Wil Sillen's post

These 10 steps will reduce industry CO2 emissions by a third by 2030
By: Kaz Schonebeek
Reducing CO2 emissions from industry means fundamentally changing all kinds of production processes. But there is also low-hanging fruit. The Energy Efficiency Movement calculated that ten energy saving measures could result in a huge reduction in global industrial CO2 emissions.
By taking ten measures to reduce energy consumption, global industry can reduce a third of its own CO2 emissions by 2030. These measures also significantly reduce energy bills: the industry could save $437 billion annually. This is stated in a report by the Energy Efficiency Movement, an initiative of machine manufacturer ABB.

Of course, the industry does not exist. Each sector has its own production processes and savings challenges. But broadly speaking, there are steps that a steel producer, chemical company or car manufacturer can take to save energy. We put them together.

1. Mapping usage
Before a company can save energy, it must first be clear where energy is used and where it leaks. Machines that are heavier than the production process requires, equipment that is on standby and suffers from overdue maintenance all contribute to wasting valuable energy. Before savings can be made, the pain points within a production process must be identified.
2. Scale well
Many industrial production lines have more capacity than is necessary in practice. Sometimes this has to do with peaks in production that are anticipated. But sometimes not at all and the size of production lines is mainly a result of how a company has grown over time. Better adjustment of machines, or even discontinuing entire production lines, can lead to significant energy savings.

3. Connecting machines to the internet
Connecting all parts of the production process to the Internet of Things is another big achievement that the industry can make. Major savings can be achieved by monitoring and coordinating production processes in real time. More detailed insight into production processes can also reduce maintenance costs and downtime. According to calculators such as McKinsey, this results in energy savings of 10 to 30 percent.

4. More efficient engines
Almost all machines are driven by motors, which account for two-thirds of the total energy consumption in industry. Motors can be found not only in primary production processes, but also in air conditioning units in buildings, for example. Replacing old and inefficient engines with newer and more efficient ones can therefore yield significant savings.
5. Variable controls
The amount of electricity that goes to a motor is a constant in many industrial processes. As a result, engines regularly run faster than strictly necessary for the workload. By installing speed controllers that allow variable speeds, motors can be used even more efficiently.

6. Electric vehicles
What applies to consumers on a small scale applies to the industry on a large scale. Replacing fossil vehicles with electric ones can yield huge savings on an industrial scale. It will just take a while before this is cost-efficient. Electrifying lighter vehicles such as passenger cars is already an investment that pays for itself. This is not yet the case for very heavy vehicles used in mining, for example.

7. Better maintain heat exchangers
Heat exchangers are used in all kinds of places in the industry. For example, to keep buildings at the right temperature, to freeze products or to cool data centers. But heat exchangers are often poorly maintained, which means they work much less efficiently. The Energy Efficiency Movement estimates that worldwide industry could save between $24 and $60 billion annually just by paying closer attention to heat exchangers.

8. Switch to heat pumps
Before you can better maintain a heat exchanger, you must first have one. Using heat pumps to generate heat can lead to savings in many places in industrial production processes. It is possible to reach temperatures of up to 180 degrees Celsius with industrial heat pumps - more than enough to dry food, for example.
9. Smart buildings
Heating, ventilation and cooling account for approximately 40 percent of the energy use of commercial buildings. By connecting the building to a smart energy management system, total energy costs can be reduced by a quarter.

10. Data in the cloud
Storing data and managing applications places an increasing demand on electricity, including from industrial companies. Setting up data centers in an energy-efficient manner is highly specialized and time-consuming work. That is why the following applies to almost all companies: store data in the cloud. The economies of scale and energy efficiency that companies like Amazon and Google achieve are difficult for individual companies to match.


  • Gorffly mokua

    31 w

    100% shift to renewable energy sources is the best way out!

    • Rashid Kamau

      31 w

      @gorffly_mokua With no doubt,the shift is essential.

    • Munene Mugambi

      31 w

      To reduce carbon emissions, we have to reduce carbon footprints by finding alternative power sources

      • Rashid Kamau

        31 w

        @munene_mugambi Absolutely! It's feasible to achieve the net zero emission target.

      Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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