Chrysler BelvidereUS – The assembly plant received the cheque from its natural gas supplier, Nicor Gas, after three energy-saving projects resulted in a reduction of 2.5m therms per annum.

Zachary Leroux, head of assembly operations at Chrysler, commented that Nicor’s Energy Efficiency Program “provides meaningful incentives for business to reduce gas consumption through investments in new technologies and systems”. Combined with the OEM’s World Class Manufacturing system, he said the resultant energy-saving solutions “will pay dividends for years to come”.

One of the projects at Belvidere involved the installation of a system called Cascade Air which enables heated air to be used in more than one location in the plant, supplementing cold air from outside that requires energy use. This project saved $400,000.

A second project saw the installation of 34 variable frequency drive motors on direct gas-fired air handling units, enabling proportional speeds to reduce the volume of heated air supplied to the plant – generating a $323,000 rebate.

Thirdly, Chrysler used the $500,000 incentive from Nicor to defray costs on a $1.3m project to upgrade hardware and install new software to connect and control 25 air supply units, plus general and process exhaust fans. The integrated Energy Management System improves the air balance in the plant and reduces natural gas use.

Overall, Belvidere has achieved the following year-on-year reductions in its environmental impact: 12.7% water; 5.6% waste; and 9.5% total energy consumption (both natural gas and electricity).