Tried & True Technologies
There’s no denying that industrial processes can be complex and intricate. Food processing, alcohol distillation, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and other unique industries have commercial industrial operations with equipment and methods tailored to their specific needs. Despite their complexities, there are universal principles such as heat flow, pressure equilibrium, and energy generation that underline all industry activity. Applying these universal principles, we can make insightful energy-efficiency improvements to an industrial process by adopting techniques used in another.
From heat recapture to reverse osmosis, here are some tried and true technical processes that can effectively reduce emissions and costs across industries.
An anaerobic digester is equipment that houses the breakdown of organic matter by anaerobic bacteria. This decomposition of organic matter produces biogas and digestate, both of which can be effectively reapplied depending on industry need. Biogas is largely constituted of methane, which can be used as fuel for heat or electricity. Digestate, the solid and liquid portions of the organic waste left over after the anaerobic digestion process, can serve as a nutrient-rich fertilizer or as a foundational material in other applications.
Anaerobic digestion has been used to treat waste for hundreds of years. As a naturally occurring process, anaerobic digestion can be applied across a number of different applications to improve energy efficiency and resource management at various industries.
- Wastewater treatment facilities screen and purify our wastewater and discharge clean effluent back into the natural system. It’s fairly common for wastewater treatment facilities to use anaerobic digesters to break down sewer sludge in order to reduce waste and produce methane fuel that can be reused to help power the facility.
- Dairy farms raise cattle and other livestock to produce animal food products such as butter, yogurt, and milk. As with all mammals, cows defecate. Instead of wasting the manure and shipping it off to a landfill where it will pollute methane, we can implement the tried and true anaerobic digester system to break down the manure into biogas and digestate — the biogas can provide fuel for thermal energy needed in milk pasteurization and the the digestate can fertilize the soil on the dairy farm.
Mechanical Vapor Recompression
Mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) captures and compresses low-pressure vapor in order to raise its temperature and make it once again useful in evaporator heating processes. By capturing and reusing what would otherwise be wasted steam, MVR technology is efficient and provides significant energy cost savings.
Little work can be done with low-pressure steam. Instead of paying heavy amounts for process steam, industries requiring thermal separation can look at implementing an MVR system to reuse evaporated steam as a heating fluid.
- Dairy farms need to separate water from milk in order to create concentrated dairy products such as butter. An MVR system can be a cost effective and energy efficient means to recycle the water evaporation and reuse it to heat more mixture and continue separating milk from water.
- Alcohol distillation uses heat to separate the constituent parts of a liquid and extract alcohol. Similar to its use at a dairy farm, an MVR system can repurpose evaporated vapor to serve as latent heat to further distill the liquid needed to extract alcohol.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) requires external pressure to force solvent with high ion concentration through a semi-permeable membrane to an area with lower solute concentration. RO is commonly used in water purification processes, but the same principle can be used in less conventional ways to create more concentrated liquids, such as juice or milk, before passing them through an evaporator.
- Water purification systems utilize RO to separate metal ions and other salts from water, making it clean and safe to drink.
- Juice processing plants need to extract juice concentrate from fruits and vegetables. Part of the process requires evaporation to extract water from the juice. Evaporation can be an energy intensive process, and one way to reduce energy demand at this stage is to further concentrate the juice before evaporation using RO.
Businesses constantly seek ways to decrease costs. On top of that, the world has its eye fixed on energy efficiency measures that will create healthier communities and a more sustainable society. With that said, industries are looking more and more for operational improvements that will not just lower costs, but will also help reduce emissions and conserve energy.
Fortunately, there are technologies available to do just that. And many of these technologies have been used successfully for decades (if not centuries). With sound engineering and proven technical track record, many energy efficiency processes are tried and true.
So while an energy-optimizing, cost-saving technology may seem new to one industry, businesses can have peace of mind knowing that they are not breaking ground with these technologies. They are simply showing the courage needed to empower their business and the world around them.
About Skyven Technologies
Skyven Technologies is on a mission to stop climate change by making it easy and profitable for industrial manufacturers to eliminate carbon emissions caused by process heat. The company’s comprehensive plant-wide approach goes deep into plants to uncover savings missed by traditional audits. Through a proprietary analysis technology, hundreds of solutions are considered and only those that have the best fit for unique industrial operation are implemented. From concept development to project financing and execution, Skyven helps manufacturers make sustainability pay.
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