Engineers analysing water usage to uncover energy waste

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A new theory is causing engineers and scientists to rethink energy efficiency in manufacturing facilities, according to pump importer Pump Solutions Australasia.
Up to now, industry has enjoyed an abundant supply of water for industrial processes. Many manufacturing plants are located next to rivers, and in the past manufacturers would use water whenever they wanted to and dump waste water back into its source.
These days, however, water has become more expensive. Population growth and climate change mean that there are more people, more industrial processes and less water for them to share.
What's more, pollution regulations mean that facilities will face heavy fines if they discharge their waste water without treating it first.
As a result, industries have been looking for ways to reduce water usage. And one previously overlooked factor is coming to light: the use of water for cooling is an indication that energy is being wasted.
Pump Solutions Australasia explains: "When a process produces heat that needs water to cool it, that heat represents energy that could have been used as some form of kinetic energy for the manufacturing purpose for which it was intended. In other words, energy that could have been used to actually do work is instead converted to heat, which then takes even more energy to cool.
"While cooling will be necessary in processes in which heat is essential, scientists and engineers are now viewing any mechanical energy turned into excess heat as wasted energy."
The bottom line is that whenever the use of water for cooling is reduced, costs for infrastructure, energy and other capital costs go down.
Mike Hurlbatt, owner of Pump Solutions Australasia, concludes: "It's early yet, but it's a good bet scientists and engineers will test this theory and put it to good use in their quest to become more energy efficient."
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