A cooler way to save energy

South Africa’s biggest glass manufacturer saved R1.8 million on its annual power bill by using energy more efficiently.

With the help of the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA), Consol Glass South Africa saved 2 117 650 kilowatt hours of energy per year and cut its CO2 emissions by 1 905 tonnes.

The total capital investment to achieve this massive saving was R1 948 018, so the investment was repaid in just over a year.

NCPC-SA runs the Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project to promote resource efficiency and cleaner production, helping companies to cut costs through reduced use of energy, water and materials.

Through the IEE Project, engineers at Consol’s Wadeville plant in Germiston were trained in energy-systems optimisation (ESO), with the focus on using cooling fans more efficiently in the glass-making process.

Consol’s fans have to run at different speeds for different glass products. After the training, Consol successfully tested a variable speed drive (VSD) in one of its cooling fans to better control its power requirements and reduce energy waste.

After the success of the experiment, it is now planning further VSD installations, which will lead to further energy savings.

Sashay Ramdharee, project manager for Consol’s energy-systems optimisation, says the energy and financial savings achieved by the Wadeville plant were better than they had hoped for.

Key to their success, Ramdharee says, was support from NCPC-SA and the commitment from Consol’s management, which made sure the project had both people and money behind it.

Consol Glass has an annual turnover of R4.5 billion and employs about 1 800 people. It provides glass packaging for the beer, wine, food and spirits industries. It also provides packaging for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. It has 11 furnaces and 29 production lines, with a total production capacity of 950 000 tonnes of glass per annum.

Consol Infographic

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A cooler way to save energy