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Hot take: Why aren’t Indian laundries recapturing heat?

by Clean India Journal Editor
0 comment

During the laundry process, a significant amount of energy is discharged as unused energy into the environment, which is an unnecessary operational cost for a laundry. This energy can be recovered and recycled into laundry machines in the form of hot air or hot water. Heat exchanger devices dehumidify moist air discharged from laundry machines and recirculate the dry heat into the laundry setup.

As industries and corporations hold their service partners accountable for their own ESG goals, laundry service providers too will have to pull up their socks if they wish to keep with the times, by optimising and rationalising the energy required for heat generation in the laundry cycle.

While the technology for this exists, its adoption in India has been slow to take off. There are only a few Indian companies that have plant-based operations and can recapture heat on a large scale.

Four industry experts spoke to Clean India Journal about the existing situation, why more industry players need to jump onto the heat recapture bandwagon, why investing in heat recapture solutions is financially prudent and more.

Yogesh K Kandhari,

Founder & CEO, Laundry Dryclean Finishing Solutions

Barely 10% of Indian laundries use heat recapture in their units to save energy and money. 20% are unaware of its overall long-term benefits, while the remaining 70% are aware but do not apply it to their own businesses. It may appear good on paper, but it does not make sense economically for them to take a pause in their operations for the installation of the heat recapture equipment to be done, as business would suffer.

 


Anand Dubey

Acting Country Manager, India, Nepal & Bhutan, Alliance Laundry

Solution providers are usually the partners who install heat exchangers. We can only provide them with specific guidelines to help them install and achieve better results. The success of this technique depends on who installs these heat exchangers in India.

 

 


Abhra Rajib Banerjee,

President & CEO, Cleanomatics

People all over the world use heat exchangers and a variety of techniques to recapture heat. When international companies set up shop in India, they bring this technology with them and implement it in their factories. It is used only by large-scale, organised laundries. There are only sporadic and unorganised attempts to recapture heat.

However, technology in the form of heat exchangers, which are in high demand, is readily available. People who are aware of this process of recapturing heat use a variety of methods to incorporate it into their setups.

The initial capital cost varies depending on the size of the plant. It is determined by how heat is used in various areas of the laundry. However, you will save a significant amount of electricity over time. If you perform a proper break-even analysis of how long it will take to recover your initial investment, it will take approximately 36 months to recover the entire investment you made in the beginning in terms of savings.

Heat recapture is a straightforward technology. However, one must be enthusiastic about sustainability to adopt it.

 


Maxie Lewis,

Founder & Managing Director, Surekleen Services Pvt. Ltd.

Heat recovery is most effective when done early on. However, because heat recovery has a lot of ramifications, and the capital cost is quite high, people are hesitant to invest in it. However, if you consider the cost per kg of recovery and getting your money back, you will be able to recover your investment within two years at most.

For us, heat is a significant expense; so is steam. Many people do not consider how steam should be recaptured when designing their laundries because steam is generated far away from the main area. For steam to be reused in dryers or flat work ironers as much as possible, it must be generated close to the heat exchanger. This way, you will not lose a lot of steam or experience a drop in pressure.

I believe launderers must be educated enough to understand their costs in various areas and departments. They, like the operator personnel, must be knowledgeable. Heat recapture experts will know how to install the technology, but the launderer must provide good inputs on where it should be placed and what it should do. This could save on heating costs. When it comes to recovering condensed heat, as well as recovering hot air, caution must be exercised.

 

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