Can an Industrial Plant Cut Expenses, Yet Maintain a Top Quality Water Treatment Program?
By Mike Henley, Vince Crowley
Saving water treatment costs is a popular and even desirable goal in today’s industrial world and it may take different forms. One approach is to minimize purchases. The opposite method is to spend prodigiously, acquiring the best money will buy. Then, there is the middle road, which Vince Crowley, the Chief Power Engineer at CF Industries Inc.’s fertilizer facility in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, seeks to follow.
“I’ve taken the stance of trying to have not the cheapest, but the best water treatment we can get for a good price. That has been our philosophy,” Mr. Crowley noted in a recent interview with Ultrapure.
He added: “We’re always looking for ways to cut costs, but you need to be careful not to trim quality and then upset plant operations.”
When asked practical ways to reduce water treatment costs, he noted that water system automation is one way plants have been saving money, even beginning 20 years ago. For many years, the CF plant has had an automated chemical feed system that touches all of the site’s water treatment aspects.
He explains that this automation has permitted the facility to extend plant turnaround cycles from once every 3 years with the cooling system to 4 years. The Medicine Hat plant recently invested under $100,000 (Canadian $) in upgrades to its water system automation program.
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