3 hidden causes of industrial energy waste
Companies tend to pay attention to global energy trends such as changing oil prices, yet the smartest companies monitor their utility usage regardless. As a result, diagnosing and fixing common causes of energy waste is critical. More than utility costs are at stake when it comes to energy waste. Some power quality related problems like harmonics can overstress conductors and windings leading to premature equipment failure.
Here are some causes of energy waste and some potential solutions:
- Harmonics. One of the most recognized effects of harmonics in electrical systems is the excess heat they create in the conductors carrying them. There are also documented cases of transformers overheating because of the presence of harmonics. That heat is a form of unintentional power consumption. It is possible to determine the amount of waste in watts, rather than heat. Many studies have shown the need to increase the size of neutral conductors in power systems to compensate for high third and their multiple harmonic currents.
- Load unbalance. Voltage unbalance at the motor stator terminals causes phase current unbalance far out of proportion to the voltage unbalance. Unbalanced currents, in turn, lead to torque pulsations, increased vibration and mechanical stresses, increased losses, and motor overheating. Each one of these effects consumes energy, now quantifiable in watts. It’s therefore critical to conduct load studies on all of your main power supply points.
- Motor running hot. Motors often run hot, which can be due to any number of problems, from insufficient lubrication to alignment problems. Read more about power quality problems that impact motors and drives. Solution: Early diagnostics can save on electricity.
You can get to the bottom line when it comes to identifying energy by asking: Is there a larger process issue that is causing peak demand or power factor problems?
Solutions typically involve:
- Repairing equipment
- Adjusting usage times
- Looking for utility rebates for installing energy efficient equipment.