8 new_NG fueled generators should reduce outside power purchases and improve reliability.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- July 6, 2012
Last spring Toyota and British Gas threw the switch on a 17,000 solar panel site that is expected to save the company an equivalent of 4.6 GWh – roughly the power needed to build 7,000 cars or just over 5% of the total at its Toyota Motor Manufacturing United Kingdom (TMUK) plant site in Burnaston. Today the company is prepping for something little more ambitious for their production facilities in Japan and soon the world.
Toyota plans to install eight additional cogeneration gas power generators this summer as it bids to reduce energy costs and further enhance electricity supply-and-demand efficiency at all TMC plants. In addition, the company is installing a new Toyota Total Demand Management (TTDM) system for further enhancing electricity supply-and-demand efficiency at all their production facilities. These measures will enable Toyota to reduce its electricity use by up to five percent.
Toyota’s most recent efforts to save electricity were surely the result of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami taking out a large percentage of the island nations electrical production capacity. The disaster forced many manufacturers to halt production for months with the resultant loss of production of everything from automobiles to wood products and everything in between.
According to the company, implementation of current programs have reduced peak power purchases by some 35 percent and a 45 percent reduction in total annual purchases of electricity in the fiscal year ended March 30, 2011 compared to the fiscal year ended March 30, 1996. In the current fiscal year, Toyota plans to achieve further reductions accounting for a 40 percent in peak power purchases and an overall lessening of electrical power purchases by an amazing 53 percent! Toyota is a lot larger company today than it was in 1996 too!
Toyota’s energy use-and-supply management efforts include the following:
- Development and implementation of energy-saving production technologies
Establish a production structure that is highly adaptive to changes in demand. Toyota is furthering development and implementation of advanced, energy-saving production technologies. Examples include simplification and slimming down of stamping processes through the introduction of high-efficiency servo presses and high-speed robots and making assembly and painting processes more compact, as part of an overall "Simple, Slim, Compact" initiative that has led to reduced electricity use.
- Introduction of highly efficient “on-site” power generators
Toyota has been introducing on-site electric-power cogeneration generators at its plants since the 70s. With the installation of eight new, state-of-the-art high-efficiency cogeneration gas power generators this year, Toyota’s on-site power generators (including diesel generators unfortunately) will enable its plants to be approximately 30 percent self-sufficient in electricity use. Control rooms at all main plants enable unified management of efficient power use and supply.
- Advancement of energy visualization
Toyota began introducing its Toyota Energy Management (TEM) system in 1995. The system now in operation at all of its plants uses measurements based on approximately 30,000 pieces of data to allow visual management of daily energy use by each process within a plant. This helps identify instances of waste or instability in energy supply, allowing independent adjustments on a daily basis.
An evolution of TEM called the Toyota Total Demand Management (TTDM) is being introduces this month. The consolidated visual management system enables unified management of overall power supply and demand at all plants. TTDM shows the real-time status of electricity use by each plant and on-site power generation, helping it achieve targets set for curbing use of peak power and saving electricity.
- Daily improvement and just-in-time energy supply
Centered on six rules for saving energy, various improvement activities are carried out on a daily basis regarding the production processes at each TMC plant and the electricity required to operate the machines and other equipment. The activities help reduce the volume of electricity used and enable just-in-time energy supply.
The six rules are:
- Stop using -- Sitch to mechanical devices and other production equipment that uses as little motive power as possible
- Turn off -- Turn off equipment when not being used for production
- Fix -- Quickly repair malfunctioning equipment that can cause energy waste
- Reduce the total energy to only that needed for each process
- Gather -- Collect energy that is usually discarded, mostly heat, and use it efficiently (Co-Gen here)
- Change or switch to low-cost and stable forms of energy. On-site production via NG is but one example.
To further reduce electricity use, Toyota intends to broaden its energy-management activities to include implementation at production bases outside Japan
The company also intends to pursue new energy-management systems that center on individual plants. These include the first implementation of the F-Grid Concept project aimed at realizing a "smart community", with the Second North Sendai Central Industrial Area playing a central role, and the Smart Factory initiative now underway at Kitakyushu Plant of Toyoda Gosei, Co., Ltd.
All told, it is not just power savings but company survival given what Japan Inc. went through during the natural disasters. Adding to the bottom line while increasing reliability is a good thing and other Asian, North American, European and Australian plants are sure to follow.