Managing energy use to reduce carbon footprints
According to National Grid, more of Britain’s electricity production will come from zero carbon energy sources than from fossil fuels in 2019 — the first time since the Industrial Revolution. This is positive progress towards the UK Government achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Here Ben Goodare, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at global engineering technologies company, Renishaw, shares the changes businesses can make on their energy management journeys.
When reviewing your energy consumption as a business, the first step is to look at your total energy footprint and focus on reducing the amount of energy needed. You can speak to your energy suppliers to find out how much you are using.
Identify areas for change
Firstly, identify how much energy you are using when the facility is not in operation by establishing a baseload. By conducting spot checks, for example over the weekend, you can identify if equipment is left running when it could be turned off. You can then think about making building refurbishments to reduce other energy waste, such as adding double or triple glazing or insulation. Switching to LEDs or placing lights on movement sensors can further reduce energy usage.
Renishaw undertook major refurbishments to improve its energy efficiency after purchasing a new facility near Miskin, South Wales. Switching to high-efficiency air conditioning, adding insulation and removing inefficient boilers, the company was able to reduce gas consumption from the site by almost four times.
Manufacturers and engineering businesses can also examine machinery efficiency. Renishaw found that reprogramming its machine tools to automatically enter an emergency stop mode when not in use, rather than standby, saved nearly a million kilowatt hours of electricity a year. Proactive maintenance can also save on energy, particularly when working with compressed air or other energy intensive processes.
Once you have established a baseload, you can assess how much energy the business is using when the facility is in operation. Making building management rules, such as turning the air conditioning off before 5pm and over the weekend, can lead to big savings. An energy management software tool can help you to map this to monitor usage more easily.
Involve your staff
Armed with data about your facility, you can then discuss the issue with your employees. In an engineering company, your engineers will have a good understanding of manufacturing processes and may be uniquely placed to identify areas for improvement. Renishaw has an active suggestion scheme and Yammer group, where staff can contribute their ideas. You could even incentivise employees with rewards for coming up with energy saving ideas.
The next step is to establish where you could sensibly generate your own energy. Renishaw’s self-generation has increased 64% since 2018 and the solar panels at its headquarters site, New Mills, have an annual generation capacity in excess of 1.2mn kWh. The company has also installed solar panels in India, and at three other UK manufacturing sites. The company will also be installing them at a new site in the USA, and is exploring options in Mexico, Ireland and Italy. Because space can limit the number of potential solar panel installations, together with unique features of different locations, hydroelectric and wind power are also options that are being explored.
Finally, you can look at sourcing renewable energy. Renishaw has found success doing this — 80% of its electricity consumption globally and 98% of UK electicity is from renewable sources.
Zero carbon by 2050 is the target identified by the UK Government for the country. To support the achievement of this target, businesses can look for ways to decrease their overall energy usage, self-generate and turn to renewable sources. This approach has enabled Renishaw to reduce its total absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 35% since 2015, but there is a long way left to go.
Ben Goodare is Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at global engineering technologies company, Renishaw.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.