- Cascades takes an integrated approach to energy reduction
- Green Team at Creemore Springs Brewery keeps lowering its Beer Print
- Lake Shore Gold sets the bar high for employee engagement initiatives
- New Gold’s New Afton Mine keeps digging for energy savings
- New CIPEC Leaders
- Industry Events and Resources
- Call for story ideas
Cascades takes an integrated approach to energy reduction
“Cascades Inc., as a paper and carton recycler, is by definition part of the circular economy and aims to reduce and reuse its resources, including energy, as much and efficiently as possible,” says Fabien Demougeot, the company’s Director of Energy. For its energy efficiency efforts, Cascades was awarded a CIPEC Integrated Energy Efficiency Strategy prize at the 2018 Energy Summit.
He also notes, “increasingly, our clients are asking for products with the lowest possible environmental footprint and we are now working to find new green energy suppliers to meet this expectation and also look for fossil fuel change opportunities and technologies.”
Demougeot leads Cascades’ innovative energy team--called CS+--that has identified and implemented energy efficiency projects and strategies for the past 20 years. CS+ aims to reduce the company’s energy costs and improve the energy efficiency of its facilities using an integrated 3R (reduce, recover and replace) approach. Moreover, the company has an Energy Investment Fund, which has promoted and funded energy efficiency projects since 2004.
Demougeot explains that in 2018, 31 projects in Cascades’ facilities across North America were funded through the Energy Investment Fund with over 200,000 GJ in energy savings. One large impact initiative was the optimization of the steam network, which resulted in energy savings of $300,000 annually. In addition, several variable frequency drive projects have been undertaken at different Cascades facilities. A number of boiler upgrades were implemented, including boiler control systems. Several facilities have upgraded lighting fixtures to LED lamps. Three of the Quebec plants are using solar walls to pre-heat indoor air, thus reducing natural gas costs.
Future energy improvements include the replacement of the hoods of the paper machine in one Cascades facility, which is expected to yield significant annual energy savings. Also in 2019, one of the Quebec plants will have its water tower upgraded with a heat recovery system.
“Our focus this year will be on consolidating our energy management programs and fully integrating them in the operations and processes of all facilities,” says Demougeot. For Cascades, it is not about the individual projects, but a better understanding of the processes in each plant. “We want to master our processes and thereby, improve their energy efficiency as well.”
Green Team at Creemore Springs Brewery keeps lowering its Beer Print
Creemore Springs Brewery, a division of Molson Coors Brewing Company, takes an integrated approach to energy and resource conservation, which has allowed the brewery to achieve 12.1, 9.5 and 9.2 percent reductions in natural gas, water and electricity consumption, respectively in 2017. For its efforts, Creemore was recognized with the CIPEC Integrated Energy Efficiency Strategy award at the 2018 Energy Summit.
Paul Swindall, Creemore Springs’ General Manager, says that the brewery’s Green Team is behind this success. The Green Team was formed in early 2016 after the results of a North American brewery survey showed that Creemore could do even better in resource conservation. “We were in the top 25 percent of breweries in terms of energy efficiency, but we realized there were still many opportunities for improvement.”
The Green Team is cross-departmental with a goal to reduce the brewery’s Beer Print by implementing projects in the areas of employee involvement, conservation and technological improvements. The team has already generated many energy and water conservation ideas, and has implemented an employee suggestion program in 2017 that includes rewards, such as $100 gift certificates and a ‘green’ parking spot--the closest to the employee entrance.
In the first quarter alone since the suggestion program was launched, 32 ideas have been submitted from all areas of the brewery. Swindall explains that the Green Team sorts the suggestions by water and energy savings as well as financial feasibility.
Of the projects that have been implemented since the Green Team was started, Swindall details a few that have had a significant impact on multiple areas in the brewery. For example, water consumption was minimized by optimizing bottle and can rinsing and by reducing the number of rinses of the brew house vessels.
Beer recipes have also been optimized to decrease water requirements; this has also reduced the number of truck trips to the spring—the brewery’s water source. Other improvements include beer filtration modifications, the insulation of the brewery’s steam system, and the automation of the boiler blowdown.
In 2017, the Green Team replaced T8 and T5 fluorescent (32 and 52 watt) lights with LEDs and thanks to incentives from the local utility, the project had a one-year payback. Motion sensors have also been installed, as have light sensors that take advantage of natural light.
For 2019, each member of the Green Team is taking on one initiative to be implemented. For example, the brewery’s electrician will upgrade the facility’s compressed air system, following a system audit in 2018. The Brewing Team Leader is already looking at optimizing the wort boil and how the tank is cleaned in an effort to further reduce natural gas and water consumption.
The Green Team uses Molson Coors’ internal benchmarking, which assesses water and fuel consumption per hectolitre of beer produced, as a metric to compare Creemore Springs to similar company breweries. He notes that this is a useful tool in the brewery’s journey to continuously improve its Beer Print, which means further reducing water and energy conservation, decreasing landfill waste and being a good community partner.
Lake Shore Gold sets the bar high for employee engagement initiatives
“Our target is to save 2,000 MWh per year,” says Bruce Armitage, Lake Shore Gold’s Energy Manager. They far surpassed their target. The company achieved 8,500 MWh or about $12 million in savings last year.
After being hired in April 2017, one of Armitage’s first campaigns was to engage employees in energy efficiency. He developed the ‘Digging Energy’ slogan. The slogan is promoted with decal stickers and employee reward programs for energy saving ideas. Valid idea submissions are eligible for monthly gift certificates and an annual grand prize. Additionally, departments with the most annual energy savings are treated to a pizza lunch.
Armitage notes that every employee submission receives a hand-delivered response on the status of their energy improvement suggestions. In this way, “employees feel recognized and are very satisfied with the program.”
“We have received over 150 energy ideas as well as some great business suggestions,” says Armitage. The most successful project—unplugging grates in the semi-autogenous grinding mill—saved 7000 MW of electricity and increased the throughput of the mill. Mill operators found that by simply cleaning the grates and optimizing some additional internal grinding, they could eliminate clogged grates and increase the amount of attrition grinding.
Another employee suggestion focused on the optimization of the ventilation system and will be implemented this year. Additionally, an energy dashboard system has been implemented to track production and the impact of energy conservation measures; this information is then communicated back to employees.
Future plans include the finalization of Bell Creek’s shaft expansion, which will improve energy efficiency by hoisting ore rather than hauling it, thus reducing the number of vehicles below ground. Further strategies to save energy and reduce global adjustment charges during peak hours are in progress. Moreover, Armitage wants to ramp up the company’s maintenance and reliability program to look for further efficiencies.
Armitage explains that employees are proud of the accomplishments to date. The company has been recognized with the joint Industrial Accelerator Program-CIPEC Energy Manager of the Year Award, the Most Non-Incented Energy Savings Award, and the CIPEC Leadership Award for Employee Awareness and Training—all in 2018.
“Our employees are very happy with the awards and are filled with a sense of achievement.” To spread his company’s success story, Armitage has spoken at the 2018 Energy Summit and the 2018 Energy and Mines World Congress. “Mining is a very small community; we build upon successes and help one another,” he said. “As part of that awareness, we don't only promote energy efficiency at our sites here in Timmins; we do it for the industry as well.”
New Gold’s New Afton Mine keeps digging for energy savings
“At the New Afton Mine, energy improvement is part of day-to-day operations,” says Andrew Cooper, the mine’s energy specialist, adding that “our employees consider energy efficiency in everything they do.”
The New Afton Mine, a New Gold Inc. property near Kamloops, BC, was the first North American mine site to become ISO 50001 certified back in 2014. Since that time, the mine has realized energy savings of about 34 GWh annually. Cooper explains that the company sets new energy savings goals on an annual basis based on the energy performance two years prior. For 2019, that goal is 1.62 GWh.
As the mine becomes ever more efficient, energy performance goals are reduced, yet Cooper points out that energy saving opportunities “are endless since there are always opportunities that come from targeted energy studies, process improvements and employee suggestions.”
One targeted energy study identified an opportunity in upgrading tailings pumps with high efficiency impellers. This upgrade was completed in March 2018 and is expected to save 385 MWh annually. A study of the mine’s underground compressed air system also showed significant savings to be achieved. After several upgrades to the system, the final measurement and verification in December 2018 showed that 1480 MWh in savings had been realized.
Cooper explains that process improvements have also yielded substantial savings. For example, water from the flotation circuit was recirculated instead of pumping it out to tailings, thereby reducing pumping energy and saving 700 MWh annually.
Over the past two years, the mine also implemented four major lighting upgrades (switching from metal halide to motion-controlled LEDs), which were enabled by BC Hydro incentives and resulted in savings of 355 MWh annually.
Plans for the near future for New Afton’s mill include a compressed air system upgrade through the increase of the compressed air storage. Cooper expects annual savings of 300 to 500 MWh. In addition, as part of a possible expansion project at the mine, the company is looking at the option of electric or hydrogen fuel cell underground vehicles identified in a study funded by BC Hydro.
“New Gold attributes its impressive energy results in part to employee engagement,” notes Cooper. To build on this, New Afton’s biggest upcoming initiative is to achieve fifty percent of its annual energy performance goals through the implementation of employee and contractor suggestions.
As part of this initiative, the employee suggestion process will be revamped and expanded. Moreover, there are plans to utilize technology, such as apps that allow employees to visualize and track energy savings.
The planned employee awareness project will build on the mine’s previous programs which were based on the theme of power saving agents. New Afton subsidized the purchase of home energy monitors for employees and bought smart phone plug-in thermal cameras to loan out to employees to help them identify energy savings opportunities at home. “This is just one of the ways that the company has made energy awareness and conservation a part of every employee’s daily life,” concludes Cooper.
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