Process Water Filtration shouldn't be clear as mud!

The industries in which we operate and the product applications we have are extensive and here we provide a sector by sector breakdown. For a more specific solution please do not hesitate to contact us directly.


Industries

Principal Applications

Process Water Filtration shouldn't be clear as mud!

 

Water is becoming more important not only for drinking but for buildings and manufacturing where advanced filtration enables the reuse of this valuable resource. Finding effective water filtration technology that will provide significant savings on water, downtime and energy whilst increasing productivity and efficiency has to be a priority.

Industry worldwide uses water in many different ways and in different amounts, therefore water saving technology, in many cases, is used in multiple applications.  The commonalities however are that highly efficient water saving techniques are proven to not only reduce an organisations carbon footprint but also to make huge savings on energy bills and improve production and performance.

 In many operations within the manufacturing, industrial and commercial sectors the use of water is often an accepted process cost.  There is scant attention paid to reducing such a significant service cost with fixing leaking taps often being the extent of energy saving in this area.

With water, unlike with electricity or gas, the consumer pays for both the supply of water to the plant and once used he pays again for its disposal.  Pity the process that contaminates this valuable resource as the cost of treating water effluent is based on many factors, including added solids, heat, pH and volume. And under the policy of "the polluter pays" this cost of effluent treatment is ever increasing.

The simple fact is if an organisation can clean up this process water and re-use it just one more time it will effectively reduce its process water costs by a staggering 50%. 

Yet, interest in this area of ‘process' is given little attention.

True, the re-use of process water involves the installation of additional filter and sometime treatment technology to provide the necessary clean water.  However, having high efficiency filtration technology that filters out particulates down to 0.45 micron with efficiencies up to 99% can now make a significant return on investment for industry.

If, say, a food processing plant uses 10 m3/hr (10,000 litres) and is a 24 hour operation, the water bill for this operation could well be in the region of six figures.  Yet having the ability to remove solids of 1.0 micron and less, plus any additional treatments, to enable process water re-use would cost just $50,000 (US) to $80,000 (US) giving a payback within 6 months.  This is a fantastic ROI. Industry will also see a reduction in plant down time, increase productivity and reduce wastage without effecting the quality of the finished product.

In the commercial sector, for businesses that have large space cooling or heating systems the cost reductions are not based on the cost of the water, so much as the cost of electricity. These systems are often closed loop water heating or cooling systems. Typical areas for quick return on investment in this sector may well be hotels, computer suites, Universities, banks, large office complexes, and other public buildings in fact anywhere where water is used to heat or cool the work environment.

So how can savings be made? 

A typical chiller for a medium sized building with computers may well have installed refrigeration chillers which have 200-300kw of electrical energy. Larger buildings with high populations or personnel and or computers can be much bigger.

Many public buildings require heating in winter and so use a combined system of chilled water and hot water. On the hot water systems this would be connected to the hot water boiler, very often driven by oil or gas. On the cooling side there is a cool a water circuit, connected to refrigeration chillers to enable cooling to occur.

The energy input by the boiler or the chiller is significant whether using gas, oil or electricity to achieve the heating/cooling.

Ask any maintenance engineer what colour the water is in this system and this will range from pale straw (usually found in a new system) to black (found in a typical system). This discoloration is not just ‘yucky' it is actually having a major negative effect on the system.

From our experience, it is not uncommon to see large commercial buildings lose between 15-20% of its total heating energy input just because the water is dirty.

The discoloration is a product of the corrosion which is taking place naturally within the system, and this corrosion reduces the heat transfer from the heat source to the water, and then from the water to the heating/cooling outlet. A double energy whammy!

In addition, if chemicals are used to treat this dirty water, then the effectiveness of the chemical treatment will be reduced because of the high solid load within the water. Past examinations of this process have shown filtration to remove particulates down to 10 micron can improve heat transfer significantly, but our tests on many systems also shows that the majority of this contamination is between 1.0 micron and 10 micron. We believe that saving of 15-20% in total energy costs in this process can be readily achieved.

The solution is to clean up the heating/cooling water using reliable filtration to less than 1.0 micron connected to both the hot and cold water system.  If the water in the system is anything but clear then energy is being wasted. The darker the water the more it is costing a business.

So what are the savings against the cost?

A typical system using 100kw chiller and equivalent heater can use 250,000 kw per annum for a nine hour operation, five days a week. Many systems are running continuously to minimise energy losses so this figure could be as high as 870,000 kw hrs per annum.

Assuming the losses are only 15%, this means a loss of 35,000 kw per hour per annum. If the system is on 24 hours a day this cost increases to over 130,000 kw per hour per annum, all of which could be recovered through investing in proper filtration which could give a return on investment in less than 10 months.

 

 

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