Barriers for Energy Conservation
(A management view)
D K Singhal
Chandpur Enterprises Ltd.,
Shree Badri Kedar Papers Ltd.,
In most of the seminars, intended for energy
conservation, approximately half of the time is
spent on over-emphasizing need for energy
conservation. The presenters forget that the
persons who are attending these seminars
already are convinced that energy
conservation is a must for them. As a seminar
attendee most persons are interested to gain
certain knowledge that can save some energy
and hence some money in their plant.
Furthermore, most of the general nature data do not
seem to be authentic, or, at least, seems doubtful. In a
recent seminar, one presenter indicated India’s paper
production to be 6.6 million ton, while other indicated the
same as 7.7 million ton. On questioning, it was told that
the data were taken from different studies by different
These data may be of some use for government officers,
but a common attendee, is only interested in determining
the possible savings opportunity in his plant, and
suitable ways for achieving the same.
Wasting too much of time on such presentations, is a
wastage of time and energy.
At the End of the Day:
Any management is interested to know
from the attendee whether his attending
the energy conservation seminar will be
useful to the company or not. If yes, what
would be the approximate amount of
investment and what could be the gains.
Markets are very competitive, so conservation
automatically becomes vital.
Under such situation, no management can
overlook energy conservation.
Still, many approaches used by managers are
techno-economically viable, but at the same
time could prove not very acceptable.
Some such cases are illustrated here.
Case 1: Fan Pump VFD
In a small paper mill, the fan pump motor was of
75HP, drawing nearly 83Amps.
The system was running for past few years.
Management refused option of VFD due to high
cost (approx. 3Lac).(Payback app. 3Months)
Manager revised situation and decided to have
a VFD of lower rating costing nearly Rs. 2 Lac.
This was again turned down by management
due to funds problem.
Without a VFD:
The manager was enthusiastic, and decided to
us pulleys for rpm reduction.
As a result, load decreased to 54 Amps.
After some time, pulleys were changed again.
Load decreased to 40Amps.
(Payback app. 3days)
The manager demanded VFD again after a
couple of month, indicating that he had already
saved the money required for it.
The management reply was….
A simple question:
Do you really need this?
If you consider installation of VFD after reaching to 40
Amps as in previous case, payback period could be as
high as 3-4 years.
Investment: 10,000 Investment: 3,00,000
Saving: 43Amp Saving: 3Amp (Estimated)
Payback: 3 days Payback: 3Years
A B C
For this mill, option A-B is better. But, had the mill
operating at point B, should option B-C be followed?
This mill had no portable energy audit
equipment, but hired an energy advisor for
conducting audit, who recommended the
If a VFD is to work within a narrow speed
range, please think twice….
Is it really required?
Energy conservation must be practiced for
saving, considering techno-commercial
viabilities, and must be suitably planned.
Installation of energy efficient system
should not be done just for others are
Always consider, “If there exists a low-cost
Case 2: Boiler Efficiency
In a small mill having a 5TPH boiler,
management was worried about low efficiency.
An energy audit firm conducted detailed analysis
of the system, and came up with an 80 page
report after nearly one and a half month of plant
The major possible solutions recommended
After Energy Audit:
Recommendation Mill Comments/Actions
(Reason for lower
1 High moisture in fuel Bound to run fuel that is
available in the market.
2 High ash in fuel Bound to run fuel that is
available in the market.
3 Excess air A new ID Fan was
procured and installed.
At almost the same time, another mill nearby
asked a one man consultant(?) for the similar
problem, who suggested after just a walk
through audit, to reduce ID fan rpm by changing
Opinions may differ, but, first mill, after hearing
about this case feels second mill’s decision was
a better one as consultancy fee and investment
in first case was very high, while final results
were almost similar.
For Small Mills:
It must also be noted that-
1. Mill-1 had delayed energy audit by nearly 10
month, as the audit fee seemed much higher
to the mill.
2. Audit considered fuel properties that were
prevailing at the audit time. In most of the
small mills, there is a vide variation in fuel over
Lack of Comparative Approach:
If we study BEE norms for the paper mills, data lack
comparative approach. Any mill can look at its data and
is supposed to decide where does it stand. But, if
comparisons are made section wise, the managers
concerned will obviously concentrate more towards their
plants to achieve better results.
For example, if there are two papermakers, often the
discussion is how much vacuum do you apply on your
machine? The higher vacuum user gets motivated to use
lesser vacuum automatically. But, total paper machine
specific energy is not so regularly discussed by them.
Benchmarks must be simple and easy to grasp by
This is because “kWH/T” or “kg bagasse per ton” make
better sense in management point of view than “GJ/T”.
Many small mills do not even understand “GJ/T”. Though
energy audit is not mandatory for small mills, yet, policy
makers should not give attention only to large mills only.
A such simple benchmark being followed by
papermakers is KVM of vacuum per daily ton of paper.
KVM has been taken by the model number of a well
known Indian vacuum pump manufacturer.
For small energy consumers, we need to develop low cost, simple
and easy to use thumb rules in the first phase.
1. 1Amp saved = Rs.100/per day saving
2. Fan Pump ampere = Ton Per Day Production
3. ID Fan Amperage = 0.9 X Ton Per Day Fuel
After some time, when it is observed that at least a certain
percentage of units has been able to obtain satisfactory results,
the mouth publicity will spread results very soon to other mills
After most of the mills have achieved a certain benchmark, they
will automatically get interested in implementing advance
techniques e.g. energy auditing, process up gradation,
automation of process operations etc. for better energy efficiency.
D K Singhal