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Chrysler plant cut energy use, got $1mm

by David Zatz on

Nicor Gas gave Chrysler’s Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois a rebate check for $1.3 million, the result of savings from three projects and the largest incentive ever awarded by Nicor for energy efficiency.  Chrysler’s Head of Assembly Operations, Zachary Leroux, and Belvidere Plant Manager Eric Schimmel accepted the check.

Belvidere's Millionth

he leadership team at Chrysler’s Belvidere Assembly Plant celebrates the production of a Jeep Patriot, the one-millionth compact vehicle currently being produced at the plant on July 28th, 2010. Chrysler also manufactures the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass at this plant. The one-millionth vehicle is to be delivered to a customer in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program gives rebates to customers who install qualifying natural-gas-saving products, and to pre-approved customers who develop customized natural gas reduction projects.

Belvidere’s three energy conservation projects will save nearly 2.5 million therms — roughly the energy used in 1,000 homes — per year. They are:

  • Cascade Air, which reuses heated air rather than using natural gas to continually heat cold outside air. The rebate for this project was $400,000.
  • Installing 34 variable frequency drive motors on direct gas-fired air handling units; rather than being off or fully on, these motors can operate at whatever speed is needed, to reduce the volume of heated air used by the plant. This project generated a $323,000 rebate.
  • Finally, Chrysler used the $500,000 incentive from Nicor towards a $1.3 million project to upgrade hardware and install new software to connect and control 25 air supply units and various exhaust fans, to create an integrated control system which provides a plant-wide air balance, along with non-production heating setbacks.

Nicor provided a 30% bonus on two projects that were identified in a Nicor assessment.

Belvidere Assembly also cut water use by 13%, reduced waste by 6%, and cut total energy consumption (including electricity) by 9.5%.  The plant makes the Dodge Dart, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot; in 2013, the plant built more than 325,000 vehicles with nearly 4,500 employees, working two 10-hour shifts, six days per week.

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