Snowmaking System Design * Research & Development * Investigations * Energy Based Mountain Information
The Snowman Newsletter – Spring / Summer 2009
(The application of rational thought and science for demystifying the snowmaking process)
This year has certainly been challenging to all the ski industry and snowmakers in particular. The pressures of the economy along with the uncertainty of future energy pricing and availability are creating severe restrictions on the capital and expense budgets of most ski area operators. In this newsletter the Snowman will highlight low cost ways to resolve, manage and track your energy expenditures, while establishing key energy baselines for tracking current and future energy use. These options will immediately lower your current snowmaking energy use, manage future energy use and impact your maximum demand. Dare to read on about Energy Parasites and the new SEI (Snowmaking Energy Index) …
Snowmaking System Energy Parasites
Every snowmaking system has visible and hidden Energy Parasites that impact your total electrical demand in either very small or very large ways. An Energy Parasite can be a conscious operational decision, a system design feature, faulty equipment, improper system operation, above ground water bypass flows, etc. and it results in the non-productive use of energy. Duh! Of course, you are aware of all these parasites and live with them day in day out – they are a part of the snowmaking business. Or are they?
Depending upon the design, age of your snowmaking system and other known/unknown factors these energy parasites can amount to 5%, 10% and up to 20% of your annual snowmaking energy dollars. Do you really know where you stand? Or do you just assume you have them under control? Can you forecast how much they cost on daily or an annual basis?
For reference purposes in the Northeast, a small to midsize area (140 acres of snowmaking) with a mixed snow gun air-water system, will use approximately 2.5 million kWh and 42,500 gallons of fuel for diesel compressed air over a 800 hour operating period, while a larger area (460 acres of snowmaking) with mostly a fan gun system, will use approximately 10.2 million kWh over a 900 hour operating period. The snowmaking operations for both extend over a four-month period. The magnitude of these energy use totals demonstrates that any realized savings can yield significant dollars.
The Snowman, with your help and cooperation, will document and identify all the major energy parasites that reside in your snowmaking system. We will show you how to track, correct and modify the more important parasites (we assume that you do have a computer control data tracking system). The typical paybacks (ROI) for these system solutions are well under a year and more significantly, energy use of snowmaking system components can be individually tracked and reduced. Other more extensive modifications will have a longer ROI and can be phased in.
SEI – the Snowmaking Energy Index
In conjunction with the above service the Snowman offers the newly minted SEI - Snowmaking Energy Index. The SEI methodology has been developed to demystify the total and individual energy costs of snowmaking system operation including the Energy Parasites. The SEI is a total snowmaking system energy value comprised of actual information that flows into your computer data tracking system. The SEI value will vary with the actual snowmaking productivity of your system on a wet bulb temperature basis. This index can be applied to your Energy Parasites on an individual or total snowmaking system basis providing the astute manager a clear energy use and cost picture. Changes/upgrades to your system’s snowmaking equipment will be reflected in the Snowmaking Energy Index allowing a direct comparison to past operations.
In a more global approach and as a major breakthrough, a normalized SEI will allow a direct comparison to other snowmaking systems that use this methodology. This will allow a multi area operation to directly compare the efficacy and operation of individual snowmaking systems. This methodology is valid for all individual and/or mixtures of snowmaking equipment.
Some changes and modifications may be required to your snowmaking computer system and instrumentation in order to track and store the information that is used for the SEI.
Mountain View Technologies, Inc. and the Snowman have provided innovative, practical and technology-based solutions for 25 years. Let our experience and expertise work for you and your area in providing solid management tools that can create a positive impact on your snowmaking energy demand and operational costs.
Contact us for a friendly discussion about Energy Parasites and the Snowmaking Energy Index.