Monday, November 30, 2009

Interstate Paper Pursues Energy Saving Initiatives

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The United States Department of Energy has recently recognized the Interstate Paper, a US paper mill in Riceboro, Georgia, for participating in an energy savings assessment in 2008.

The assessment was completed collaboratively between the mill and the
Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech. This assessment focused primarily on Interstate Paper’s “Power Island” and the two main steam and power users in the paper mill, the pulp mill, and the paper machine.

The assessment team evaluated the operation and energy savings potentials in the following processes:

The black liquor recovery boiler
The biomass bubbling fluidized bed boiler
The power boiler
The evaporators
The digesters
Condensate return - paper machine

Interstate Paper received the 2008 assessment results and they included the following “Best Practices”, “Continuous Improvements Process”, and “Strategic and Long-Term Recommendations/Opportunities” criteria:

Long-Term Objective for the use of alternative fuel in the BFB Boiler and for
recovering harvesting waste

Best Practice-Continuous Improvement Process for reducing boiler blow-down
and for the increase of condensate recovery

Continuous Improvement Process for improving steam distribution, valves, and
vessels insulation

Strategic and Long-Term Recommendations/Opportunities for installing
condensing turbine to increase power generation

Overview of Interstate Paper Energy Saving Initiative

In 2007 and early 2008, Interstate Paper took the initiative and continued to work diligently toward achieving more energy savings ideas and better practices through day-to-day operations and long term capital planning and feasibility studies. The mill engaged its own personnel, as well as suppliers, to identify energy savings potentials in the mill.

One of the suppliers, Goulds ITT, was hired to conduct a pump/energy audit. As a result, a total of 26 pumps across the mill were identified for potential energy savings through the implementation of a system upgrade, including fitting these pumps with an inverter duty high efficiency motor, as well as a variable frequency drive system, in lieu of the conventional fixed speed motors and re-circulation valves.

The project savings would primarily come from reducing electrical consumption per pump/motor, and improving the reliability of each application by reducing any system vibration affecting piping, valves, foundations, couplings, and eliminating re-circulation valves maintenance. In some cases, the upgrade would virtually eliminate pump failures due to excessive vibration and extend the life of mechanical components such as valves, piping, fittings, etc.

The paper mill carefully evaluated each application from an applicability and savings standpoint to make certain that savings were attainable and the application would improve beyond just energy savings.

Based on the mill’s own assessment, eight critical pumps with the highest returns were chosen for the upgrade. As a result, a $1.0MM project was submitted to the company owners and the board, and was approved in early 2008. This system upgrade affected the pulp mill, paper machine, and power house.

Interstate Paper is a member of
Interstate Resources, Inc.
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