Thermal energy often comprises a large share of total energy demand. In order to increase energy efficiency, in-process heat recovery is therefore essential. Energy costs can be reduced through the multiple use / reuse of process heat. However, heat recovery is often associated with large capital costs, e.g. for heat exchangers and piping.
By performing a pinch analysis engineers can, with the objective of a minimum total amount of investment and energy costs, determine the optimum balance between the various process stream energy flows. This allows companies to derive strategic planning measures for heat recovery and improved utility system design. In addition, pinch analysis is a valuable tool in the design of new systems and processes. Overall, the potential for the reduction of primary energy demand based on a pinch analysis is up to 40 percent.
What are the benefits of a pinch analysis:
- Holistic systematic approach and holistic optimization (system design, energy supply, operating costs and capital costs)
- Statement regarding the absolute energy savings potential
- Strategic planning of measures
- Prevents poor investments into incorrect efficiency measures such as the false integration of a heat pump
- Provides key data on how energy supplies, including solar energy and/or energy storage untis, can be effectively implemented or dimensioned
- Critical analysis of the process from an energetic standpoint; external perspective; no operating blindly
- Shows where the current energy requirements of the process are; an element of Energy Management Systems
- Energy savings translates into reduced CO2 emissions
- It make sense to connect entire industry zones energetically
A pinch analysis answers the following questions:
- What is the minimum necessary energy requirement for a fully optimized process?
- What is the economic optimum for the investment and operational costs?
- With what measures can the energy targets be achieved?
- Which energy supply unit is optimal for the total system (boiler, CHP engine, heat pump)?
- How should the energy supply unit be integrated into the system?
More information is available in the following SFOE brochure.