To supplement my recently published ICIS Chemical Business article about energy efficiency technologies within the chemical industry, here's a recent report from McKinsey & Company on how the US, by 2020, could potentially save $1.2 trillion in non-transportation energy costs and cut energy consumption by 23%.
Strategies needed to implement energy savings include:
- Recognize energy efficiency as an important energy resource that can help meet future energy needs while the nation concurrently develops new no- and low-carbon energy sources
- Formulate and launch at both national and regional levels an integrated portfolio of proven, piloted, and emerging approaches to unlock the full potential of energy efficiency
- Identify methods to provide the significant upfront funding required by any plan to capture energy efficiency
- Forge greater alignment between utilities, regulators, government agencies, manufacturers, and energy consumers
- Foster innovation in the development and deployment of next-generation energy efficiency technologies to ensure ongoing productivity gains.
McKinsey also added that the reduction in energy use would result in the abatement of 1.1 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually - the equivalent of taking the entire U.S. fleet of passenger vehicles and light trucks off the roads.
Unfortunately, one of the big barriers in achieving these savings is that implementation will be expensive. At the residential level and commercial levels, home and business owners may not feel like spending on energy-efficient appliances/equipments or paying anything on efficiency improvements.
McKinsey suggested information and education, incentives and financing, standards and mandates, and third-party involvement could provide some solutions to these barriers.
Other recent announcements and studies on energy efficiency below:
1. Various energy efficiency reports from the National Academy of Engineering's The Bridge journal (including a study of energy efficiency in China).
2. Low power design site aids green engineering.
3. Eka Chemicals Plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Canada, was the first to demonstrate GE's new smart grid solution for asset optimization to help reduce transformer-caused downtime in the plant.
4. Bayer MaterialScience's Impact technology was able to eliminate 75 million pounds of wastewater and reduce 80% in energy consumption at the company's polyol production plant in Channelview, Texas.5. Researchers from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology have developed a new method for creating high-performance membranes from crystal sieves, called zeolites. The method could significantly increase the energy efficiency of chemical separations over conventional methods and enable higher production rates.