Saving an automotive manufacturer €520,000 a year on their energy costs

Recovering waste energy rejected to the atmosphere

One of the world’s largest automotive companies contacted Operational Group to provide a turnkey solution to recover waste energy, cut energy costs, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their factory in Spain.

After a survey of the factory, Operational Group recommended
implementing heat recovery systems on the vehicle painting line’s thermal oxidisers.

By optimising systems, Operational Group would save the automotive company over €520,000 in energy costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 2,400 tonnes in just the first year.

Powering paint dryers and factory air conditioners with waste energy

The factory paints hundreds of vehicles every day through five painting lines, each with its own thermal oxidiser. The thermal oxidisers are crucial for treating evaporated solvents to prevent VOC’s and other chemicals from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Operational Group engineered a solution which captures, recovers, and reuses waste energy from the thermal oxidisers to heat the paint dryers and 19 process air conditioning units.

The solution links the thermal oxidiser exhaust stacks with the air
conditioning units and the dryers. These optimisations result in a surplus of energy during the day, so an energy accumulator stores the excess energy, which is then used for night production or at other peak times. 


The General Manager of the Plant said, “we achieved the objectives initially set for Energy Savings along with a significant positive impact on the environment, whilst ensuring the required temperature stability in our drying cabinets and painting process.”


Energy cost savings

Natural gas – based on price of €40/MWh* = €520,000 per year

Reduction in CO2 emissions of ≈2400 tonnes/year & Carbon savings**: €192,000 per year

Total savings of €712,000 per year 

Return on Investment based on gas price of €40/MWh*
and CO2/Carbon savings = 1.4 years

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