Dominion Salt scoops Innovation Award for energy-saving plant upgrade
An ingenious plant expansion that is saving $500,000 a year in energy costs, has won a national award for Dominion Salt and engineers Aurecon New Zealand.
Both companies were last night (subs: Weds 23 May) named Innovation award winners in the 2012 EECA Awards for the project that boosted capacity at Dominion Salt's Mt Maunganui plant by 63%, while improving plant efficiency by 48%.
Dominion Salt commissioned a major plant upgrade at its Mt Maunganui site in 2009. Rather than simply enlarging the facility and installing the extra heat plant required, Aurecon designed a cunning solution that recovers waste heat and puts it back into the production process, improving overall energy efficiency by 48%. This has reduced natural gas consumption per tonne of salt by 33%, and cut CO2 emissions by more than 3,000 tonnes per year. Production targets were exceeded too: capacity has increased 63% to a potential 76,000 tonnes of salt a year.
Dominion Salt is now well placed to meet growing demand from customers in 15 countries across Asia and South America. The bottom line benefits are also helping the company compete internationally: it's saving $500,000 a year in energy costs, which will grow to $900,000 when the plant hits full capacity.
EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill said the project was ground-breaking in the way it had put energy efficiency at the heart of the project.
"Energy is a major input cost for manufacturers. Getting those costs down - and improving the carbon footprint of the process - improves Kiwi exporters' ability to compete internationally. Dominion Salt is an excellent example of this in action. I'm sure other companies that rely on process heat will be inspired by this to find efficiencies in their own operations."
He said heat recovery like that used by Dominion Salt - capturing and re-using energy from waste heat - held immense potential to improve efficiency and returns for manufacturers.
The Innovation Award was sponsored by Fisher & Paykel.
Also recognised in that category was the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Highly Commended for a demonstration project that is running a landfill truck at Redvale on biogas; and Simply Energy, Highly Commended for its ‘white label' retail services for smaller generators, which is helping bring 60GWH a year of renewable energy to market.
The Supreme Award was won by Air New Zealand, which has reduced fuel use by 15% and cut CO2 emissions by 142,000 tonnes per year.
Across all 2012 EECA Awards entrants, the value of energy saved or generated over the life of the projects is $600 million, and the total CO2 emissions reduced or avoided is 1.7 million tonnes.
The EECA Awards are presented in association with Principal Sponsors EcoInsulation, Fujitsu General New Zealand and Vector.
For more on the EECA Award winners see www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/awards
2012 EECA Award winners - full list
- Supreme Winner: Air New Zealand
- Transport: Air New Zealand
- Large Business: ASB
- Small to Medium Business: Ecosystems and Whanganui PAK‘nSAVE
- Energy Management: New Zealand Post Group
- Innovation: Aurecon NZ and Dominion Salt
- Renewable Energy: Golden Bay Cement
- Public Sector: New Zealand Post Group / New Plymouth District Council
- Community: Greater Wellington Regional Council
- Outstanding Contribution: Jeanette Fitzsimons
Senior Communications Adviser Miranda James on 021 444 178.