

On approval from the client, AEC will then prepare a full audit of the site, which highlights opportunities and provides an enhanced specification for delivering savings. Andover Controls will then implement the specification and monitor energy consumption to track and report savings.

"Our new partnership with AEC should be very beneficial for our clients,"​ said Phil Bolus, divisional manager of Andover's UK systems support division. "AEC will be able to achieve greater financial savings and reduce carbon emissions. In the future all HVAC support activities will provide tangible returns via schemes like these."

Current projects being undertaken by AEC and Andover have already proved to be successful because energy saving opportunities exist in most commercial plants. AEC is aiming for a twelve-month return on investment.

"It is wonderful to be working with an organisation that is constantly seeking new ways to save energy,"​ said Julian Miller, director of AEC. "We already have more than ten projects pending with Andover and in each case the decision to collaborate is proving worthwhile."

There is growing awareness that food processors need to manage their energy consumption better. In the US, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has long argued for this, pointing out that food manufacturers are some of the largest customers of many energy companies. According to EPRI, agricultural production accounts for 18 to 22 per cent of the electrical load in many areas and food processing industries account for an additional 10 per cent of electrical load.

In addition to energy rationing, there has been growing interest in biofuels such as ethanol and soy diesel to power food processing plants. For example, agri-energy programmes that use biomass (crop production) to generate ethanol and distillers' grains are being connected to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The distillers' grains are being utilised as feed in the CAFOs, and anaerobic digestion is being used to generate methane that is utilised as fuel in the ethanol processes.

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