How Fan Upgrades Improve Your Plant’s Energy Efficiency and Reduces Carbon Output

How Energy Efficiency and Carbon Output Affect Your Plant

In 2020, the industrial sector accounted for just over a third of total energy consumption in the US. Manufacturing accounts for roughly 77% of this industrial energy consumption.

Global carbon reduction initiatives are increasing incentives and pressure to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Because industrial manufacturing facilities are a significant contributor to carbon emissions, companies that lead in these areas have a considerable opportunity to gain a competitive advantage and set new standards for corporate environmental impact.

But accomplishing these goals doesn’t require turning your operations upside-down. Plants use power to keep their equipment and systems running, and this fuel consumption is directly related to the plant’s carbon footprint. 

Outdated or inefficient equipment uses more electricity and increases carbon emissions. Preventive and routine maintenance can improve your equipment’s energy efficiency for better production, increased cost-savings, and reduced carbon emissions. 

Fan Upgrades: An Underutilized Opportunity

When clients have questions or concerns about energy efficiency and carbon output, one of our first recommendations is to explore the benefits of fan upgrades. 

Our experts have decades of experience utilizing fan motor power and airflow testing to identify opportunities to increase fan efficiency in your plant, thereby relying less on carbon-intensive activities. Fan upgrades have the potential to reduce plant costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars and offer a complete return on investment in less than two years. 

Contact us to learn more about industrial fan upgrades! 

Case Study: Optimizing Fans for the Escalante Generating Station

Escalante Generating Station, owned by Tri-State Generation, is a 245-megawatt coal-fired plant that serves over 250,000 electric customers in rural New Mexico. A few years ago, Tri-State Generation determined that the Escalante Generating Station had several aging fans that had to be repaired or replaced. ProcessBarron already had a working relationship with Tri-State through maintenance work on several facilities, so Tri-State asked ProcessBarron to run a performance test on these fans. 

The Diagnosis

ProcessBarron engineers and fan system specialists evaluated the “A” fan, and the test results showed that the system was performing at a mere 55.2% fan efficiency, with 207 horsepower per inch of pressure loss. Over the course of a year, this equated to $82,129 per inch of pressure loss for the facility. 

ProcessBarron had two options: Perform an in-kind replacement with identical fans or have new fans designed, engineered, manufactured, and installed in the facility. 

Identical fans would have missed opportunities to reduce inefficiencies and operating costs, while we projected new fans would optimize facility operations and generate significant savings. 

The Solution

During the testing phase, our engineers noticed that the Escalante airfoil fan was mismatched to the system. As a result, the fan used more horsepower than necessary based on the volume and the facility’s static pressure. 

Based on their findings, our engineers determined they could optimize efficiency by creating airfoil fans with the same diameter and the same housings but with a different blade width and pitch.

Although this project would cost about the same as an in-kind replacement, we projected the new fans would reduce energy by 7,714 megawatt-hours per year, offering significant cost savings and a rapid ROI.

The Results

ProcessBarron completed additional testing, design, engineering, and manufacturing to create an improved rotating assembly for the fans with cones and shaft seals.

After implementation, this fan retrofit significantly improved plant efficiency, with an estimated fan energy savings of over $459,133 per year. The fan retrofit paid for itself in less than a year! The fan continues to meet and exceed its performance expectations to this day. See more project details here! 
Would you like to explore opportunities to decrease your electricity cost and carbon footprint? Contact ProcessBarron today!