Cool energy savings for Flurocarbon Hertford site01 August 2012

Cool energy savings for Flurocarbon Hertford site

Fluorocarbon, one of the largest fluoropolymer processors in the UK, is reporting cooling costs on track to reduce by 67%, following its installation of energy-efficient inverters and a free cooling system from specialist IsoCool.

If so, this gives the project, which has been funded with a loan from the Carbon Trust and Siemens Financial Services under the Energy Efficiency Financing Scheme, a payback schedule of less than two years.

Fluorocarbon's Hertford factory is one of the largest of five across Europe – with on-site processes including high performance coatings, engineering plastics, moulding and screw extrusion – and the new cooling system supports more than 70% of plant equipment.

Shaun Grundon, health, safety and environmental officer, explains that historically the cooling system consisted of a single water chiller with a 120kW cooling capacity, and cost just over £20,000 a year to run.

"A few years ago, the cost of electricity on the site doubled from 7p to 15p per KWh," states Grundon. "We already had plans to improve energy-efficiency, so we looked at the site as a whole and applied for the Carbon Trust/Siemens loan to cover four projects, of which the cooling system is the biggest."

Grundon says that since the company had enjoyed considerable success using IsoCool on previous projects, the company went back for more.

To reduce the energy consumption of the process cooling system, IsoCool retrofitted a separate RFC air blast cooler to the chiller. This provides the cooling source when ambient temperatures allow partial and up to 100% direct air cooling, so offloading the compressors and cutting operating costs.

"An investigation into the weather conditions in Hertford showed that we could save a lot of money with free cooling," comments Grundon. "Our cooling system has an outlet temperature of 18oC, and the ambient temperature in this area is below that for about eight months."

IsoCool also identified further energy savings from installing inverters to the process pumps, to match operational speed to demand.

"Our water chillers used to be on 24/7, 52 weeks of the year," states Grundon. "They never shut down. Now, thanks to the free cooler, the main chiller only comes on two to three months a year. The energy savings are massive."

Based on the chilled water system running at 60% load factor, IsoCool calculated that the energy efficient upgrades would lower the running costs of the cooling system to approximately £6,800 – just a third of previous total.

Brian Tinham

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