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Potential of Technical Insulation

The Plant's New Clothes – Savings by the Use of Suitable Insulation

| Editor: Wolfgang Ernhofer

Stephan Kohler, a former director of German Energy Agency, Dena, also knows that "there is considerable economic potential to be tapped". According to an investigation by the Research Center for Energy Economics [Forschungsstelle für Energiewirtschaft] in Munich, heat loss from components and pipework can be reduced by 30 % on average. The regular return on investment is in excess of 50 %, advises the Energy Efficiency+ initiative and Dena.

If the benefits of industrial insulation are plain for all to see, why are so many companies still reticent about investing in insulation systems? "Basically, energy savings measures rarely focus on insulation," says Stefan Geiger at Saint Gobain Isover, "since consideration is mostly given to measurement and control systems and plant operating modes."

The specialist consultant for industrial products and specification advises companies not to restrict their focus to shock hazard protection. By using greater insulation thicknesses and optimized insulation materials, hitherto unexpected sums can be saved, says the expert. Particularly among external planning agencies, the dominant factor is getting the cheapest price and payback periods of over a year are viewed with skepticism.

Continuous Optimization at Dow Chemical Plant in Schkopau

Industry giant BASF is moving forward here, as in other areas, and has employees whose sole purpose is to take charge of efficiency measures. Other leading companies are likewise occupied with the potential savings they can harness through modern insulation systems, including Dow. Since Dow took over the Olefinverbund Central Germany company in 1995, making extensive modifications to the plant, continuous optimization has been on the agenda. In one specific project, the steam and condensate pipes for the supply system at the Schkopau site were modernized.

Additional Information
 
Insulate Wisely, But How?

The DN 200 insulation on the pipes was 35 years old; it was also losing huge quantities of heat and did not comply with today's standard. Apart from that, the pipes were oversized for their current tasks, which is why Dow resolved to reduce the steam pipe from DN 200 to DN 100 and the condensate pipe from DN 100 to DN 50.

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