Energy efficiency is the world’s first fuel and the main route to net-zero (part 1/2)
The market trend in manufacturers, who have no control over the energy market prices, but still need a lot of energy to run the production, is evolving towards the digitalization and automation of industrial processes.
This comes from the urgency to keep resources costs under budget control, so as to make production controllable and more efficient.
In the automatized industry, humans can’t tweak resources manually. They need a new level of automation from A.I. that makes decisions, based on actual industrial setting and consumption metering.
At BeChained, we designed technology and processes to make it “set it and forget it”. In steel manufacturing, we proved to achieve a result of a 19% improvement in performance, and a generated ROI of 25%.
That improvement directly impacts energy costs and carbon offsetting spend: we help decision makers to plan and drive cost-effective scheduling.
As we start working on ancillary services, the models can be extended across different industries, having in common water management, compressor, exhaust, thermal processes to run production.
Finally, the consumption reduction impacts on carbon tracking and insetting, throughout the supply chain. At BeChained, we control the carbon accounting from the source, without 3PL certification, with a blockchain backend to store information.
Today, two-thirds of the total prime energy in the world goes to waste, including through power generation, transportation, industry and buildings” explained B. Rosengren, CEO of ABB, an energy management worldwide leader multinational, who also added»We need to rethink industrial production, transportation and the way we live from a sustainability angle.
From paper maker operations to the chemical or food processing industry, all have already started the journey to electrification, to reach carbon neutral paper, e-mobility, and smarter, more energy-efficient, buildings.
In the last decade, two fundamental aspects have gained impressive importance in manufacturing: energy efficiency and digitalization. Industries are increasingly demanded to become greener and, at the same time, the process of becoming more connected and automate the monitoring of processes and of actual energy flows.
The good news is most of the technologies (i.e. smart meters; IIoT) already exist today. Besides new and efficient technologies, there is also a strong need for changing consumer choices and behaviors.
The IEA estimated that 55% of emissions reduction will be driven by consumer choices. To reach this level, the right incentives and regulation frameworks need to be in place.
Nevertheless, the real stimulus needs to come from inner vision to increase competitiveness:
- reducing energy and offset (carbon compensation) costs,
- making industrial processes more efficient,
- creating more sustainable products and “polishing” the brand awareness.
B. Rosengren also said that technology adoption pace is the challenge for efficiency:
There are about 300 million electric motors operating in the world today and only about 20% equipped with a variable speed drive that makes them more efficient
and he highlighted:
By adding these drives to the rest of these motors worldwide, we could save 10% of the electricity in the world, we’re talking about a really huge number just to drive that efficiency
Despite industrial smart energy meters appearing around ten years ago, the awareness of energy efficient in manufacturing systems has not been considered with the appropriate attention, until when the energy market showed unknown spikes and shocked the consumers.
Uncertainty scenarios have come from signals like:
- gas prices in Europe quadrupled (since H1 of 2022),
- wholesale electricity prices tripled,
- price volatility stressed investments in innovation and inefficient industrial fleet replacement,
- the Ukrainian war exacerbated market trends.
Intensive energy consumers, i.e. industrial manufacturers, have neither control over the market prices, nor over the effects of market volatility. This is highlighted by increasing injection of renewable energy, not coupled with storage nor with a flexible (and controlled) demand.
The lack of metering deployment hinders the real time control of consumption.
New sourcing trends require low emission or carbon-neutral products (i.e. water bottles, food, tissue paper and carton board for packaging). So, market competition will play a key role around more sustainable goods and industrial products.