October 14, 2014

The Energy Hunter

Yara Porsgrunn has concluded an energy program with the Norwegian enterprise Enova which has recorded huge efficiency achievements.

Yara has a history in Porsgrunn dating back to 1928, when construction of an industrial site was initiated. The first shipment of ammonia arrived in 1929, and production of Calcium Nitrate – the Norway Nitrate - began and was sent overseas. Since then, thousands of people have worked at what is still the largest industrial facility in Norway, shipping millions of tons of fertilizer to all corners of the world. As one of Yara’s largest plants, energy savings are a top focus of site managers.

The energy saving program, which began in 2007, concluded this summer, with savings of 225 GWh annually. 'Energy Hunter' Anders Holst was responsible for the projects, and he and Porsgrunn are proud of the results, which are now finalized in a report to Enova. Enova is a Norwegian public enterprise owned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, and their goal is to strengthen the work of making energy consumption and generation more sustainable, while simultaneously improving supply security.

More than 10 Million Euro saved

"The results were achieved in different production areas - within electricity, oil, thermal energy and conversion to "waste" streams," Anders says. "Since the energy hunt started in 2006/2007, consumption for the finished fertilizer area, including nitric acid production, has been reduced by more than 20 percent."

The numbers say little if you don't have insight into energy costs and how energy intensive Yara's business is. "The difference is clearly visible on the bottom line. We can say that our energy bill would have been 80 MNOK (about 10 MEUR) higher this year if we had done nothing," Anders explains. "The major results are within steam savings, resulting in less use of oil and electricity to steam boilers. The actions are based on a holistic site approach."

The savings came through a range of changes, including loss reduction due to equipment condition, installing and using energy efficient equipment and process design, and planning turnarounds to coordinate energy consumers and producers across the site, not just in one plant. Improvements have mainly been in the fertilizer area, but the ammonia plant has seen achievements as well.

Becoming an ‘Energy Hunter’

"Porsgrunn has focused on improved communication between the plants, stability of the gas source, and improved control system. This is a clear win-win for the Yara and for the environment," Anders says. "A similar win-win situation was achieved for increased delivery of district heating to Porsgrunn city, from a new unit based on waste heat from the calcium nitrate plant. This will ensure that schools, nursing homes and hospital are warm in the cold winter months."

"My role as Energy Hunter in Porsgrunn has developed over the years," Anders continues. "From establishing energy overviews and identifying energy-related activities and projects, I now feel like I chase any topics that have a hint of money-saving. For the time being we are working hard to get funding for new projects that will give significant environmental and energy-efficiency improvements. Hopefully this will enable us to establish a new energy program."

"Yes - we have achieved a lot, but there is still more to do," the Energy Hunter says. "A proactive and innovative approach will continue to deliver energy results."