Lessons in Taking Advice – and Running with It!

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) use a lot of electricity. The City of London (the City) owns and contracts out the operation of a two-stream Regional MRF to process approximately 35,000 tonnes of Blue Box recyclables annually for itself and 8 neighbouring municipalities.

London MRF
London MRF

In reviewing electricity costs with London Hydro, city staff noted that a recurring power factor below 90% was resulting in costly penalties. Power factor is a measure of energy consumed divided by the energy provided to meet peak demands. London Hydro advised the City that installation of a corrective capacitor within the MRF’s electric distribution system would improve the power factor and eliminate costly penalties.

Eliminating penalties by installing a corrective capacitor
Working with London Hydro and a local contractor, city staff identified a capacitor that would improve the power factor to eliminate penalties and fit with the needs of the City’s MRF.

Capacitor Bank
Capacitor Bank

The City purchased and installed a 225 kVar non-scalable capacitor in August, 2015 at a total cost of $9,800 plus tax. The installation did not result in any equipment downtime as the installation was able to be completed outside of normal operating hours.

Electrical analysis
City staff monitored electrical billings for a period of six months prior to and following installation of the capacitor. The power factor at the MRF was maintained at >90% every month following the installation.

Cost analysis
The electrical demand/delivery charges for the pre installation period averaged ~$4,641/month. This dropped to ~$3,748/month following capacitor installation, resulting in ~20% savings at $892/month.

Charts: Pre versus Post-Installation Electrical Performance and Costslondon-charts

Working with contractors & service providers really pays off
Since installing its capacitor, the London MRF’s power factor has consistently exceeded the critical 90% threshold with decreases in electrical demand and delivery charges that contribute to savings of an estimated $10,700/year.

With these results, the City can achieve a payback period of less than one year on the capacitor installation. This project illustrates just one of many situations where a simple conversation with your service providers can result in meaningful changes that strengthen your program and save money.

Find out about this project
View the project report – report to be posted soon to the projects page (#856)

Thinking of making a change?
Projects that generate savings remain a key priority of the CIF’s 2016 Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI). If you are considering a MRF upgrade we invite you to contact CIF staff to discuss your project ideas and how they might fit with the objectives of this year’s REOI.

For more information contact: CIF Staff