Contributing to energy efficiency in industrial settings has been a core focus of Advanced Energy (AE) since the 1980s. The overarching goal of AE’s industrial work is to help customers make more of their product per unit of energy, or in other words, to make their production process more energy efficient. This goal has been realized primarily through a combination of education and assessment services while balancing the needs of the customer, staying up to date on the latest technology and collaborating with utilities for support.
“The Advanced Energy Industrial Process Efficiency program provides training, resources, contacts, coordination and engineering to facilitate collaboration between the end user, the local utility and process equipment vendors to find best-practice energy efficient methods to manufacture the products at the end user’s plant. That is a long way of saying: To make more with less.” – Michael Stowe, Senior Energy Engineer, Advanced Energy
In the early 1980s, AE’s industrial process team (IPT) focused much of its efforts on how specific technologies could benefit customers. For example, the team examined the potential of cogeneration, or how boilers could be used to produce two forms of energy: steam and electricity. The IPT supported this technology by providing feasibility studies, spreading awareness and troubleshooting issues as they arose.
The introduction of the Industrial Electrotechnology Laboratory (IEL) in 1991 was a milestone event that furthered AE’s ability to educate customers about energy efficient technologies. The lab worked as a problem-solving center for industries and focused on promoting electrotechnologies (such as infrared dying, powder coating and radio frequency drying) and motors. Industry members could try out these (at that time) new electrotechnologies and receive in-plant testing.
Education has long been an essential component of AE’s industrial work. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, AE produced its Energy Roundtable Workshop series, Industry Energy Workshop and Industrial Energy Savers technical bulletins to help industries learn about efficient and economical systems and methods to improve their processes. Additionally, industry representatives could attend workshops and receive publications through the IEL. Today, AE’s education and outreach opportunities take on a variety of forms. Trainings promote technical expertise for specific equipment, such as chilled water, HVAC, and motors and drives, and spread awareness about energy efficiency and energy management more generally. They are held both in-house and taken on the road to reach utility workers and account managers, the larger industry public attending conferences and plant members themselves looking to better their facility processes.
Along with education and outreach, energy assessments have likewise been integral to AE and have flourished over the last two decades. Today, the industrial team visits 15 to 25 plants each year and interacts informally with many more for discussions and support. The two main types of assessments performed are energy assessments and process analysis assessments. The more traditional pure energy assessments evaluate a facility’s current energy uses and identify areas for improvement. Process analysis assessments, on the other hand, consider a facility’s entire production process, from dock to dock, to foster understanding and identify energy efficiency opportunities. Both types of assessments can also produce non-energy benefits, such as enhanced plant productivity, product quality and workflow, and reduced emissions.
A consistent partner in the assessment work has been Duke Energy, and in the past Progress Energy and Carolina Power & Light Company. Duke Energy’s interest in working with industrial customers and its emphasis on customer satisfaction aligns perfectly with AE’s own customer-focused approach. Duke Energy has been essential in collaborating with AE on assessments, providing leads to companies that need assistance and supporting technical growth by sponsoring industrial team members to go to conferences. Over the years, Duke Energy and AE have formed a mutually beneficial relationship.
AE’s industrial assessment services have recently expanded to leverage support for energy management systems, including ISO 50001 and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program. For example, AE was able to assist Cummins, a global leader in designing and manufacturing natural gas and diesel engines and related technologies, with achieving SEP certification. AE provided assistance in the form of energy coaching, technical support, insight and consulting. Furthermore, Michael Stowe, senior energy engineer at AE, has recently been recognized by the DOE as a certified SEP Trainer and is part of a select group of individuals who have accomplished this designation. He is listed on the Institute for Energy Management Professionals (IEnMP) website as an SEP Trainer and is available to lead ISO/SEP training events for industrial sites or cohorts with access to all DOE ISO/SEP presentations and instruction materials.
Moving forward, AE is committed to promoting energy efficiency in industrial settings. AE’s industrial team and services work to ensure that clients are getting the most out of their energy. As new developments surface and technologies arise, AE can be depended on to provide guidance, training, education and consulting to keep processes running efficiently and reliably. One of our goals at AE is to always have new industrial ideas so that we are ready to help you.