With a complex on-site generation set up, and a requirement to reduce energy costs and operational planning time, Kodak Alaris looked to flexibility as a smarter approach. David Jeans, Energy Manager for Kodak Alaris, explains how they worked with DONG Energy to implement a flexibility solution that cut resource time as well as energy costs.
Creating an operational strategy that uses our generation and consumption assets in the most efficient way can be a time-consuming process, often requiring manual data entry and complicated calculations. For pragmatic reasons, we were having to use broad averages rather than accurate half-hourly market information. A practical, low-cost solution was needed to help us respond to market information more effectively.
When I heard about DONG Energy’s approach to optimising site operations at a seminar it was a real ‘light-bulb’ moment. Their solution is unique – I’d never come across anything like it before, but it was the perfect fit for our needs. The software they’ve developed is cutting-edge. It’s cloud-based and uses algorithms to calculate the optimal run schedule for an operating plant. To do this, it analyses market signals in relation to operating constraints and asset availability. We enter plant information through the web portal, which is then automatically analysed to produce our optimum daily run schedule, detailing the commercially optimal way to operate equipment, schedule production, and generate electricity on-site or export to the grid. I’m able to take the information directly from the interface, print it out and hand it to our operational staff in our morning production meeting. Everyone finds it really easy to use as the solutions are always practical. It’s a very different plant now. Previously, we’d have a plan for the week that didn’t change all week because it was built on averages. Now we have a plan that changes from hour to hour and that really optimises what the plant is doing each day.
Accessing the right support
I have weekly calls with our Account Manager at DONG Energy to make sure we’re getting what we need from the solution. We also get to speak directly to the technical people who built the system, so they really know how it works and can quickly resolve any problems. From the word go, it’s been a collaborative experience and we’ve been able to establish great relationships with the technical support team at DONG Energy, both in London and in Denmark. Their expertise complements ours and they were extremely quick to understand the complexities of our site and what we were looking to achieve.
Through working with DONG Energy, we have been able to take full advantage of our site’s flexibility capabilities and have followed the system’s recommended run schedules to within 3%. As well as boosting resource savings through a reduction in daily planning time, we have optimised operational performance which has led to an 11% saving in energy costs.
I would definitely recommend flexibility solutions to other businesses which work similarly to ours. From a business perspective, the savings you can achieve using simple tools and techniques make it a no-brainer.