We have done several energy efficiency projects in Asia in various sectors like textile, power generation, brick klins, lighting, etc. There is a huge potential to save energy in industries. Today, more than half of the sugar industries in Asia have the potential to reduce the energy demand by 20 to 30% through better maintenance and small investments. There is also a potential to increase the boiler efficiency by about 10 to 20%. The overall power plant/cogeneration plant efficiency can also be increased considerably by retrofitting measures.
Reduction in the process energy consumption could result in additional excess electricity available for export to the grid or fuel savings as in bagasse which can be stored and used during the non-milling season. Several viable technical options are available to lower the specific energy consumption of sugar production while the same time allowing better utilization of bagasse as a fuel.
If the steam demand of the process is higher than the steam available at the exhaust of the turbines, then a reduction of steam demand would help in avoiding the direct expansion of high pressure steam in pressure reducing valve. As a consequence, more steam would be available for power generation. On the other hand, if the process steam demand is less than the steam available at the turbine outlet, the net amount of steam can be further expanded in a condensing turbine to generate more power.
Some of the commonly known areas for steam savings are in the evaporation section, continuous vacuum pans, milling section, centrifuges, boiler house, etc. Similarly palm oil industries also have a good potential to reduce the energy demand in the process plant, boilers and cogeneration plant.
The specific electricity consumption and steam consumption can be reduced considerably in new sugar and palm oil mills, by giving importance to energy efficiency. The specific energy consumption for rice milling is high in few developing countries like Africa, which uses outdated hullers driven by diesel drives. The energy efficiency can be improved by using modern mills. Agro industries can remain competitive only if they give importance to energy efficiency and reduce energy cost for processing. In this aspect, several countries have already come up with energy conservation acts.
Apart from agro industries, importance is given for energy conservation in buildings and household sectors. To encourage energy conservation, energy rating labels are given for equipments such as TV, refrigerator, air-conditioners, etc. In some countries, incentive schemes and special funds are also available to promote energy conservation.
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