Lowering Energy Consumption in the Process Industry with Ultrasound

The process industry is responsible for a large portion of the world’s CO2 emissions, and the possibility to reduce the energy consumption and consequently the emissions from different industries leads to a great positive environmental impact. Fouling in heat exchangers alone contributes to 1-2,5% of global co2 emissions. This blog post will dive into what buildup in industrial equipment, referred to as fouling, has to do with energy consumption, and how preventing and removing fouling efficiently can significantly lower energy consumption, costs, and environmental impact.

What does fouling have to do with energy consumption and emissions?


Fouling refers to buildup of unwanted material such as dirt, scale, suspended solids, insoluble salts and even algae on the internal surfaces of different industrial equipment, such as pipes, valves, and pumps. This buildup leads to higher energy consumption due to the blockages it causes in different equipment, preventing the efficient flow of liquids: more power is needed to push the liquid through a pipe if it’s partially blocked than when it is clean. More power is also required if heat transfer capabilities are reduced due to fouling on surfaces. For example, according to Motiva, inefficient heat transfer costs Finnish industry up to 500 million euros annually due to higher energy consumption, lost production and increased need for maintenance.

As more energy is required to keep the process going, emissions are also higher. In addition to this, cleaning methods such as chemicals also have their own CO2 emissions, and due to regular cleaning required by fouling, emissions from a single process can be quite high.

Globally, companies lose over 150 billion euros annually due to higher energy consumption and expenses, as well as production downtime for cleaning. Fortunately, solving fouling issues and enabling more efficient production is something we here at Altum excel at.

Enabling energy effiency and lower emissions with Altum’s ultrasound


Altum’s ZPD (Zero Process Downtime) solution utilizes high power ultrasound to efficiently remove and prevent fouling. This way our solution keeps equipment free from blockages and enables efficient flow of liquids and heat transfer.

Employing ultrasound technology to maintain optimal process flow can reduce reliance on additional energy required to sustain operations. This enhancement in energy efficiency leads to reduced energy usage, resulting in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Reducing emissions is a major way to battle climate change.

In terms of the energy economy, energy efficiency, and the environment, it’s important to note that even though our device is attached to a single piece of equipment, the effect reaches the entire factory. This means that the benefits are significant, and our solution improves the operation on a larger scale. Our solution brings substantial financial benefits: for example, in one of our black liquor cases, savings in energy cost exceeded 400 000 € per year and CO2 emissions were reduced by over 400 tons per year.

By creating change one company and process at a time, we can create huge positive environmental impact. Don’t hesitate to contact us and find out how we can reduce energy consumption in your process.

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