Viimatech provides an energy audit service with IoT-enabled data gathering and cloud-based data processing. Previous audits reveal saving potentials of 30-50 % for various pumps. We lay out here the basic principles of gathering sensor-based process data and using them for improved energy efficiency and sustainability of industrial pumping operations.
Evaluating pump system energy overconsumption
Optimizing energy efficiency is an ongoing task in industrial operations. Here, a significant part of the energy usage comes from pumping systems. However, pumps are often operated at a suboptimal efficiency level.
Common reasons for poor efficiency in pumps are oversizing the pump and using throttle valve control for flow rate adjustments. By throttling the flow, part of the pump motor energy is wasted due to the extra pressure loss created by the valve. And with too big of a pump for the required flow rate, the best efficiency point for the system is not reached.
However, the exact amount of energy overconsumption is hard to estimate, as conventional audit methods rely on costly flow measurements or rough estimations. Consequently, it is challenging to plan the necessary changes and investments to reach the desired efficiency improvements.
Smart monitoring with IoT field devices reveals energy-saving potentials
IoT technology offers novel insight into industrial pump usage and energy consumption. It is an easy and cost-effective way to gather information on individual pumps. Combining the gathered data with computerized pump models gives precise numbers on energy usage and saving potential.
Viimatech provides the necessary field sensor and data analytic tools to perform an IoT-based energy audit. After a quick and easy setup of the devices, the sensors start automatically to measure pump motor power usage for each pump system. Moreover, the solution utilizes narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) technology, meaning that no local network is needed to start gathering the data.
The SmartView software creates a digital pump twin with information about the pump and motor models used. The twin model then calculates the pump’s real operating point according to the gathered process data. This gives accurate numbers on pump output, which can be compared with motor energy usage and estimate existing energy-saving potentials.
Results of a digitalised energy audit of pumps
All data collected during the audit period are compiled into a report. It includes the IoT data from the pumps, the calculations done by the SmartView digital twin, as well as recommendations and payback times regarding energy efficiency-related improvements.
In summary, the benefits of a digitalised energy audit are:
- IoT devices gather information continuously, and the digital twin model processes the data. The results are accurate models of the overall pump energy usage and capacity across operations.
- The energy measurements are used to make informed decisions on improvements and changes to the pump systems. Having exact, pump-specific measures allows for local improvements and overall energy optimization.
- Finally, the insights can be brought to action. Methods for energy optimisation may include changing pump impellers, introducing a variable speed drive to the pump system, or replacing individual pumps with more efficient options. The payback times for each investment are easily calculated and compared based on energy consumption and prices.
The energy audit is an easy and accessible way to evaluate saving potential in ongoing pumping operations. Utilizing IoT to find out energy-saving potential provides a straightforward method for process optimization and increased sustainability.
Here is an example calculation on pump energy usage and saving potential based on a real audit period done with one of Viimatech’s partners:
- Energy used during the audit: 132 MWh
- Energy usage after proposed improvements to pump systems: 72 MWh
- Energy price at the time of the audit: 0.08 €
- Total cost reduction after proposed improvements: 5760 €
- Savings in percentage: 45 %
- Proposed improvements payback time: less than a year