Ingersoll-Rand Busts Energy Myths
Ingersoll Rand is a company that knows sustainability.
The company, which is comprised of several different arms including small-wheel electric vehicle Club Car, HVAC systems company Trane, and industrial refrigeration company Thermo King, has made great efforts to be a greener, leaner business.
In 2010, it launched the Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (CEES) in order to make its operations more sustainable across the board. The center also focuses on outreach and education, ensuring Ingersoll Rand’s employees and the communities it serves understand the value and importance of sustainability.
CEES’ executive director Scott Tew believes a more sustainable business is more than a smart business decision: it’s necessary.
“This is the trend, no matter the business, small or large: expectations related to sustainability are rising, and they're rising across the entire value chain,” he said.
While this is the case, there are several myths surrounding sustainable operations that Tew believes are just that: myths.
Myth #1: Simply performing an energy audit will make your business more energy efficient.
“Many people think that energy audits are the best way to become more energy efficient,” Tew explained. “Everyone runs out and does an energy audit, whether it's at the home or office. Some companies hire others to go out and do an energy audit. I think that energy audits can be very valuable, but they really have to be connected to an overall objective that's clear from the beginning.”
Tew likens the notion to going to a restaurant, intending to eat, and leaving with only a menu—never ordering any food.
“That doesn't really help fill you up, nor does it help satisfy you,” he said. That's sort of what people have done with energy audits. People do them and they're left with a big list of to-dos and possibilities, but in the end, sometimes it’s almost too many options. It could be anything from lighting, to adjusting how people behave, to figuring out what to do with window tinting; it's just a variety of options that are there. Unless you're clear about what you're after up front—sometimes it’s that your employees need to be more productive—it changes the things that are audited.”
Establishing these upfront objectives, Tew said, is vital to using an energy audit for actual forward progress within an organization. Objectives allow for targeted change and steer the audit toward the expected goal.
“If the objective is to save money, it changes the audit somewhat. If the objective is to get what you can get with a two-year payback, it will change how the audit is conducted. It's really important you're clear about the objective up front.
Myth #2: Energy efficiency does not mean using less energy.
“Many people think that using less energy is the same as being energy efficient and I would say that's necessarily the case,” Tew said.
A major focus for Ingersoll Rand as a company is quality of life and it firmly believes comfort is king—and they shouldn’t have to give anything up to achieve it.
“People that believe energy efficiency is about giving something up and that's not the way we understand energy efficiency,” he said. “What we want is we want our energy use to be more productive, meaning that we get more from what's used, not that we have to give up something.”
Tew said that giving up something for so-called energy efficiency is akin to turning down the heat and putting on a sweater sitting in the dark in order to save energy.
“I don't think we're asking anyone to sit in the dark or be uncomfortable,” he said. “I believe we can have comfort and good lighting and we can still be energy efficient, meaning we can do some things to make the energy that we are using be more productive and still use the same or less than we've used in the past. We don't believe you have to compromise quality of life or comfort to achieve with that there all the time.”
Myth #3: Energy efficiency is expensive.
“This is probably the biggest myth that's out there,” Tew said. “When you ask your neighbor or someone on the street why they haven't done more, they typically say, 'Oh, it's too expensive' or 'It's not for me.'”
Tew said that of the three, this one is the purest myth, because “never before have we seen the parity that we see now with efficiency and everything else.” He also explained that the differences between short and long term costs are factors that not everyone understands, but awareness is certainly growing.
“I think LED lighting has helped homeowners and consumers begin to think about even long term cost of a bulb versus the short term cost of incandescent,” he said. “At least we're all learning that. That goes for any scale, such as a commercial scale or at an industrial facility where you're trying to decide whether or not you should invest in it. The answer is, if you're thinking long term—because efficiency is a long term asset—improvements and efficiencies pay back over the long term.”
Tew makes it clear that sometimes sustainability means playing the long game.
“These are not only next-day pay backs,” he noted. “These are not only next month pay backs. We're seeing more and more people understand that and when you understand that, the myth that efficiency is expensive goes away.”
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Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere