Energy consumption in downstream businesses may take up to 50% of the operational costs. In view of the emission targets set by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change of November 2016, minimising fossil fuel firing in downstream unit operations is of the utmost importance. Even mandatory change to imported fuels instead of using process residuals as fuel has to be considered. Alternative energy resources such as solar and wind power will have to be incorporated in the portfolio of the energy supply.
Especially in arid countries focus on (waste) water management and cooling system losses may contribute significantly to optimisation of the available (energy) resources.
Many companies have gone through Energy Efficiency Improvement programmes. However, for various reasons often initial expectations are not met or achievements erode:
On top this, initiative overload may block the availability of manpower and budget. A proper implementation sequence will minimise the required financial means to adequately address improvement opportunities; i.e. prioritisation and implementation planning has to be included as part of the management system.
The development of the Energy Efficiency Management Strategy would involve a review of the current energy practices, rating procedures against Industry tools and bench-marks and the subsequent development of a Site Energy Strategy. Typically, this will address the key areas outlined above. Site standards will be developed where none exist.
Most importantly, the management processes, mechanisms and responsibilities need to be established and defined.
Performance reporting, metrics and benchmarks plus the associated target setting and corrective action loops need to be developed. This then provides the correct foundation and discipline.
Depending on the extend of the programme and the existing design, low/no cost improvements may lead to 2-5% energy reduction. If redesign is included up to 25% energy use reduction may be a possibility. In refineries, examples exist of up to 50% reduction of fresh water intake.
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