The industry sector is facing major challenges. Globalized markets increase cost pressure in industrialized countries, which are particularly struggling with rising energy costs. Also, the reduction of emissions has become an important issue. The Danfoss 2030 strategy takes this development into account. "Sustainability is an important issue for us – our energy-efficient and innovative products are a case in point", explains Martin Oredson Haugaard, Technical Consultant at Danfoss Real Estate.
As early as 2008, Danfoss committed to reducing CO2 emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. With the 2030 strategy developed in 2016, Danfoss took this thinking one step further. By 2030, the company aims to reduce both energy and CO2 intensity by 50 per cent. As part of the worldwide program, 26 production sites on five continents are being audited, among them the Neumünster plant in Germany. "The manufacturing industry is the largest consumer in the country. It uses 42 per cent of the energy produced," says Dirk Mettjes, Manager of Operational Services at the Danfoss plant in Neumünster. But how much potential savings are there in the industry sector?
Neumünster is the first German Danfoss plant to implement the global strategy. Since 1972, the plant has been manufacturing and developing components for hydraulic systems, such as piston pumps and motors for hydrostatic transmissions, which are mainly used in construction and agricultural vehicles. The manufacturing halls from the 1970s have been upgraded several times in the past. Within the framework of the 2030 strategy, the approximately 39,000 square meter comprising complex, consisting of three production and assembly halls, a dispatch area and various administrative buildings, was thoroughly investigated for energy savings.
"We usually have five to seven days to examine the buildings closely," says Martin Oredson Haugaard, who is responsible for implementing the strategy. With the consulting firm COWI as a strategic partner, Haugaard prepared an energy screening and monitoring of existing buildings and production technology. Haugaard: "The outside view helps us to achieve the objectives of strategy 2030."
"When it comes to energy optimization, there is never just one solution, but always a variety of measures," says Haugaard. In case of the Neumünster plant, the focus was on heating, electricity supply and air-conditioning, and a large number of Danfoss products were used. In one of the production halls, the technicians equipped the ventilation system with Danfoss drives and a new controller system, saving more than 12,000 Euros per year. The production was also made more efficient with the help of a Danfoss controller, which regulates the heat recovery from air compressors, and reduced operating costs by a further 35,000 Euros per year.
Regarding the hot water system, the experts discovered a relatively simple way to reduce energy consumption. The boiler of the plant’s water heating system was equipped with a heat recovery system that feeds the waste heat from the gas-driven boiler back into the circuit. "It’s a simple way to reduce fuel consumption by over one million kilowatt hours per year and save up to 230 tonnes of CO2," says Dirk Mettjes. All the targets were met without disrupting the production at the factory.
"We identified a total of 14 different energy saving measures," says Haugaard, who focused on cost-effectiveness and technical feasibility. To date, eight measures have already been implemented. Four further proposals are considered uneconomical and another is currently being implemented. "We still have some leeway," says Haugaard.
The energetic renovation of the Neumünster site truly paid off for Danfoss. In addition to the certification of the plant according to ISO 50001, the building complex used about 20 per cent less gas last year compared to 2012 and almost two million kilowatt hours less electricity. "Clear analysis, smooth implementation and efficient products – this is how we have achieved our goal", says Haugaard.
Danfoss components like frequency converters, controllers and valves have contributed to the success. "Most of the products we use in our own factory are also attractive for our customers," says Haugaard. Still, he and Dirk Mettjes have not yet reached all of their targets. In the summer of this year, a thermal power station will be put into operation, making the company more independent from rising electricity prices. It is expected to save more than half a million Euros and 2.2 tonnes of CO2 per year.