Bakers Journal

News
Analysis of natural gas consumption at Weston Bakery reveals saving opportunities


April 4, 2014
By Anatoli Naoumov GreenQ Partners

April 4, 2014 – Can
a bakery burn less gas with the same equipment? Statistical analysis of
consumption data may provide an answer. The good news is that bakers do not
need to do it themselves.

April 4, 2014 – Can
a bakery burn less gas with the same equipment? Statistical analysis of
consumption data may provide an answer. The good news is that bakers do not
need to do it themselves.

“We
couldn’t explain a “hiccup” in sub-metering data from our bread oven in our
Sudbury bakery,” says Darren Borden, energy management engineer at Weston Foods
(Canada) Inc. “Sub-metering alone didn’t identify an issue, but only indicated
a change point. The site behaved differently between summer and winter
operations.”

To
find out the answer he contracted GreenQ Partners to look at the consumption
data. “The analysis was powerful and allowed us to discover and ultimately
address the reason behind the unexplained rise in natural gas consumption that
we were seeing,” he concludes.

Anatoli
Naoumov, GreenQ’s managing director, explains that by using statistical analysis
the firm was able to quantify the loss of efficiency and pinpoint the time of
changes that caused it. “Through a discussion of the numbers with Darren we
found the reason: the temperature sensor calibration procedure was faulty.”
Fixing the problem required no investment: third-party calibrators are now
required to show a certificate of recent sensor calibration. This change alone
is about to save the bakery about 15,000 m³ of natural gas per year.

Along
with answering the initial question, GreenQ has produced several valuable
byproducts. The bakery now has a tool to calculate marginal cost of production
for costing and budgeting instead of using average per kg gas consumption,
which was confusingly different every month. Analysis quantified the difference
between winter and summer consumption and tracked this difference to intake air
temperature. Now a business case to preheat combustion air can rely on actual
data. Uptake? At the very least – 60,000 m³ per year. On another oven, one that
already uses inside air for combustion, the difference in summer and winter
non-production gas consumption has invalidated the operational decision to keep
oven always on in summer to “save gas on reheating.” Changing the procedure
will save gas with no cost.

Borden
is pleased with the outcome. “This kind of analysis can also make the case for
preventative maintenance,” he says, concluding that he woulduse such analysis
again because it turns sub-metering data into actionable information about
efficiency and uncovers discrepancies.

In other words, saving energy through analysis is an
easy way to increase profit.


Anatoli Naoumov, MBA, MSc, CMVP, is
managing partner at GreenQ Partners consultants. Naoumov has been involved in
various areas of business analysis and business development for over 15 years
working for companies in Canada, The Netherlands and Russia and has been
certified as measurement and verification professional (CMVP) by The
Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and The Efficiency Valuation Organization
(EVO). He may be contacted at
anaoumov@greenq.ca .