Business opportunity offers another persuasive argument for greater efficiency, according to Blake Schomas, who has conducted about 200 water balance assessments as the global manager and developer of Ecolab's Total Plant Assessment program.
One good example is his experience of working with a chicken processing plant, with the aim of reducing water consumption by 20 percent.
“Their key driver was, ‘We can’t produce more birds [sic] because there’s not enough water available to us,’” he recalled.
According to Mr. Schomas, a typical facility processes between 100,000 and 500,000 birds per day. With an average water use of about 4 gallons of water per bird, these facilities need about 2 million gallons to keep up with their production.
After conducting a total plant assessment, Mr. Schomas and his team were able to demonstrate how process changes would allow the company to process 28 million more chickens per year, “which is a lot of chickens,” he said.
“It’s sometimes difficult to justify spending capital to save water on a particular project if you’re just focused on the cost of water,” he said. “But if you can relate it to other costs that are also real [you can make the business case].”
And as Mr. Martinson points out, the companies that invest their capital the best are the ones who will win over the long-term.
Besides, it’s never hurts to learn more about your company’s operations, he said.
“There’s something to be said about understanding your process on a more fundamental, quantitative level. I don’t know how you put a dollar value on it but it’s very real,” he said. “And just going through the exercise of building a model really forces you to learn.”
Alejandro González d’Hyver de las Deses
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