In the last six years, global cold storage capacity has grown manifold driven by household income, development of supermarket retailing, and transportation infrastructure1. In 2014, global capacity is estimated to have increased by 20% over 2012, to touch 552 million cubic meters2. Today, the largest cold storage industries are in India, the USA and China3.
Such large cold storage capacities require a huge supply of energy to run the facilities. This means that energy is a significant cost contributor in any cold storage facility. Bigger the facility, higher the energy requirement, bigger the cost, lower the profitability. It, therefore, becomes imperative for the facilities to adopt energy efficient methods to enhance their performance and efficiency.
So what are the different energy efficiency management methods?
One, I would say is installing energy efficient devices such as compressors and insulating the storage facility, which is the expert-led approach.
Second is the data-driven approach. Here, we first collect relevant data such as energy consumption, asset performance and operations, and then analyze them to identify inefficiencies and correcting them on a continuous basis.
In this post, I would like to discuss the second approach with you.
Asset performance deteriorates over time. It is, therefore, essential to monitor them continuously to identify energy conservation measures. However, such an activity is heavily dependent on data and its analysis.
Here is how you can use data analytics to lower your energy consumption:
- Detailed collection of data: Most refrigeration plants are equipped with SCADA systems. However, data collected from them are neither stored nor analyzed. By collecting, storing and analyzing the data by a team of energy analysts, useful insights can be derived.
- Timely intervention: By using advanced analytics, data collected can be used to send SMS/email alerts to indicate any critical deviation.
- Proper communication: For detailed and in-depth analysis of all available data, it is important to store data in a central location for access by the team of energy analysts. Exchange of data or information should be done periodically.
- Thorough diagnosis: For optimum process control both on-site and/or remotely, detailed diagnosis of every parameter that is part of the energy management process can be carried out.
- Informed strategy formation: By coupling the power of data analytics with energy management and Refrigeration System expertise leads to identification of Energy Conservation Levers/Strategies such as thermal analysis and profi-ling, energy consumption analysis, weather influence on energy consumption, and improving chiller operations by analyzing chiller parameters.
By using data analytics in energy management, cold storage facilities can implement energy efficient measures at an enterprise level. What do you think of this method of energy management? Share with us your views and experience.