Increasing operating costs

The by-product plant of ArcellorMittal in Ghent, Belgium, cleans the coke gasses from the ovens. Once they are cleaned, the gasses are used for other processes in plants on other sites. Temperatures at the plant can be 180 °C or more. Missing or damaged insulation will cause increasing operating costs.

Unidentified loss

Johan van de Vijver was Manager of the by-products plant of ArcellorMittal in Ghent when he received indications that the plant’s on-going efficiency was compromised by unidentified heat loss. He discussed this with Hertel. Peter Stulen, Head of the Plant Integrity department at Hertel, suggested the best way to identify areas of heat loss would be using infrared thermographic images. That would allow the Hertel team to rapidly detect areas with missing or damaged insulation. Peter: “Our experience with the analysis of thermal images combined with our knowledge of thermal insulation allows us to calculate heat loss as well as potential energy and cost savings once the right insulation is installed.”

Johan van den Vijfer, Manager by-products plants of ArcellorMittal: “The survey showed us that there was an issue which could be solved relatively easily. We had not considered the valves and flanges to be areas with major heat losses ourselves, but the images and calculations showed otherwise. We are delighted both with the result and with the fact that we were able to reduce annually recurring costs so quickly. This makes a relatively small investment highly worthwhile.”

37 thermal images 

The Hertel team consisted of Level 2 certified thermographers with a TIPCHECK certification from the European Industrial Insulation Foundation (EiiF).  This certification enables them to provide an audit of the thermal performance of industrial insulation installations. At Ghent, 37 thermal images were made from positions throughout the plant, allowing the team to cover 79 different pieces of equipment. Each shot provided them with enough information to carry out up to three different measurements of valves, flanges and other assemblies. Then the ‘hot spots’ were analysed in order to determine the surface temperatures and the deviation from the expected performance.

Potential heat losses

Peter: “We quickly quantified the heat losses and compared these values with expected values for ideally insulated systems. Savings were calculated in terms of energy and money. With our experience in process engineering, building and maintenance of plants, we are able to identify problem areas. We expected that the valves and flanges were potential heat loss areas. This was confirmed by the thermal images.”

Pay-back time: eight losses

Calculations by Hertel showed that when the insulation was replaced or added, the potential annual energy savings would be € 28,361, resulting in a payback time of approximately eight months. Once the insulation work was done, Johan monitored the plant’s energy consumption for 12 months to compare this with the previous year. The total energy cost saving was € 28,651, even € 290 more than estimated by Hertel.

Delighted with the result 

As a result, Hertel has been asked to carry out a further plant integrity thermographic study on other areas of the AccelorMittal site in Ghent.

Our added value

Insights in potential energy savings

Our experience with the analysis of thermal images combined with our knowledge of thermal insulation allows us to calculate potential energy savings.

Experienced TIPCHECK thermographers

The Hertel team consisted of Level 2 certified thermographers with a TIPCHECK certification from the European Industrial Insulation Foundation.

Experience in process engineering

With our experience in process engineering, building and maintenance of plants, we are able to identify problem areas.