10 April 2007 23:55 [Source: ICIS news]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a multi-industry energy consumption study, noting that 12 key US manufacturing sectors account for 85% of the nation’s energy use and that improved efficiencies in those segments could produce significant power savings.
EPA administrator Stephen Johnson said the report highlights areas in which each industry can realise energy savings and also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
“Based on the insights from this report, EPA will now work with industry partners to explore the best ways to improve energy and environmental outcomes in each sector,” Johnson said.
For the chemicals industry, the agency said that on a business-as-usual basis, energy consumption is expected to increase by 13% between this year and 2020. The EPA report said that wider use of cogeneration and other combined heat and power systems in the chemicals sector instead could help reduce the industry’s energy consumption by 3.5% over the same period.
“Currently, 51% of natural gas inputs for boiler fuel are consumed in CHP [combined heat and power]/cogeneration processes, and 49% is consumed in conventional boilers,” the report said.
“An optimal energy scenario increases the magnitude of the CHP fraction at the expense of the conventional boiler fraction, boosting energy efficiency,” the report said. Increased cogeneration capacity, the agency said, also would reduce purchased electricity consumption in chemicals manufacturing.
However, the agency noted that the addition of new combined heat and power units can face barriers in utility rates and interconnection requirements in cases where electricity production exceeds on-site demand. These additions also face environmental permitting issues and cost factors, the agency added.
Chemical industry officials were not immediately available on Tuesday to comment on the agency’s proposed energy-saving plans for the sector.
In addition to chemicals, the new EPA energy efficiency report covers such major manufacturing sectors as cement, food production, forest products, iron and steel, metal casting, motor vehicles and parts production, refining and shipbuilding.
The full text of the EPA study, “Energy Trends in Selected Manufacturing Sectors”, can be obtained from the agency’s Web site.
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