ArcelorMittal’s specialty rolling mill plant in Conshohocken has implemented efficiency improvements such as automated systems that idle electrical machinery during production delays, saving the plant more than $200,000 a year on energy bills while reducing carbon emissions, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
More than half of the $200,000 in savings was the result of improvements in the plant’s descaling operation, which removes impurities from the steel slabs during the heating and rolling process with blasts of high-pressure water.
The company replaced the high energy consumption 3,500-horsepower motor that powers the descaling pumps with a $300,000 variable-frequency drive that allows the motor to idle when the pumps are not in use, according to the article. Although descaling occurs only about 2 percent of the time, the 3,500-hp motor was running constantly before the upgrade.
Ben Fox, an electrical engineer at ArcelorMittal told the newspaper that the plant also identified other equipment that was consuming electricity during production delays and developed software that automatically idles and restarts the devices, saving about $1,300 per week. Fox also said in the article that other pumps could be retrofitted with variable-frequency drives for additional savings.
These upgrades are part of the company’s overall drive toward sustainable steel and energy-efficient measures being implemented across the company.
The specialty rolling mill, along with several other ArcelorMittal steel plants, was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency among energy efficiency leaders.
ArcelorMittal spent $320,000 to lobby Congress and federal agencies in the fourth quarter on issues including funding for the Energy Department’s industrial energy efficiency programs, infrastructure spending, transportation, and trade, reports Business Week.
Consuming nearly 32 percent of the nation’s energy in 2007, the U.S. industrial sector offers big opportunities for energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, according to an ACEEE report released in October last year.