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Industrial Newsbriefs

May 2011

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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Steam Systems Tool Suite

In many facilities, steam system improvements can save about 11% in fuel costs. To help plant owners and managers take advantage of these savings, DOE offers a suite of tools for evaluating and identifying steam system improvements in industrial facilities. The Steam System Tool Suite consists of three online software tools used to analyze energy use and savings opportunities in industrial steam systems: The Steam System Scoping Tool, the Steam System Assessment Tool, and 3E Plus, a program which calculates the most economical thickness of industrial insulation for user input operating conditions.


Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Project Profiles Database

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has compiled a searchable database of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facilities throughout the United States. Searchable variables include location, technology/prime mover, fuel type, market sector, thermal energy use, NAICS code, and year installed.


PV plant is showcase of sustainable design

"Pushing the Envelope," published in the Spring 2011 issue of High Performance Buildings, provides a case study of a PV manufacturing company headquarters/production facility. The plant, whose features include a green roof, daylighting, and an on-site CHP system, is the culmination of a comprehensive and ambitious planning effort to create a showcase in sustainable design.


Commentary weighs in on ethanol

In "Industrial Scale Ethanol," energy consultant Geoffrey Styles discusses the present and future of large scale ethanol production from both biomass and non-renewable materials such as coal. His investigations reveal that even with corn-derived ethanol, the line between "renewable" and "non-renewable" is blurry. In addition, Styles speculates that ethanol production may prove to be a cleaner use of coal than direct electricity generation, because of the benefits of gasification.


"University Improves Sustainability of HVAC Motors," by staff, is a case study showing the effectiveness of a preventative maintenance program for motors applied on a New England campus of over 300 buildings. A testing program on HVAC motors with variable frequency drive controllers was employed. Problems found and resolved are described in useful detail. This article was published in the March 2011 issue of Environmental Design + Construction.


Hydrological models to improve drying efficiency

"Reducing Drying Energy Costs by Process Alterations at Aggregate Stockpiles," published in the May 2011 issue of Energy Efficiency, shows how energy-saving process adjustments for aggregate pile drying can be formulated with the help of hydrological models. The asphalt industry was used as a model, but the concepts could be applied to other industrial processes which involve the drying of bulk materials.


"Insulating Firebrick – Maximizing Energy Savings Through Product Selection" is a feature article published in the April 2011 issue of Industrial Heating. The authors tested and analyzed kiln energy usage incorporating different types of cast and cement insulating firebrick, and found differences between them as large as 37%. It was found that cast firebrick is generally more insulating than plain cement, and that low thermal conductivity ratings correlate with high insulation values.


New approach for footprint management

An April 2011 White Paper by IFS (an environmental tools software provider), "ERP and Environmental Footprint Management for Manufacturers," offers suggestions for those seeking a solution for energy management planning and accounting. While the paper is published by a private company marketing its own product, it nonetheless provides a useful checklist of what to look for when selecting an environmental management tool.


Final rules for boilers and incinerators published; some aspects being reconsidered

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air toxics standards for industrial boilers and incinerators were published in the Federal Register on March 21, 2011. Of note is that process heaters are covered under the Major Sources Final Rules (for facilities already emitting more than 10 tons per year of a specific hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tons per year of a combination of hazardous air pollutants). The new rules carry new reporting requirements, burner tuning requirements, and efficiency assessment requirements which will likely be new to many facilities. Comments on certain aspects of the new rules, including major source boiler subcategories, are being accepted until May 21, 2011 under a reconsideration notice, published at the same time as the new rules. The reconsideration process may change the final rule implementation.

Industry groups call for stay on new boiler and incinerator rules

Industry groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have requested a stay on the new boiler and incinerator rules published on March 21, 2011, in the Federal Register. The groups are requesting the delay because certain aspects of the rules are being reconsidered (see above), and the rule implementation may change significantly. For information, read "U.S. Chamber, Manufacturers Ask EPA to Halt Boiler Rules," published April 27, 2011, in Bloomberg.

EIA data and analysis funding slashed

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has been reduced 14% from 2010 levels, necessitating a reduction in data collection, analysis, and forecasting in the areas of natural gas and oil, efficiency, consumption, and energy capacity. In addition, live telephone support has been cut. For more information, read the press release.

Progress at Clean Energy Ministerial

Representatives of 23 countries met to collaborate on global energy efficiency strategies at the second annual Clean Energy Ministerial, held on April 6-7 in Abu Dabhi, UAE. Global Superior Energy Performance, an initiative to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in large commercial and industrial facilities, gained two new member countries, and new working groups were formed for cool roofs and pavement, cement, and combined heat and power (CHP). Other topics addressed include sustainable hydropower, appliance and equipment efficiency, and the importance of smart grids. A complete summary is available on the Clean Energy Ministerial website.


Prosperity Partnership to develop energy efficiency demonstration network

Prosperity Partnership, a multi-sector coalition representing four Puget Sound metropolitan area counties, is collaborating with the Brookings Institution to develop a Building Energy-Efficiency Testing and Integration (BETI) Center and Demonstration Network. Participating businesses, residences, and industrial facilities will provide testing and demonstration grounds for researchers, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and service providers to demonstrate energy-efficient technologies, products, services, and software. To learn more, read "Regional Plan for Energy-Efficiency Cluster to be Unveiled," published April 8, 2011, in Puget Sound Business Journal.

Proctor & Gamble launch mandatory sustainability scorecard for suppliers

Proctor & Gamble (P&G) recently announced the results of its first Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard, a tool designed to track and encourage improvement on key environmental sustainability measures in P&G's supply chain. The tool, which assesses and rates energy efficiency, water use, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, will now be mandatory for all P&G suppliers. To learn more, read "How Nyquil, Old Spice, and Duracell Are All About to Become More Energy Efficient," published April 11, 2011, in Fast Company.

International standard for energy management systems now up for vote

Standard ISO 50001, Energy management systems -- Requirements with guidance for use, is in its final draft and ready for a vote by ISO members. The standard will "specify requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system, whose purpose is to enable an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, including energy efficiency, energy use and consumption."


Future Energy Conference materials now available online

Presentation materials from the 2011 Future Energy Conference, held in Portland, Oregon on April 12-13, are now available for download on the conference website. Topics include energy management, project financing, smart grid, renewable power, regional energy planning, and more.

Materials available from NEEA Strategic Energy Management Conference

The Strategic Energy Management Conference, sponsored by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) on March 29, 2011, presented valuable information on how utilities can use SEM to help achieve industrial energy efficiency goals and increase customer satisfaction. Conference materials are now available on the NEEA website.

ITP portfolio of data center and information technology projects

Information and Communication Technology Portfolio: Improving Energy Efficiency and Productivity in America's Telecommunication Systems and Data Centers, published in March 2011 by U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Technologies Program (ITP), describes 14 projects seeking to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon pollution across the information and communication technology sector. The portfolio is the result of a cooperative effort between ITP, industrial partners, and academic institutions to develop innovative, energy-saving technologies which have a high potential for commercialization.


New funding round from ARPA-E announced

On April 20, 2011, The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $130 million in funding through ARPA-E to support innovative projects in rare earth alternatives, biofuels, thermal storage, grid controls, and solar power electronics. The funding area titles (and their clever acronyms) are as follows: Plants Engineered to Replace Oil (PETRO), High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage (HEATS), Rare Earth Alternatives in Critical Technologies (REACT), Green Electricity Network Integration (GENI), Solar Agile Delivery of Electrical Power Technology (Solar ADEPT). To learn more, read the press release.

Rural energy funds announced by USDA

Agricultural producers and rural small business are invited to submit applications for grants and loans under the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. The funds are being provided to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses develop renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements, and conduct studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems. Applications are due on June 15 or June 30, 2011, depending on the type of project. To learn more, read the April 15, 2011, press release.


Pacific Northwest

Steam Systems Assessment Training
Tuesday, June 07, 2011, 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM PST
Port Angeles, Washington
The Steam System Improvement Workshop covers the operation of typical steam systems and discusses methods of system efficiency improvement. The one-day workshop is designed for end users – at the energy manager, steam system supervisor, engineer, and operations level – who have steam system responsibilities in industrial and institutional plants. The workshop is divided into three major categories: Steam Generation Efficiency, Resource Utilization Effectiveness, and Steam Distribution System Losses. For more information, contact Julie Nurse at

AIRMaster+ Specialist Qualification Training
May 10-13, 2011
Portland, Oregon
This 3 1/2 day intensive training session will introduce the AIRMaster+ software and AIRMaster+ curriculum. AIRMaster+, developed by DOE and the Compressed Air Challenge (CAC), is a system assessment tool that allows a skilled user to model existing and future system upgrades, and evaluate the savings and effectiveness of energy efficiency measures. Prerequisite: Level 2 Advanced Management of Compressed Air Systems training.

Energy/Facilities Connections Conference
May 11-13, Leavenworth, Washington
The event brings together facility professionals from schools, universities, municipalities, state and provincial agencies, tribes, non-profits and utilities. Attendees benefit from a focused environment to share best practices, learn innovative technologies, and learn from top-of-the line facility experts. Presented by the WSU Extension Energy Program’s Plant Operations Support Consortium, the conference theme is "Now…More than Ever!" and stresses creative "out-of-the-box" thinking.

Other Events, Trainings, and Webinars

Industrial Energy Technology Conference
May 17-19, 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana
The IETC, hosted by the Energy Systems Laboratory at Texas A&M University, is a one-of-a kind conference that focuses on a wide variety of topics of current importance to industrial energy managers, utility experts, government program managers, vendors and others. The latest technologies and expertise on combined heat and power, smart manufacturing, energy opportunity analysis, and case studies of successful, real-world industrial efficiency projects are presented.

WEBINAR: Fundamentals of Compressed Air (Level 1); Four-Part Series
May 18 - June 8, 2011
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: Introduction, Why Care About Air and Study Your Supply Side; Understand Your Demands & Are You On Base; Controls; and Maintain Systems Efficiency, Get with the Plan and Summary- Evaluation. Special registration rates for Compressed Air Challenge sponsors and groups of 10 or more are available.

Motor Decisions Matter Webcast: Motor Management Truths and Consequences: Understanding Electric Motor Rewinds and Efficiency
May 25, 2011, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST
Motor repair is a critical component of sound motor management and planning, and much like motor purchases, it's important to understand associated energy efficiency opportunities. Appropriate for non-technical and technical audiences, this webcast will describe efficiency considerations involved in electric motor repair, with specific emphasis on motor rewinding.

Webinar: Fundamentals of Pumping System Assessments
June 19, 2011, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM PST
Pump users, especially those who specify, operate and maintain pumping systems are invited to attend a briefing by HI and Pump Systems Matter on "Fundamentals of Pumping Systems Assessments" and learn about the new ASME EA-2-2009 standard. The EA-2-2009 Standard sets the requirements for conducting and reporting the results of pumping system assessments. It considers the entire pumping system, from energy inputs to the work performed as the result of these inputs.

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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