The Y-12 National Security Complex recently received a U.S. Department of Energy Sustainability Award for Strategic Partnerships for Sustainability.
The Y-12 team was recognized for its efforts to improve efficiency, sustainability, and resiliency of the site through partnerships with other DOE contractors and private companies, a press release said.
Through its sustainability program, Y-12 said it is reducing greenhouse gases, minimizing waste, and improving waste treatment on a large scale.
The partnership efforts for which the team was recognized include Energy Savings Performance Contract implementation, including helping to reuse refrigerant, using additive manufacturing for unique part production, and implementing wastewater treatment process improvements.
“Y-12 is replacing outdated equipment with energy-efficient equipment that reduces the site’s energy and water use and does not use greenhouse gas-producing refrigerants,” the press release said. “Part of that effort involves the safe removal of refrigerants from the systems. Initially, those refrigerants were destined for a reclamation company, but the DOE’s Savannah River Site had a need for the material, and the plan was modified.”
Partnering with Johnson Controls Inc. and SRS, Y-12 was able to begin shipping cylinders of refrigerant to a vendor for reclamation and then to SRS for continued use. This transfer allows SRS to avoid the cost of purchasing this needed material, which is in addition to the documented cost avoidance of the ESPC work at Y-12.
This Y-12 ESPC initiative reduces power use by more than 10 million kilowatt-hours each year with an associated savings of almost $500,000 in electricity, the press release said. The project also reduces water consumption by more than 55 million gallons per year, with an associated savings of approximately $140,000.
In general, additive manufacturing minimizes waste by reducing the amount of scrap produced. When working with the U.S. Army at White Sands Missile Range, Y-12 took this advantage a step further by fabricating an irregular part with a crooked hole using limited material. Y-12 then machined the material exactly to specifications, working with tolerances of ±0.002 inches (about half the thickness of a dollar bill), the press release said.
Y-12 said it is also improving wastewater processing, including with upgrades to the West End Treatment Facility.
Since the late 1990s, wastewater had been captured in a holding tank that required treatment with large quantities of chemicals prior to safe release, the press release said. After treatment, 400,000-plus-gallon batches were discharged to East Fork Poplar Creek.
“Reducing both the quantity of chemicals and the flow of discharge was the preferable situation,” the press release said. “LATA Atkins Technical Service Inc. (LATS) and Y-12 collaborated to complete requested upgrades to the treatment system, including allowing in-line pH adjustments using fewer chemicals along with direct discharge. This upgrade also eliminated obsolete equipment.”
“Working with partners such as Johnson Controls, LATS, the U.S. Army, and the Savannah River Site allowed us to realize cost savings and improve sustainability and site resilience,” said Jan Jackson, Y-12 Sustainability and Stewardship manager. “Strategic partnerships expand our vision and provide the best result for the environment.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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