Identification and management of energy saving projects in cold stores (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineEngineering Management
Degree NameMaster of Engineering in Management
This report as well as the associated project work described have been completed in partial fulfilment of the Master of Engineering Management degree at the University of Canterbury. The primary objective of the project was to identify and deliver energy saving projects within Cold Storage Nelson Ltd (CSN) which total 2 GWh per annum. The storage of goods is a relatively low margin business, and so in order to be profitable it is crucial that CSN’s operating expenses are kept to a minimum. After wages, electricity consumption is the second largest operating expense for CSN. Any reduction in energy consumption or increase in efficiency can have a large impact on business profitability. In the first part of this report, a brief history of refrigeration and cold storage technology is given as well as the current status quo. Relevant thermodynamic principles and common operating philosophies have also been explained as further background knowledge. The second part of the document introduces the cold stores owned and operated by CSN as well as providing a summary of an investigation into the power consumption trends, the relevant variables which need to be considered, and the parts of the refrigeration plant which should be focussed on. From this investigation, opportunities for energy savings were identified and recommendations made to the company for reducing energy consumption. A number of these recommendations were able to be actioned within the project timeframe and so the projects and the associated savings have been summarised. For three of the projects, further detail has been provided into the actual delivery. These include the installation of VSD’s on pre-cooler fans, the rearrangement of evaporative condensers, and the upgrade of evaporator fans to utilise EC motors. Particular focus was placed on the feasibility studies and project management as these allowed for the application of a wide range of skills and material which was developed throughout the MEM course material. A total of 20 implemented projects have been described in brief, as well as 17 further projects or initiatives which have been recommended to further improve the efficiency of CSN’s energy consumption. The key limitation of all energy projects described (both delivered and recommended) is that the exact savings cannot be guaranteed due to the high variability in operating conditions and throughput. Best estimates have been made using historical trends and predictions of future use. In total approximately 2.25 GWh of annual energy savings were achieved which equates to around 16% of the business energy consumption and $270,000.
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