Chemical Makers Plug Better Energy Efficiency

Firms are striving to achieve increasingly ambitious goals.

By Seán Ottewell, Editor at Large

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Source: BASF.

The company then was able to claim $250,000 in rebates from the local utility, Silicon Valley Power (SVP), which provides financial incentives for energy saving measures. This helped Owens Corning achieve a 1.3-year payback on its efficiency investments.

The latest project involves a site-wide energy assessment of one of the company's fiberglass-insulation plants. Using DOE tools to evaluate fan, pumping, compressed air and process heating systems, improvements have been identified that will result in a 12% reduction in overall plant energy use. (More on this project can be found in the fall 2010 issue of DOE's Energy Matters,

For its part, Celanese, Dallas, Texas, says it met its 2010 targets for energy intensity, safety, GHGs and waste. So, the company has set new targets for 2015.

"We are expanding our strategic internal programs to reduce energy, GHGs and waste intensity while maintaining our strong economic position. We believe this demonstrates that significant environmental improvements are both achievable and compatible with the corporation's growth and financial performance," says CEO Dave Weidman.

The company's new goals include a 20% decrease in energy intensity, a 25% reduction in waste, and a 25% cut in air emissions from 2010 levels.

In November the company announced its intention to construct manufacturing facilities in China and the U.S. to utilize recently developed advanced technology for the production of ethanol. Celanese's route builds on the company's acetyl platform and integrates new technologies to produce ethanol using basic hydrocarbon feedstocks. A planned plant at Clear Lake, Texas, also will support continuing technology development efforts aimed at improving energy efficiency over the next several years (Figure 2).

Meanwhile W. R. Grace, Columbia, Md., ended 2010 with two awards for its energy efficiency efforts.

The company won an Energy Saver Award from the DOE for a 9% cut in total energy usage at its operations in Irondale, Ala., that make fireproofing materials. Employees improved overall pressure in the site's compressed air system, shut off pilot lights, and installed programmable thermostats on plant heaters and HVAC in the office areas and break rooms. The company expects to realize energy savings of 1,091 million BTU annually from these actions and related activities, primarily in electricity and gas usage. Grace already has recouped its investment in the energy savings equipment.

The ACC also recognized Grace with a Responsible Care Energy Efficiency Award for efforts at manufacturing operations in Lake Charles, La., and Baltimore, Md. Collectively, these two sites reduced natural gas and electricity usage by 122 billion BTUs — largely due to the optimization of equipment such as vacuum pumps and spray dryers.

"These actions will assist us in meeting our sustainability goal of reducing the energy intensity of our global operations by 20% per pound of production by 2017," comments William Corcoran, vice president, public and regulatory affairs.

As part of its energy and climate protection goals, BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, intends to cut its specific GHG emissions per metric ton of sales by 25%, and the energy efficiency of its production processes by 25% by 2020 compared to 2002.

"This is a very ambitious goal, but also a very important one. We see energy efficiency as the key to combining climate protection, conserving resources and achieving a competitive advantage," notes Ludwigshafen site director Dr. Harald Schwager.

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