A pioneering facility in the reduction of energy and waterA Veolia team has implemented a unique new system to optimize energy and water use at SHMVD, a domestic waste treatment and recovery plant in Haute-Marne (France). Frédéric Houdry (plant manager) and Christophe Thabourin (instrumentation & control technician) explain their success in achieving this with the teamwork of all the personnel at the site.
What prompted this project?
The plant has been in operation for 20 years. We collect and burn all the waste in the county, and then recover the energy to produce electricity and heat for the inhabitants of the city of Chaumont. Four years ago, we began the process of bringing the site into line with ISO 50001, the standard for energy management.
Following an energy audit, we realized that certain parts of the plant were very energy-intensive. We identified the biggest consumers and then replaced them with high-performance equipment.
What makes the project innovative?
We decided to switch to highly energy-efficient motors. We’re the first plant in France to implement this type of system.
The new-generation motors we installed allowed us to optimize energy use at the facility, making it as efficient as possible.
How did you work together?
We involved the entire staff, as this measure affects everyone. It’s like a sports car: the driver has to know how to operate it to get the best performance.
The whole team has been really responsive. To make the most of the system, each operator needs to continually calibrate the equipment settings. The parameters need to be closely monitored, and if there is an anomaly, the reason must be rapidly identified and resolved. This collective involvement is essential or the efficiency is lost.
What was the biggest challenge?
At the time, these motors weren’t used anywhere else, so we had to convince our directors that the concept was viable. As the plant manager, it was my responsibility if it didn’t work. But Christophe and I really believed in it.
The plant operates year round, so we had to choose the right period to install the new equipment so it wouldn’t have too much impact on operations in case of any unexpected issues.
What was the highlight of the project?
The first positive results that showed how much electricity and water we had saved. Now I look forward to releasing our usage reports because these results improve every month!
It was after the new system first started operating, when I measured the results and saw the energy savings we had made. That reassured us that we had made the right decision!
What are the positive impacts?
Last year we reduced our electricity use by 25%. And we are continually making adjustments to increase this. The objective for 2018 is to save 30%. We also used 25% less water.
We can serve as a concrete example. Other plants that want more information before adopting these measures can learn from our experience. By taking the first step, we hope to pave the way for others.
What are the next steps?
Christophe and I are regularly asked for advice by other plants in the Group, either to upgrade existing equipment or to implement the new system from the start. We want to share our solution with our colleagues so we can help each other improve performance.
Our aim is to keep improving resource efficiency at the plant. We will continue to invest in innovative equipment and to fine-tune how we use it.