Novelis’ Yeongju plant recently brought an all-new meaning to the phrase good neighbor. For its environmental efforts, the plant received the Prime Minister’s Commendation on September 6 at the South Korea Ministry of Environment’s 2013 Leading Resource Recycling Corporations Awards. In this blog post, Hongsoon Park, Yeongju Plant Manager, tells us how the facility has been able to share its extra heat with a neighboring plant, saving fuel, energy and money.
Ever since the Novelis Yeongju plant commenced operations in 1993, it has been dedicated to minimizing its environmental footprint. Our operations, which include casting, rolling, finishing and recycling, emit a tremendous amount of heat. Being such a large plant, Yeongju’s exhaust heat boiler had insufficient capacity to absorb most of the heat, but in 2009, we installed a new exhaust heat boiler with a capacity of 10 tons per hour to improve the energy efficiency of the plant.
The energy recaptured through the exhaust heat boilers was first used throughout the plant for various processes and heating. Most of the energy was used for heat treatment of rolling oil to prevent bacteria growth. It was also used for heating the workshops and offices in winter. Naturally, the demand for heat was not very high during the warmer months of the year, so some of the extra heat was still being discharged. This prompted us at the Yeongju plant to seek ways to sell the energy to outsiders.
Fortunately, we found a perfect customer in our neighbor KT&G. KT&G’s Yeongju plant is close enough to our plant that we were able to directly provide the energy to the plant by installing a pipe between our two facilities. Coincidentally, KT&G Yeongju plant’s demand for steam was especially high in the Summer – when ours is low – because it runs boilers for its cooling system. Now, instead of emitting hot spare steam into the air, we are able to let our neighboring plant use the energy for cooling. What a fantastic low-carbon, green partnership! An agreement was inked in 2011, and since then we have reduced the annual consumption of fuel oil by 55 percent – roughly 1.5 million liters – and saved approximately $1 million.
Not only are we generating less in greenhouse gas emissions, but the temperatures of emissions are lower, helping counter global warming. And, according to the certificate that the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of the Republic of Korea issued to the plant to certify its reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we curtailed our greenhouse gas emissions by 11,533 tons in terms of CO2e (equivalent carbon dioxide) in just one year by adding the new exhaust heat boiler. That’s equivalent to planting nearly 2.3 million 30-year-old pine trees!