Hans van de Greef: “Efficient use of energy”
How can we consume the least possible energy while extracting the most possible valuable raw materials from shredder waste? This is the question that challenges us every single day, at ARN. Our efforts are certainly paying off, as the energy saving has now risen to around 30% per tonne of material.
To save energy in the PST plant, our first constant point of focus is how to optimise our production line. Over the course of last year, we improved the organisation of maintenance on the machines. We now deliberately plan downtimes, to ensure that the machines continue to run problem-free for as long as possible. We above all concentrate on solving high-frequency, short disruptions. During these disruptions, the machines continue to run but without processing material; this not only causes delays, but also unnecessary energy consumption. Our preventive maintenance approach has led to a higher average material output and a lower proportional energy consumption at the plant. In other words, the energy consumption per tonne of processed material is reduced.
Better capacity utilisation
Another point for attention is the composition of the shredder waste we process in the PST plant. By altering that composition, we can better utilise the capacity of our processing line. It all starts with the primary separation of fibres, minerals and plastics. The separation modules each operate at their own processing speed. By adjusting the ratio of the various materials, we can better harmonise the machine operation. This too helps reduce energy costs per tonne of processed material.
Earning back the investment
In the recent past, our LIFE+ subsidy has enabled us to invest in optimising the line; we have succeeded in reducing energy consumption at the PST plant by some 30 percent. This is positive for the environment and allows us to achieve a considerable financial saving. Nonetheless, the end is not yet in sight for energy saving measures. We are for example considering the possibility of replacing all lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting, and are closely monitoring the latest developments in solar and wind energy. These technologies are highly sustainable, but they do require a considerable investment. With that in mind, we always first calculate whether the additional costs can be earned back within a reasonable period. We owe it to our reputation as ARN to carefully consider all our investments.
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