In modern world the issue of energy efficiency becomes the most urgent one in all sectors of industry and everyday life. It is not a whim or a simple desire to save costs, but a need for prudent consumption of natural resources.
Energy efficiency is one of priorities for Alebor Group of Companies. Consistent work, performed by the Group’s specialists, constantly improves according to the development of the Group’s companies and expansion of production facilities’ scope.
We discussed it in details with Oleksiy Tsurkan, Director General of Grain Elevators Division of Alebor Group.
— How important is the issue of energy efficiency at your enterprises?
— While speaking about electrical power, we have separate metes installed at each silo facility: at automated intake point, at operational tower and at drying section individually. Thus we are able to perform control and analysis of every figure, and make correspondent conclusions. Moreover, almost every day we make planning of the silo operation. For example, we are aware of the volumes of grain to be taken by the silo during the nearest three days, we realize its approximate quality, and, correspondingly, discuss it with the directors of elevators and plan the silo operation in a reasonable and cost-efficient way. And occasionally I exercise individual control by myself.
Work planning is the basis of all measures taken to save gas consumption by drying machinery and equipment
The dryer ensures high quality product and gas consumption saving only when it is operating for a continuous period of time. Depending on external temperatures it comes into operational mode during 24-36 hours. Firstly it is warming up, gives an ordinary amount of output and consumes gas as per the rates set up by producer. In the physical realm it is 1.5 cubic meters per 1 ton-%, as a rule. And if you turn the dryer on for 24 hours, then turn it off and after that turn it on again, repeating this procedure for several times, – you will get excess amounts of gas consumption.
In order to avoid this we conduct careful work planning. For example, we allocate corn into the silos according to its moisture content. Corn with moisture content of 15-17% is stored in one silo bin, 17-20% – in another, and 20-25% – in the third bin, and so on. If the grain has even moisture content while coming into the dryer, it is easier to work and affects gas saving.
Another factor having an effect on energy efficiency is overall state of affairs: when grain-collecting station runs smoothly, everybody is in his place and doing his duly task.
— Did you think of using alternative fuel instead of natural gas?
— Surely, we know there is solid fuel, straw pellets, etc. But all of these are not good for our scope of activities. Actually, we conducted thorough calculations. First and foremost, such a resource requires availability of storage premises and procurement plan, as far as we speak about dozens of tons. According to our calculations we need about 20 tons of straw pellets per day. And they have by far not such a good efficiency rate. We also had an idea of using a low-density gas. But all these are not what we exactly need. If our operational volumes are 400 tons per 24 hours and the dryer is working in “turn on-turn off” mode, well, it would have a sense. But we perform drying of thousand tons of grain and our dryers are working non-stop for months. Thus, the only fuel we can operate with is natural gas.
— And what about modern developments of solar panels? Could they be of any use for you?
— It’s very costly technology nowadays. We need millions of dollars to purchase solar panels sufficient to work with our volumes. Every year we add electrical energy to each of our silo. Last year 1000 kW was added to Voronovytsya Grain-Collecting Station. Totally new cable connection was laid with total length of 77 km after obtaining of all the required permits. 400 kW was added to Khrystynivka Grain-Collecting Station. Currently the works are in progress in Balta and 1000 kW will be added to Chesne Grain-Collecting Station.
The solar panel itself is rather expensive, but it is able to cover ultimately quite a small number of our everyday needs. Though time moves.
The technologies are constantly advancing, and after this particular technology becomes affordable for industrial needs – why not then?
We could try to cover all the surfaces with solar panels and give a part of process to be supplied with them. Actually, we have it in mind.
Oleksiy Ivanovych, thank you very much for a very interesting talk. We’ll keep further observing the development of technologies implementation at Alebor Group’s enterprises and keep you updated.