ENERGY COST COMPARISON -- CRYOGENICS
"vs" MECHANICAL FREEZING SYSTEMS
Most all of us are fully aware that the U.S. does not have an energy policy. Our political system and/or politicians cannot seem to arrive at a solution to the energy crisis. This obviously provides -the management of a food processing plant with a rather obvious dilemma, "How to plan for the future"? For decades the plant has been expending energy in lieu of capital. Management could have purchased the freezing system with the lowest capital cost and even though this system usually required an excessive amount of energy, it was a good buy because management could "expense" the energy costs. Our existing taxation system still promotes this type investment -- at the expense of our energy¨ resources. Somehow our country must find a way to regulate the use of energy by legislation or taxation in some equitable manner that will require the "user" to minimize the use of expendable energy - i.e., fossil fuels.
However, despite the absence of an energy policy the rapid escalation of electrical energy costs have provided management with a real incentive- to reduce energy usage.
In order to put these escalating energy costs into perspective let's take a look at 1970 costs vs. 1980 costs of both capital and energy for a specific food freezing system. Let's assume that in 1970 a customer bought an IQF. Fluidized Freezing System for 6000 pounds pet hour of fried onion rings. This system cost about $235,000 and requires 600 bhp for operation including all compression and ancillary equipment. The cost of electricity was about 1 cent/kW or lower in most areas at that time. At 1 cent/kW if this system operated 4000 hours the total yearly cost of energy was about $19,460 a year. Ten years later the same system would now cost $510,000. Electricity hag risen from 5 to 8 times. Assuming that electricity costs 5 cents/kW the operating cost for 4000 hours per year is $97,304. (Table 1).