MAUMEE – The power of energy assessments and their potential cost savings was presented by the JDI Group at the August Center for Innovative Food Technology Forum.

The two JDI representatives, Roxanne Manger, P.E. and Nathan Heine, P.E. said that energy assessments can allow companies to cut costs. The assessments can also highlighted other direct and indirect benefits, notably mechanical integrity and finding alternative funding sources.

Manger said that the JDI Group, founded in 2002, have 18 licensed architects, surveyors and engineers among their 70 employees. All are available to help to research and identify problems then providing solutions, she added.

“An assessment at your agricultural facility can provide a big-picture look where a third-party expert analyzes your systems and provides recommendations,” Manger said. “Prior to altering your facility, this exercise can provide data on the feasibility of implementation, or estimated timeline of energy savings paybacks. Typically, it’s a low-cost way to make an informed decision before a large capital investment.”

Heine said one example of a JDI case study was of a pneumatic conveying system. Their findings were that the blower was over-sized for the process, which, if changed to a motor with the correct pressure, allow an estimated savings of $6,700 annually in operating costs because power consumption could be reduced. He added that one side benefit was that it would avoid damage to the conveying tubes as well as shut-downs to clear the tubes.

In another example, Manger said a engineer for a fertilizer plant noted that ambient temperature around the reformer, a device used to create hydrogen by heating natural gas to 1800 degrees, was hotter than at other similar facilities.

She said that the JDI representatives decided the study goal was to determine ways to improve reformer efficiency, with a payback period for each solution. They than identified areas with high heat loss and worked with contractors to determine cost of additional insulation.

Ultimately, they recommended new flow instrumentation to improve chemical combustion efficiency. Other cost savings recommendations included adding insulation, replacing dampers for a better seal and refractory repairs.

The JDL representatives said other case studies include increasing water use efficiency in a chemical plant.

Manger said the plant was using river water for processing. Since the river water required treatment and quality improvement before it could be used in the production process, the company wanted to reduce the need for treatment and bring down chemical costs. To determine the best way to achieve these goals, JDL employees collected data such as seasonal flow rates, plant demand and incoming water quality.

The comparative solutions JDL offered included determining what filtration was required to make the water usable as opposed to switching to well water. Manger said the company selected the well water option, and the plant ultimately saw savings of $1.8 million a year by reducing city water usage, chemical treatment and maintenance costs.

Heine said potential areas of studying energy use in agriculture facilities include well water use and treatment, water and wastewater reclamation, as well as alternate sources of water.

They also can do energy studies and find areas for savings such as using LED lighting or opting for alternate sources such as solar. He said they also do utility studies, arc flash analysis, risk assessment of safety controls and first responder radio testing.

More information The JDI Group, based in Maumee, can be found at https://thejdigroup.com/

CIFT Agribusiness Services holds these forums to find connections between agriculture and other business interests.

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