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Industrial Newsbriefs

February 2012

Welcome to this edition of Industrial Newsbriefs, produced by the Washington State University Extension Energy Program, and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Please forward this issue to those of your colleagues interested in industrial energy efficiency. View archive 

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Energy Management

NEAA examines implementation rates of Strategic Energy Management

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) recently sponsored a study to examine the implementation rate of Strategic Energy Management (SEM) in eight industrial sectors. The three resulting reports, published in January 2011 by NEEA and Market Strategies International (MSI), provide results which will help the NEEA determine how to help industrial facilities discover and implement SEM.

The lowdown on advanced control systems

"Four Places to Lock In Energy Savings with Advanced Controls," published on January 10, 2012, in Sustainable Plant, explains the importance of implementing automated control systems, and provides a basic description of four types: minimum pressure control, product quality control, furnace air ratio control, and energy management systems.

Minimizing off-hours energy drain

After operating hours are over, it is preferable to have energy expenditures be minimal, but often this is not the case. "How to Pare Down Energy Consumption During Non-Productive Hours," published January 25, 2012, in Sustainable Plant, addresses this issue, and offers practical strategies for minimizing downtime energy use.

The following five articles were published in the November 2011 issue of Maintenance Technology:

1. "Doing More with Less to Achieve Sustainable Energy-Management Results," was written by Jane Alexander, Editor, Maintenance Technology, with Dan Brown, Cascade Energy, Inc. An energy management consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon, shares some of the approaches it uses with industrial clients from around the United States and Canada.

2. "Motor Decisions Matter: Three Steps to Savings from Motor System Efficiency," by Motor Decisions Matter staff. It all boils down to having the right motor for the job, using VFDs whenever appropriate, and having a motor management plan in place. The author offers some advice under each of those three steps.

3. "Prevent Premature Failure in Power Transmission Belts: Troubleshooting Problems," by Eric Bjork, Gates Corporation. The author lists five reasons for premature belt failure and explains how to tell which is or are the operative one(s) in specific situations in order to avoid them in the future.

4. "The Shortest Distance between Success and Failure (It's Not a Straight Line)," by Randall Noon, P.E., takes a serious look at critical equipment where random and/or frequent failure can wreak havoc with plant operation. The author emphasizes how to bring actual performance in line with an acceptable standard of performance.

5. "The True Cost of Preventable Failures" was authored by Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor, and is the focus of his regular column, "Uptime." He suggests ways of measuring the true cost of being lax about preventative maintenance (PM) without eliminating PM altogether and destroying the plant.

HVAC/R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration)

Improving dehumidifier efficieny

"Optimizing the Energy Efficiency of Desiccant Dehumidifiers" was published in HPAC Heating/Piping/AirConditioning Engineering – Fastrack on December 14, 2011. The author describes solid-desiccant dehumidifiers and explores how to get the highest efficiencies out of what is, nonetheless, an energy intensive technology.


Bio-based lubricants show potential

"The Basics of Biolubes," published January 25, 2012, in Sustainable Plant, provides a discussion of bio-based vs. petroleum-based industrial lubricants. The author explains why bio-based lubricants are effective for some applications and not others, and predicts that the cost differential which currently inhibits the adoption of biolubes will be overcome as the technology develops.

Policy and Legislation

U.S. District Court rejects EPA stay of MACT boiler rules

On January 9, 2011, the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ruled as illegal the EPA stay on the boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule. Although the rule is technically back in effect due to the ruling, the EPA has stated that no impact on industry is expected while the rule is being reworked, and has issued a no action assurance letter to that effect. The reworked rule is expected to be finalized later this year. For information, see "U.S. District Court for D.C. Rejects EPA Stay of Boiler MACT Rule," by Troutman Sanders LLP, or "EPA responds to court decision ending stay on MACT rules," by Luke Giever of Biomass Power & Thermal. Both articles were published on January 19, 2012.

DOE announces funds for Strategic Energy Performance

On January 19, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $3 million in funding for the administration of the Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program. Funds will be provided for a single organization or consortium to launch, promote, and operate the program over three-year period. After this initial period, the program is expected to become independent and fee-based. For more information, read the DOE press release.

ASE links efficiency focus to growth in U.S. manufacturing jobs

A new report by the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), U.S. Manufacturing Shows Promise of Growth, Efficiency, January 23, 2012, links the growth in U.S. manufacturing employment and exports to a growing tendency toward lean, energy-efficient operations. Many manufacturing plants have implemented aggressive energy efficiency and waste reduction efforts in order to achieve non-energy benefits such as increased productivity and profits.


ACEEE report maps a path to greater efficiency

The Long-Term Energy Efficiency Potential: What the Evidence Suggests, published January 11, 2012, by ACEEE, outlines how the U.S. could reduce overall energy consumption by 40 to 60 percent by 2050. This could be achieved through a combination of system optimization and advanced technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. A sector-by-sector analysis is included, with individual sections focusing on combined heat and power (CHP) and electricity supply.


Workshop materials from the 2012 Northwest Industrial Energy Efficiency Summit are available for download from the Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) website. Topics include Sustainable Energy Management (SEM), the role of the energy project manager, industrial voltage optimization, energy information systems, and more.

"Industrial Assessments: Tips from the Field," published in December 2011 by the WSU Energy Program, provides valuable information and tips for conducting an industrial energy assessment. The 7-page document covers all stages, from pre-assessment analysis to effective post-assessment presentation, and includes sidebars with stories from the field.

Thermal Technologies

The following three articles appeared in the December 2011 issue of Industrial Heating:

1. "On the Hook with Heat Treatment," by staff, is an interesting short piece showing the practical side of heat treatment for those who enjoy fishing and/or rock climbing.

2. "New Lean-Nickel Alloy for Use in High-Temperature Heating Applications" was jointly written by Craig Dykhuizen, NOVA Industries, Inc. (Franklin, Wisconsin); Heike Hattendorg, Ph.D., ThyssenKrupp VDM; Altena, Germany; and Larry Paul, ThyssenKrupp VDM USA. The author discusses the proper role of high vs. low nickel content in heating elements used in industrial and consumer product applications.

3. "Temperature Control and Uniformity in Industrial High-Temperature Atmosphere/Vacuum Furnaces" was authored by Claus Joens, Elnik Systems. It is a discussion of how to improve temperature control in furnaces. It explains why proper readings are different for conventional and retort furnaces, why hydrogen increases temperature variations in the furnace, how multiple sensor-zones can promote uniformity, and more.


Pacific Northwest

PGE Series: Industrial Fan Systems
February 16, 2012, Wilsonville, Oregon
This half-day free seminar provides an overview of the principles of industrial fan, blower, and dust collection systems and how to save energy without reducing production. See our syllabus (PDF) for additional details.

PGE Series: Industrial Pump Systems
February 17, 2012, Wilsonville, Oregon
This free half-day seminar provides an understanding of motors, pumps and variable-speed drives that can reduce energy use and improve process control in systems with varying loads. See our syllab us (PDF) for additional details.

Adjustable Speed Drive Applications and Energy Efficiency
Three locations:
Twin Falls, Idaho: February 23, 2012
Everett, Washington: March 28, 2012
Spokane, Washington: March 29, 2012
This course addresses the choices available and relevant issues regarding the use of adjustable speed drives (ASD) with electric motors, and demonstrates the energy cost savings and other benefits made possible by this technology. In this course we explore how adjustable speed drives work and ways to assess the savings. Variable frequency drives (VFD) are the most common speed control method and is the major focus of the course content which will cover the benefits of pulse width modulation technology and well as discovering and mitigating harmful electromagnetic interference that can cause motor failure. Additional information on evaluating and specifying VFDs is provided.

Compressed Air Challenge - Level 2
March 28-29, 2012, Pocatello, Idaho
Optimizing your compressed air systems can lead to higher productivity, energy savings, increased product quality and greater efficiency. This advanced training teaches you to develop a system profile and address point-of-use issues, including determining actual air quality requirements and investigating and reducing highest point-of-use pressure requirements. This course is sponsored by Idaho Power Company, Rocky Mountain Power, Idaho Office of energy Resources, Bonneville Power Administration, Washington State University Energy Program, and Northwest Food Processors Association.

Energy Efficiency of Chilled Water Systems and Cooling Towers
April 10-11, 2012, Nampa, Idaho
Chilled water systems, which provide cooling for industrial and commercial facilities, often account for a major portion of the energy consumed in these facilities. Attendees will learn how technology improvements can reduce energy costs by more than half. Topics include chiller machinery, refrigerant options, the impact of using variable speed for compressors, system pumps, and cooling towers. In addition, a case study will be presented that shows how an energy-efficient chiller was selected.

Pumping System Optimization
April 17, 2012, Missoula, Montana
The course will show how the variable speed drive can save power by slowing down the pump speed, which will save energy and reduce cost in the process. With the system running more efficiently, maintenance and operating costs will go down and the mean time between repairs will improve.

Other Events, Trainings, and Webinars

Tuesday Webcast for Industry: Advanced Manufacturing Partnership
Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST
The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership convenes manufacturers, universities, and federal agencies to invest in the development of new technologies to help keep and create manufacturing jobs in the United States. Presenters will provide an overview of AMP and its objectives, as well as how the Partnership is positively impacting American manufacturers and communities. This webcast will also provide information on how participating universities are developing and sharing materials on replicable best practices for industrial energy efficiency.

Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems - Web Edition (4-part Series)
Mondays, February 28 – March 14, 1:30 – 3:30 PST
This web-based version of the popular Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems training uses an interactive format that enables the instructor to diagram examples, give pop quizzes and answer students- questions in real time. The curriculum will be organized into four 2-hour sessions.

IEE&CHP Webinar #3: Elevating IEE Regulatory Issues for Commissioners
March 6, 2012
This Webinar will examine regulatory issues that impact utility incentive programs, such as flexibility and consistency in offerings, free-ridership, and risk mitigation techniques. Utility, commission, and industrial customer viewpoints will be shared. To register, visit:

UW-Madison Engineering Professional Development Ammonia Refrigeration Courses
Various dates throughout 2012
Madison, Wisconsin or on-site
The University of Wisconsin – Madison Engineering Professional Development (EPD) is offering courses which provide comprehensive coverage of all aspects of ammonia refrigeration systems. Courses focus on specific topics, including ammonia system safety, energy efficiency, process hazard analysis, compliance auditing, mechanical integrity, piping, and design. EPD can deliver courses on-site and tailor programs to meet individual needs.

Superior Energy Performance and ISO 50001: How Superior Energy Performance will Help Your Plant Implement ISO 50001
Webcast, March 13, 2012, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM PST
This webcast will focus on how Superior Energy Performance will assist U.S. Industry in implementing ISO 50001, the International Standards Organization's (ISO) international energy management standard. This standard provides industry with a framework for energy management, assists industry with the reduction of industrial energy intensity, and provides strategies for monitoring and verifying this progress. The presenters will also highlight the U.S. Department of Energy's plans to assist industry with standards implementation.

Steam End User Training – E-Learning
Self-paced online workshop
This course covers the operation of typical steam systems and discusses methods of system efficiency improvement. A brief demonstration of the BestPractices Steam System Tool Suite software is highlighted to help identify and quantify savings from selected potential improvement examples. The training is designed for plant personnel, such as energy managers, steam system supervisors, engineers, and equipment operators, who have steam system responsibilities in industrial and institutional plants.

Steam Systems E-Learning
Self-paced online workshop
This training course will provide an overview of the BestPractices Steam Tool Suite. The training course will begin with a navigational tutorial to guide you on how to move through the three modules. Each training module will demonstrate the capability of one tool and its interactions with the other tools. Interactive quizzes will be used to test your basic understanding of the tools after you complete the course.


For a listing of other upcoming industrial energy efficiency trainings, visit the following websites:

Energy Events Calendar

Northwest Regional Training Calendar

U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Best Practices Training Calendar

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