Good practice

Increase energy efficiency of water and steam generators

Increase energy efficiency of water and steam generators
© nordroden, image #159279647, 2018, source:
All manufacturing industries, Chemical and process engineering
High cost
Payback time:
1 Year(s)
Resource savings: Energy:
1 675 000 kWh per year
Premises and operation areas:
Production processes
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Under pressure!

  • Pharmaceutical plant focuses on making its steam and hot-water production more energy- and cost-efficient
  • Controlled measures like optimising operational times on equipment and lowering pressure and temperature in stages generate savings

A global leader in generic medicines implemented different measures on hot water and steam systems in its plant in Schaftenau, Austria.

Water and steam generators are one of the plant's main energy-consuming operations. Before implementing measures, the total consumption was 20.77 GWh per year. To reduce this demand and boost energy efficiency, the company took a number of steps which resulted in measurable gains.

Key benefits

  • Checking the steam trap system: During the first review in 2009 it was found that 9 % of all steam traps were defective. These were replaced. Periodic reviews lead to energy savings of 500 MWh per year.
  • Separating used hot water and switching-off the main heating pump: Separate outlets for used hot water were installed and controls for the main heating pump were adjusted, so it switches off during hot summer month. This leads to energy savings of 250 MWh per year.
  • Optimising sanitisation time: A function of temperature and calculation of F0 values determines the sanitisation time. The company saves 550 MWh energy per year due to this measure.
  • Minimising hot water temperature: It was reduced from 121° C to 60° C which cuts standby losses and saves natural gas, as well as electricity in refrigerating equipment. This measure leads to energy savings of 145 MWh per year.
  • Flash steam recovery: Condensate used to collect (at 8 bars) in an unpressurised tank. Now a flash steam-recovery vessel feeds into an existing 3 bar steam network. This leads to energy savings of 230 MWh per year.

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