New ways of managing energy can help reduce the intensity of energy use in industry. Changing - and reducing - inputs and waste can also be important
Using energy and other materials more efficiently within industry - reducing energy input, capturing energy that is otherwise dissipated as waste at the end of industrial processes and identifying new materials that can reduce the carbon intensiveness of production - is a win/win solution as it can lower costs and emissions at the same time. Despite this, there has been remarkably slow - and declining - progress in this area.
Different geographical areas demonstrate differs levels of efficiency (unit of output per unit of energy used) with the US lagging Europe and much of Asia.
The Covid pandemic has accelerated the trend towards digitisation which should have a positive impact on energy efficiency.
Other key drivers - many of which link with are:
- the deployment of CCS technology
- installation of digital energy management systems
- electrification using (on site) renewable power sources and incorporation of biomass
- process improvements and new materials (for example in cement clinker)
- more circularity.
There is clearly much overlap with the other technology areas discussed in this website.
An exemplar of this approach is the zero carbon electrical components factory run by ABB in Germany. This comprises on-site solar generation and co-generation (of heat and power), battery energy storage and a scalable digital energy management system.