New ventilation system nets rewards for Western Sugar

December 10, 2012

Scottsbluff, Neb. – A new ventilation process being used in the storage of sugar beets by Western Sugar Cooperatives is coming with a reward.

Thursday, Nebraska Public Power District, presented the company with a $12,000 EnergyWise rebate check for the installation of the new ventilation system resulting in the reduction of electric use as part of the utilities EnergyWise Incentive Program.

Western Sugar Cooperatives is utilizing a new ventilation process using variable frequency drives at its Scottsbluff facility. NPPD looked at the previous system which used twenty, 20-horsepower motors to push air through the sugar beets to keep them cool while being stored

“The old system ran 24 hours a day for a period of 180 days,” said Bryce Landen, energy efficiency consultant for NPPD. “The new system ramps up when needed, ramps down when not needed, utilizing a combination of temperature, humidity, and other factors to determine when to operate.”

NPPD estimated that the previous system used 1,289,088 kilowatt hours of energy over a 180 day period, resulting in a cost to the company of $64,545. The new system is estimated to save 25 percent in energy use (322,272 kilowatt hours less usage), and in costs ($16,113 less) over the period of operation.

Variable frequency drives (VFDs, also referred to as variable speed drives) can reduce output by controlling the motor rather than having the motor work at a constant, almost full load and adjusting the system to obtain a desired result. Variable speed drives are especially effective at reducing power and energy consumption to centrifugal equipment such as pumps and fans. This is because a reduction in flow is directly proportional to a reduction in speed, while the reduction in power is proportional to the cube of the change in speed. The VFD Incentive Program is available to industrial, large commercial and municipal customers.

More information on NPPD’s EnergyWise programs can be found at

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