The need for enhanced energy efficiency is perhaps one of the most popular topics across industries today. As they say, numbers never lie. The Global-Energy-Assessment of 2012 showed that we waste up to 66% of the energy we produce. Another area we can easily agree is that some industries are more energy intensive. For these industries, increasing energy efficiency should be an indisputable number one priority. A crucial step towards this achievement is to identify the top industries with highest energy wasted and to outline the areas where this wastage takes place.
1. Oil And Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry is broad, comprising of the upstream industry, the midstream industry and the downstream industry. It is a long chain that could also be referred to as the petroleum industry. When you add lubricant to your car, you are at the end of the chain of activities that started with natural gas and crude oil.
Fig 1: Oil and Gas Extraction
Owing to this long chain and nature of the industry, this is undoubtedly one of the most energy consuming. Energy is used in the form of power and heat for manufacturing processes, and as feedstock in the production of synthetic fibers, petrochemicals and plastics. Energy required for feedstock, heat and power is a huge percentage of production costs, making energy wastage a serious topic in the industry. To counter this challenge, this industry has several options, many of which are implementable easily. For instance, oil and gas firms can improve their water recycling processes. Advanced filtration and treatment methods are becoming more popular. Improving and streamlining processes is also an approach that could bring tangible results.
2. Internet Industry
There is no denying it; the internet is one of the most amazing technologies ever. It connects all corners of the globe, allowing users to conduct business, exchange knowledge and buy the latest jewelry. Unfortunately, this happens at the expense of something else- lots of energy wasted. This industry consumes an unbelievable amount of power. According to the Internet Health Report of 2018, data centers are at the same level with global air travel in terms of carbon dioxide footprint. Most of the energy wastage in this industry is through data centers. Most of these centers consume a lot of energy wastefully. Online companies have the tendency to run at full capacity on a 24/7 basis, regardless of the energy demand. The good news is leading internet firms are adopting energy efficiency solutions being provided. A good example is the use of highly reliable cooling systems that guarantee continuous supply of cooling energy.
3. Built Environment
Did you know that the built environment consumes 70% of the generated electrical power globally? Lighting, cooling and space heating account for a huge chunk of this energy. The real problem is that a lot of this energy is wasted through poor utilization, conversion and transport. Swift efficiency improvement is thus necessary for sustainability, especially in the pursuit for the famous Sustainable Development Goals. The use of energy efficient equipment remains one of the best ways to reduce energy wastage in this industry. Whenever you are buying HVAC or any other equipment, check for the ENERGY STAR label, which is an approval sign for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Other ideas include using sustainable building materials, upgrading the HVAC system, and efficient cooling. District cooling solutions are particularly coming in handy for premises in the urban setting.
4. Power Generation
While demand for power is increasing, inefficiency continues to be a serious hindrance both in the market economy and resource use. As much as 33% of the power generated goes into waste along the delivery and generation channel. Since gas turbines are vastly used for power generation, they receive a lot of focus in relation to power generation efficiency. Development of this technology has seen the rise of Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) to recoup some of the lost energy. However, this is still not enough considering the massive losses in the industry.
Fig 2: An Industrial Gas Turbine
In the extremely hot climates of the Middle East and several other parts of the world, ambient temperatures affect turbine efficiency and output considerably. Through advanced Turbine Inlet Air Cooling (TIAC) Technologies, this problem is being addressed thoroughly and much less energy wasted.
Fortunately, there is always a way of countering energy loss in any industry. With the right partnerships, we can achieve considerable improvement in energy efficiency, one industry at a time. We have discussed only four examples, but you can be sure so many others are suffering. Get in touch to discover the efficiency levels your sector can achieve.