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Koppers reduces energy costs

The Newcastle site of Koppers Carbon Materials & Chemicals has achieved an “Australia-first” by adopting new waste heat recovery technology developed by Australian company, Granite Power (GPL), to meet its energy cost reduction goals.
Koppers’ Operations Manager Nick Moretti said Granite Power’s ‘green energy’ solution is exactly what they were looking for – cost savings and a reduced carbon footprint.
“Koppers has long had a strong commitment to the environment. That is why we have an energy saving committee which meets every month to look at continuous improvement of this site. Even though energy saving is no longer regulated we remained focused on finding an environmentally friendly solution to reduce our reliance on energy coming from the grid. When our engineers saw the heat conversion technology developed by Granite Power we knew that it was suited to our site. It was a sustainable solution capable of delivering savings well into the future.”
“We weren’t going to get large savings on energy but even a modest saving is worth it particularly since there was no capital outlay required from Koppers. The project met the Scope 2 category of being able to save electricity generated off site.
These days it is becoming more difficult to find ways to do this. Traditional savings have come from variable speed drives and insulating equipment to reduce heat loss, and we liked the fact that Granite Power’s was a different and unique solution.” Mr Moretti said there was minimal risk because the technology had already proven itself and Granite Power took responsibility for every part of the project.
“Granite Power designed, built and owns the technology. They sell the energy to us at a competitive rate. The system was installed during our regular preventative maintenance shut down period so there was no disruption to production.”
Granite Power Chief Executive Officer Stephen de Belle said Koppers is receiving multiple benefits from the first of-its-kind energy generation system.
“What we have delivered is a low cost, fully automated, unattended, highly sustainable and environmentally friendly energy generation solution which produces low carbon emission electricity cheaper than conventional energy from the grid. The Power Purchase Agreement, which sets out the commercial arrangements, ensures there is no financial exposure for Koppers.”
Project Team Leader Sean McCracken said the project required capturing waste heat being vented from three chimney stacks and bypassing it to their purpose-built Organic Rankin Cycle (ORC) heat conversion unit, and then delivery of the electricity thereby generated to the Koppers switchboard.
“The project began with data collection to conduct energy balance tests and measure heat loss, flow rates and fuel consumption. This determined the size and capacity of our energy generation unit. We calculated that we could produce up to 170 kW from the three chimneys. Each component, the by-pass valves, take-off ducting, support frames, gantries and ORC unit, were designed and custom built by our team to suit this site.”