West Australian-based The Seedling Factory is that State’s dominant supplier of seedlings and plants to West Australian market gardens and the forestry and ornamental plant industries.
Seedlings are produced in two nursery facilities, one in Hope Valley and one in Oldbury. In all, around 50 million seedlings are produced annually and these plants are transported to clients across the state from Broome to Albany.
With its annual output of seedlings, the issue of water usage and energy costs looms large for The Seedling Factory. Like all businesses today, the company is constantly looking at ways to operate more efficiently and cost effectively.
To find ways to save and reduce energy consumption of its pumps and pumps systems, The Seedling Factory turned to Grundfos and its highly-regarded Energy Check.
If there were any savings to be made, the Grundfos Energy Check would identify them.
The Grundfos approach to helping companies such as The Seedling Factory begins by gathering critical pump and motor nameplate information such as performance criteria, age, size, running hours and frequency of operation.
Armed with this information, estimates are then made regarding energy savings through one to one Grundfos pump replacement and assessments as to which pumps could best provide energy saving opportunities and attractive payback benefits.
The Grundfos Energy Check analysis for The Seedling Factory included:
- Operating hours – figures were obtained from the responsible site personnel during site visits.
- Pump flow and head data – these were taken from the nameplate of the pump or corresponding records in the customer inventory system.
- Motor power data – these were taken from the name plate of the motor or corresponding record in the customer inventory system.
- Installation year – data was obtained from the responsible site personnel during site visits.
The results and subsequent Energy Check report assume that nothing in the system is changed except the pump set.
Spot checks, or pump audits, can be performed to confirm the actual performance and savings.
Additional potential energy saving opportunities can also be unearthed if one of the following options were to be selected for further
investigation on the identified pumps:
- Spot measurement - attaching measuring equipment for a few hours to take a “snap shot” of the pump performance criteria
- Demand vs supply - checking to see if key equipment demand is being supplied
- Pump audit – attaching specialist measuring equipment to the pump for an agreed number of days to establish the pump’s load profile.
New CR-2 multistage pumps for The Seedling Factory recommended by the Grundfos Energy Check would provide a payback period of just 3.52 years. The company says it is very satisfied with the service and the predicted payback times. It described the Grundfos Energy Check report as “excellent”.
General Manager Ben Funnekotter says the Energy Check and findings were particularly timely as energy prices in West Australia have risen 11% since the audit was carried out.
While it has been too early to compare before and after energy costs, Mr Funnekotter says he has no reason to doubt the Grundfos report’s finding of potential financial savings of more than $30,000 over the next decade. This figure is based upon an annual energy reduction of 19,239.26 kWh.
In further findings, there is also good news for the environment with the report predicting a yearly reduction in CO2 emissions by The Seedling Factory of 15.35 tonnes.
These savings potentials are based upon the pumps operating at a fixed duty using the best efficiency point. Allowances have also been made for reduction in consumption due to existing variable frequency drive control. The drives are assumed to be operating at constant pressure control and can be reused for the pump replacement.
One final benefit, Mr Funnekotter says, is that he does have some nice new pumps.