Recently, a team consisting of six engineering students from the Oregon State University Industrial Assessment Center, also known as the Energy Efficiency Center, performed an assessment for Frito Lay in Vancouver, WA. The team spent a day at the facility investigating different energy saving opportunities: such as installing insulation, recovering heat from the ovens and fryers, as well as increasing the cleanliness of their wastewater.

The Industrial Assessment Centers are located at accredited engineering schools across 29 universities around the country and are funded by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. Their primary function is to send teams of faculty and students to nearby small to medium sized industrial facilities and provide a full day assessment of the facilities energy use, productivity, and waste management systems. The service is provided at no cost to the facility, and the student team gain invaluable experience in a real industrial engineering context.

As a result of the analysis, the team concluded the report with six energy and money saving recommendations that have the potential to create over 300 thousand dollars in savings for the facility, including over 32 thousand MMBtus of natural gas, and greatly reducing the amount of particulates found in their waste water.

The assessment was led by Matthew Thomas, a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering, who reported “working with Frito Lay for this project was a pleasure. The facility was very cooperative during the assessment and showed a strong interest in reducing their energy footprint. The staff already had some ideas of their own in mind and it provided a strong foundation to work on." The recommendations identified by the team were discussed on the assessment day and implementation of these new energy saving practices can be expected.