Yesterday was World Environment Day. Another one goes by. Are we better off than last year? Has the awareness translated into positive action and the action into tangible gains? Even small success stories should be celebrated and publicized to motivate people and gain momentum. For this tunnel is dark and very long, but if we persist we will eventually see the light at its end.
And me? I spent much of the day thinking , reflecting and brainstorming about my experiences in a foundry during the course of my work last week. And I felt that this is as appropriate occasion to share some of them.
Many of the visitors to and readers of this forum are aware of global warming and the contribution of power generation towards this. Quite a few of us are trying to save energy in our homes through well intended measures like use of CFLs, car pooling, switching off devices when not required and other such useful actions. We feel good about this, speak or blog in various forums and encourage others to do the same. Without a doubt this is a step in the right direction.
But how many of us are aware that the energy wasted or lost in our homes is but a tiny fraction of that wasted in our industries; yes the same place where quite a few of us work daily and most of our possessions come from. Let us take the simple case from one of the foundries I visited last week. Having the technical know-how as a metallurgist myself proved to be an added advantage in analyzing this case. The metal has to be melted and maintained at a temperature of 1300 deg. C for casting purpose. But actual temperature after melting is in excess of 1550 deg. C in order to maintain the required casting temperature. Wastes and heat losses have resulted in a stupendous drop of 250 deg. C.
When we take into account that it takes 0.6 KWH of power for raising temperature of one furnace load by 1 deg C, the calculated power wastage is 150 KWH per melt and equal to 60000 KWH per month. An average middle class house with a bedroom air-conditioner consumes around 300 KWH per month. Power wasted in this one foundry is equivalent to the power consumed by 200 middle income households! And this is just one of 800 such foundries located in one city of our country!! About 80% of this power wastage can be avoided by just following the recommended practices, avoiding heat losses from the ladles and minor modifications in the practices.
So what do we mean by Energy Waste? Energy loss as we know is the difference between what is generated and what actually reaches the final customer or intended recipient. Waste is nothing but energy used up for non value added activities which in no way benefit the end customer for such products or services. In the above case super heating the metal has no benefit for the customer of the castings. And let us not mince words – there is Waste in every industry and office that is producing goods or services.
The energy wasted is multiple times of what we hope to conserve through our well meant power saving actions in our houses. And who is responsible for this mammoth WASTE ? It is none other than us…for it is we who spend most of our waking hours in these offices and factories and are responsible in part or whole for what happens there. It is now time to wake up and get our act together. We must see and acknowledge this criminal waste and act to kill it.
Let us all work together towards a greener, cleaner and better earth in an uncompromising way.