Saving Energy in Cotton Gins
By Paul A. Funk, Ph.D.
USDA-Agricultural Research Service
Southwestern Cotton Ginning Research Laboratory
Mesilla Park, New Mexico
Energy costs represent 20% of the total cost of ginning; a national industry survey indicated electricity cost varied from $1.62 to $21.58 per bale processed, and fuel costs from $0.23 to $9.07 per bale; these disparities indicate opportunity for improvement and the need to identify best practices that other facilities can emulate. This presentation will help cotton gin owners, managers and operators in the US cotton belt understand the key steps to take to reduce energy consumption. Because pneumatic conveying represents half of the electrical energy used by a typical gin, recommendations focus on sealing leaks in air ducts, minimizing turbulence before and after fans, reducing pressure drops by simplifying flow paths, and using mechanical conveyors where practical. Fuel consumption can be reduced by insulating the hottest ducts, minimizing the distance between burners and cotton pickup points, and adding automatic controls with temperature sensing in recommended locations. Environmental stewardship and economic sustainability are both served through improved energy utilization.