Challenging re-consideration of economic fundamentals

Software developed by Gomel scientists helps save money and energy
By Pavel Drobov

Scientists from Gomel’s State Technical University have been assessing how best to help enterprises use energy efficiently, coming to the conclusion that using energy intensive machinery during night time cheaper tariffs could actually raise financial costs and increase energy consumption. 

Using their own Optima+ software, young scientists Andrey Ivaneichik, Andrey Kuzero and Alexander Kharkevich analysed the situation at Gomel’s Tsentrolit Foundry and at Mozyrsalt JSC. Their recommendation enhances the efficiency of consumption by 5 percent, while reducing energy costs by 12 percent and cutting fuel consumption by over 5 percent.

“We’ve even developed a timetable for companies, stipulating specific times for particular equipment,” explains the Director of Gomel’s Pavel Sukhoi State Technical University’s Institute for Qualification Improvement and Re-training, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Yuri Kolesnik. “Of course, it would be a challenge to achieve the mentioned figures under real production conditions, when many unexpected factors emerge. However, it’s quite possible that we can come close — as the companies’ energy and technology specialists admit. Our recommendations cover large energy intensive enterprises operating under market conditions. The transition of energy intensive processes to night time would yield fruit, assuming a steady production cycle (as seen usually). Our enterprises are working hard to fulfil orders, relying on demand, supply and availability of raw materials. However, their pace of work varies so they don’t need to work 24/7. If we shift all energy intensive technologies to night time, taking advantage of lower tariffs, it may not have the desired result. We may do better to use less powerful machines during the day. We’re still considering the best strategy.”

The scientists hope to make their Optima+ software more widely known, including simplifying it for less experienced users. They could teach specialists how to use it effectively, supported by the Institute, and the software could more widely go on sale. They hope that the Soviet tradition of making plans based on past results won’t hamper the implementation of the innovation. A company may purchase the software, saving electricity and money, but could find its situation later changing, requiring its energy use to be reconsidered.
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