Electricity production and industrial production for raw materials and finished goods together account for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) across the United States, with carbon dioxide accounting for most of these emissions.
Many industrial processes emit CO2, including fossil fuel consumption and chemical reactions that don’t involve combustion. For example, the production of mineral products such as cement, metals such as iron and steel, and chemicals contribute significantly to GHG emissions each year. These same industrial processes also include indirect emissions from the electricity the industrial facilities use during operations.
Since many industrial activities cause GHG emissions, there are also many opportunities to reduce them. Here are five ways technology, maintenance, and other eco-conscious activities can reduce your plant’s carbon footprint!
Energy Efficiency through Equipment Retrofits
Higher efficiency means that your equipment needs less fuel for the same output – ultimately resulting in fewer carbon emissions. By enacting a plant-wide equipment review and improvement program, you can find ways to significantly increase efficiency without making substantial changes to your plant.
Take a coal plant, for example. Any coal plant completed in the last decade is more efficient than older plants, but most operating plants have been around for more than ten years. Like with any industrial facility, operational efficiency will decrease after several years if no changes are made.
Here is where retrofits, additions of new technology or features to older systems, become increasingly valuable. Retrofits have the potential to not only stop the decline in performance and efficiency but reverse it – resulting in net gains for the plant.
Your plant can also reduce carbon output by keeping flue gas equipment airtight.
In many plants, steel ducts and casing become corroded. This creates holes, allowing ambient air to enter the system, increasing the gas volume, which has to be moved by the plant fan. The plant fan requires more horsepower to operate when this happens, consuming more fuel and causing a larger carbon footprint. Our experts can patch and repair ducts to keep them airtight for long-term savings in power consumption and carbon emissions. Contact us today to learn more!
When talking with our clients about carbon reduction and efficiency services for their plants, we often find opportunities for fan upgrades. Fan upgrades are an overlooked alternative to significantly reduce energy costs for most facilities. Electricity expenses are considerable for industrial equipment, and the right fans can substantially lower your energy costs. Our team has years of experience with fan performance testing and draft system analysis to determine the effectiveness of your current fan design. We calculate things like horsepower, volumetric flow, and static pressure that help us develop recommendations to increase operational efficiency. . We provide you with all the data and insights we receive, valuable for many applications! These fan upgrades can reduce plant costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars and often provide a positive ROI in less than two years.
Utilizing Recyclable Materials
Every industry creates varying types of reusable and recyclable materials. Recycling lessens the producer’s demand for raw materials, conserves energy by decreasing the number of products manufactured through high energy demand processes, and saves companies in materials cost. In industrial production, recycling is also known as “beneficial reuse.”
Coal combustion products (CCPs) are one category of recyclable materials. Materials such as fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and flue gas material (FGD) can act as a substitute for gypsum, gravel, or sand in building materials. Read more about coal reuse here! Foundry sands produced by aluminum, steel, and iron foundries can be reused several times without losing its effectiveness.
Plants can also use scrap steel and aluminum instead of forging new steel or smelting new aluminum. Both steel and aluminum can be recycled infinitely, with little to no loss in quality. Not only do these materials guarantee quality, but they also offer significant energy and cost savings while reducing industrial waste.
Training and Awareness
Make your team aware of your corporate goals for reducing GHG emissions and the steps you plan to take to reach these goals. Not only will they be better equipped to play their role in these changes, but these initiatives frequently promote workplace pride and increase employee morale.
Your in-house maintenance team will also play a significant role in these initiatives. Their ability to monitor and maintain equipment will help increase operational efficiency and identify areas where your plant can take action.
Contact the Industrial Efficiency Experts at ProcessBarron
We know how vital carbon reduction strategies are for your plant and the future of industry. Our team of experts is committed to helping you find solutions for long-term success that also save your plant time and money. Learn more about our maintenance services, or contact us to learn about our Industrial Efficiency Program!