Utility Goes Green With VFDs

Canadian power provider Alectra teams up with chemical plant for big savings

A chemical production plant in Ontario says it has saved proportionate amounts of money by switching to VFDs for its pump applications and teaming up with utilities on energy-saving projects.

Galata Chemicals, in Bradford, Ontario, primarily makes additives for PVC piping material and plastics. The company recently began working with Alectra Utilities on energy-saving projects: two of which are eco-friendly lighting frameworks and the installation of VFDs to match pump speeds with production rates, reported Miriam King  of the Bradford Times.

As King says, most would call it “going green”, which has translated to a better bottom line for many businesses. In this case, we have an example of how going green involved variable frequency drive application. A big reason for this is that VFDs have become more affordable when bought in bulk for plant services. At Galata, the first 6 VFDs, for a spray tower and oil heating system, have already been installed at a cost of $165,422, with Alectra paying half. The annual savings will amount to 2,860,000 kwh  of electricity,  or approximately $400,000 per year, according to the Times article.

Galata opened the plant just over ten years ago; that time period has been enough to see a drastic drop in the cost of VFDs. The Galata plant previously modified all its pump speeds with valve technology, which, one Alectra specialist said was far too inefficient. Representatives estimated the variety of drive has dropped hundreds of percent in cost.

Alectra, for its part, spearheads an energy savings program that increases this cost cut for Galata. The utility matches 50% of the cost of the equipment.

“It’s a great project,” says Van Eerde. “It saves a lot of energy, and it saves maintenance.”

Another seven VFDs are to be installed over the next few weeks. Galata is also working on a project with Enbridge to reduce its carbon footprint.

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