Alejandro Nava
Director General

Energy-Efficient Tech Should Benefit from CELs

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:21

The Mexican government has done a great job with the creation of CELs to benefit companies that contribute to clean energy generation, but authorities should also recognize the work of technology players whose job is not to generate power but to lower consumption, according to Genertronics Director General, Alejandro Nava.

These companies can help boost savings and energy efficiency and should also be awarded these certificates, Nava says. "We have been talking to different authorities about this because they need to consider this as well. We do not produce energy but we avoid the generation of energy that is going to produce CO2, so we should also be awarded CELs,” he says. “That is our main challenge so far, because everyone is looking at how to generate clean energy, not at the possibility of not needing it and becoming more efficient,” he adds.

The CELs, part of Mexico’s new wholesale energy market, will come online for trading in 2018. Monterreybased Genertronics devotes itself mostly to this task, via absorption chillers that play a pivotal role in industries ranging from airports, hospitals, hotels and petrochemicals to plastics and pharmaceuticals, employing waste heat from heavy-engine exhaust or steam, or also hot water from co-generation plants, to provide a dependable supply of chilled water for applications like air conditioning.

“We partner with power generators like Caterpillar, Cummins and Rolls-Royce to name a few, and all of them produce power and heat. We take their wasted heat and produce chilled water as they produce power,” Nava says. The technology Genertronics represents, mostly that of Chinese chiller manufacturer BROAD, can simultaneously produce hot water for other industrial applications.

“Many industries need heat and chilled water. Plastic injection is an example. We have a customer in Saltillo that makes soda-bottle caps. They inject plastic 24/7 at 160º C and then need to cool it down so the plastic solidifies,” Nava says. Initially the client produced chilled water with electric chillers, which created heavy power consumption. With Genertronics’ chillers, the cold water was “free.”

Worldwide, governments and companies are racing to reduce the amount of wasted heat thrown into the atmosphere in an effort to slow global warming. Genertronics’ solutions support this by putting that wasted heat to use and helping companies reduce their thermal footprint. The technology, offered in capacities from 60 to 3,500RT (tons of refrigeration), can bring about a faster return on investment the longer it stays on. “We have done projects for office buildings, where they turn on the air conditioning at 0700 hrs. and maybe they turn it off at 2000 hrs. The return on investment in those cases is seven, maybe eight years, and nobody is willing to do that in Mexico. In the case of hotels and hospitals, which run 24 hours a day, it is perfect.”

Hospitals like those belonging to the country’s Social Security Institute (IMSS) would make perfect customers for this technology which would help them generate great financial savings, Nava says. The giant New Mexico City International Airport (NAICM) under construction in the northeast of the country’s capital could also benefit from the system, in line with a similar implementation at Madrid's Barajas airport. One project that particularly showcases the company’s progress is a large Mexican producer of gases like oxygen, nitrogen and acetylene in the southern industrial port of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. “The idea was for them to produce their own energy and they selected a 40MW steam turbine. They produce steam to make their turbine move and with the residue from that we make 7,000RTs with two of BROAD’s largest chillers. We are very proud of that because they are not using electric power but available heat,” says Nave.

The savings in both costs and energy consumption generated by this technology, Nava says, should qualify for the kind of benefits awarded by the CELs, certificates equivalent to 1MWh generated from clean sources like solar or wind and which can be used to cover fines related to the ambitious government objective of reaching 35 percent of its energy production from clean sources by 2024.