Between energies

How energy management software controls digital processes in recycling

Remondis operates Europe’s largest industrial recycling management plant in Luenen. In order to monitor and evaluate the substance and energy flows from 1,500 meters, the company uses the energy management software IngSoft InterWatt. The software has been adapted to enable it to provide billing for around 50 energy properties.

In 2016, 782,214 metric tons of discarded electronic devices were collected in Germany while approximately 2 million metric tons of new devices entered the market. A lot of electronic waste is illegally dumped abroad, including in Africa, where it is poisoning both the environment and the people. The Lippewerk plant, which is Europe’s largest center for industrial recycling, shows that electronic waste can be recycled domestically in an environmentally viable way which also saves raw materials. The plant has the capacity to dismantle and segregate 100,000 metric tons of discarded electronic devices a year strictly according to material.

Remondis annually processes over 1 million metric tons of industrial waste on its 230 ha property, including electronic devices, used wood, biodegradable waste, gypsum and slag. The process closely involves around 35 companies, some of which form independent legal entities. Remondis Production supplies the operation with electricity, steam and other substances while also being responsible for sewage disposal. In addition, Remondis Production operates its own power plant which generates 337,000 MWh of electricity and steam per year. The company is therefore not only obligated to operate an energy management system in accordance wtih ISO 50001, but also to offset its onsite energy and material consumption.

In order to met the requirements set out in ISO 50001 and reliably manage the complexity of the massive volumes of data, Remondis needed a powerful energy management software with a clear program structure. IngSoft InterWatt has been in use since November 2017.

Energy management software has to fill a lot of roles

Energy provision is one of Remondis Production’s core activities. The company, like many other companies on site, can benefit from various tax reliefs and levies on energy – but only with valid ISO 50001 certification. Therefore, management had very clear expectations for a software solution: It should smoothly record consumption data, visualize energy consumption, establish energy performance indicators (EnPIs), adjust performance indicators to compensate for atmospheric conditions and bill end customers for energy supply.

IngSoft InterWatt fulfilled most of these requirements from day one. Remondis uses the energy management system to monitor around 50 energy properties, automatically recording data from over 1,500 counters, including steam, technical heat, electricity and sewage. As well as consumption data, the system also processes generation data (e.g.) pressurized air, steam, electricity and heat. In principle, the software evaluates recorded data while taking factors such as temperature, opening hours or the unit numbers produced into consideration. This data is then analyzed and visualized. IngSoft InterWatt offers operators around 150 interfaces for a wide range of possible data sources. New interfaces can be created on demand within a short space of time.

Customized billing function

In order to manage the entire billing process, IngSoft software specialists in Nuremberg have developed a tailor-made interface for Remondis’ ERP system (enterprise resource planning). In addition, the energy management software’s existing billing function has been expanded so that revision-proof receipts of cancellation can be created. One of IngSoft InterWatt’s important characteristics is its multi-level, multi-client capability, which is particularly relevant for energy service providers and suppliers, as well as larger organizations. Each client is provided with their own area, which other clients are unable to see at theirlevel. The system can be configured in such a way that basic data is maintained above the clients of a single level, and that users from the higher-level segment may also run via the subordinate clients.

Clear representation pays off

The software’s advantages quickly became noticeable. For one, it is easier to develop section-specific performance indicators, while energy controlling has a much stronger, direct impact on actual increases in energy efficiency. Data is processed in a clear and demand-oriented manner so that any deviations and problems can be detected and eliminated promptly. This was how Remondis discovered heating systems that were running in the summer because they had been incorrectly programmed. Thanks to the visualization feature offered by IngSoft InterWatt, the company was able to optimize several processes by adjusting lead and follow-up times.

“The IngSoft system provides us with a better overview of short-term changes in the load profile. This enables us to detect peak shaving possibilities at an early stage,” said Kai Erik Sattler, responsible for energy management at Remondis Production. He particularly appreciates the quick access to consumption data from various media and the simultaneous visualization of load profiles in various specific areas. Recycling energy data saves a great deal of time – previously, various systems for energy management according to ISO 50001 and energy billing were in use. Data was transferred manually by employees via various Excel lists. Today, the entire process is digitally mapped.

Good service completes the software

The management at Remondis placed as much value upon personal and professional customer support as they do upon high-performance energy management software. They wanted to be able to quickly and simply resolve potential problems. IngSoft’s support team is filled with German-speaking university graduates. They are not just software specialists but also possess in-depth knowledge and qualifications in energy management, which contributes to the rapid resolution of problems. IngSoft supports close cooperation with customers and an intensive exchange between employees and users with basic and expert training and an annual user conference.

Luftbild Lippewerk in Lünen

Remondis operates Europe’s largest industrial recycling management plant in Luenen. (Photo: Bernhard Fischer)