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The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize action and partnerships focused on sustainably meeting the increasing energy requirements of businesses and society. The initiative has set three primary objectives, to be met by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
This report looks at the industrial manufacturing industry and identifies five priority actions it can take to reduce its energy use while simultaneously driving high performance.
Industrial energy use accounts for nearly one-third of global energy consumption, over half of it by the United States, Western Europe and China. Although emerging economies have seen significant growth in energy consumption related to industrial processes and operations, developed countries have not. For example, the United States’ industrial energy consumption has been declining steadily over the past 15 years.
It is important to identify the energy consumption of key industrial manufacturing processes. While processes vary greatly by company, location, and products, the International Energy Agency has produced global estimates of the energy consumption breakdown. Approximately 15 percent of energy is consumed for feedstock, 20 percent for process energy, 15 percent for motor drive systems at 100-400°C, 15 percent for low-temperature heat, and the remainder for other uses such as lighting and transportation.
Increasing competition for energy and the importance of cost minimization have made sustainable energy initiatives a growing trend within the industrial manufacturing industry. In a survey released in February 2010 by Automation World, nearly 80 percent of respondents reported that ‘green manufacturing’ is important, while 60 percent already have initiatives in place.
Industrial manufacturing companies have the opportunity to increase business value from energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, while also advancing the objectives of Sustainable Energy for All. Combining heat and power is an effective energy-efficiency measure that can result in considerable cost savings for companies with heat-intensive manufacturing processes. On-site renewable energy generation can drive value related to brand enhancement and risk management as it can be a hedge against the price volatility of traditional energy sources. In addition, manufacturers can achieve savings by making motor-based process energy functions more efficient. While non-process energy savings such as lighting and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning retrofits can also make an impact, process energy savings are far greater.
At the core of process energy functions is the electric motor, which powers pumps, fans, compressors, refrigerators, material processors, and a variety of other machines used in manufacture. By improving the energy efficiency of motors, industrial manufacturers can achieve significant savings. Depending on the type of company, electric motor systems can account for approximately 60 percent to 70 percent of industrial electricity consumption.
The industrial manufacturing industry can take five priority actions to become more energy efficient and to advance its business opportunities in the sustainable energy market
Increase use of combined heat and power and distributed renewable power generation at manufacturing facilities.
Improve the energy efficiency of operational processes.
Incorporate more energy-efficient design into core product streams, and explore the practical use of new and emerging technologies.
Empower employees to cut energy consumption through behavioral changes and continuous improvement programs.
Increase cross-industry collaboration and partner with academic institutions and policy makers to drive innovation and technological breakthroughs.
October 2, 2012
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