[Note: If you had previously signed up to receive new posts via email, you’ve noticed that they stopped and then restarted. WordPress had notified me that this service had ended. I recently saw where it was active, but not supported. It’s on for as long as WordPress enables it or until you unsubscribe.
You can subscribe to an occasional newsletter that I’ve been playing around with. It comes through my HEY.com email account. If you haven’t checked out Hey, give it a look. I haven’t moved my business email there, yet, but I like the new take on an email client. My email address there is [email protected] The newsletter is at https://world.hey.com/garymintchell and you subscribe there or get the RSS feed for your reader.]
Click on the link on my homepage for the Carbon Almanac. It is a volunteer effort to compile information about carbon and climate change. I made a very minor contribution, but I do promote the work.
Process automation technology developers have become focused on such areas as energy saving, carbon capture, methane leak detection, and so forth. I view these as ethically valid—and also valid examples of Lean…reducing waste.
ABB has become a leader of the pack. I have two recent pieces of news about programs. One is an independent report to help discover problems and solutions; the other is a use case with an end user partner.
ABB Energy Report
- Energy efficiency is the best way for industry to cut costs and reduce emissions right now
- Independent report highlights 10 actions to help industrial users improve their energy efficiency right now
- Improving energy efficiency will reduce energy bills and emissions substantially in the short- to mid-term, without compromising productivity
- Industry is the world’s largest consumer of electricity, natural gas and coal, and accounts for 42 percent of electricity demand
A new report from the Energy Efficiency Movement shows that improving industrial energy efficiency is the fastest and most effective way for a business to cut energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy Efficiency Movement is a global forum of around 200 organizations sharing ideas, best practices and commitments to create a more energy-efficient world.
The “Industrial energy efficiency playbook” includes 10 actions that a business can take to improve its energy efficiency, reduce energy costs and lower emissions right now. It focuses on mature, widely available technology solutions that will deliver rapid results and ROI – and are capable of being deployed at scale.
Industry is the world’s largest consumer of electricity, natural gas and coal, according to the IEA, accounting for 42 percent of total electricity demand, equal to more than 34 exajoules of energy. The iron, steel, chemical and petrochemical industries are the largest consumers of energy among the world’s top-five energy-consuming countries – China, United States, India, Russia and Japan. This energy consumption carries high costs in the current inflationary environment. It was also responsible for nine gigatons of CO2, equal to 45 percent of total direct emissions from end-use sectors in 2021, according to the IEA.
Organizations interviewed for the report include ABB, Alfa Laval, DHL Group, the IEA, Microsoft and ETH Zürich, the Swiss federal institute of technology. The contributors’ recommendations range from carrying out energy audits to right-sizing industrial machines that are often too big for the job at hand, which wastes energy. Moving data from on-site servers and into the cloud could help save around 90 percent of the energy consumed by IT systems. Speeding up the transition from fossil fuels, by electrifying industrial fleets, switching gas boilers to heat pumps or using well-maintained heat exchangers will also offer efficiencies.
Further actions involve installing sensors and real-time digital energy monitoring to reveal the presence of so-called “ghost assets” that use power when on stand-by, unlike a digital twin that can simulate efficiency actions without interrupting production. Using smart building solutions to control power systems, lighting, blinds and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) will also save energy in industrial facilities.
Other recommendations include installing variable speed drives which can improve the energy efficiency of a motor-driven system by up to 30 percent, yielding immediate cost and emissions benefits. If the more than 300 million industrial electric motor-driven systems currently in operation were replaced with optimized, high-efficiency motors, global electricity consumption could be reduced by up to 10 percent.
ABB partners with Boliden to reduce carbon footprint of its industrial products
- ABB to use Boliden’s certified recycled and low-carbon copper in electric motors and electromagnetic stirring technologies
- Move supports ABB’s target of at least 80 percent of its products and solutions taking a circular approach by 2030
ABB is working with Boliden, the Swedish mining and smelting company, to build a strategic co-operation to use low carbon footprint copper in its electromagnetic stirring (EMS) equipment and high-efficiency electric motors. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while driving the transition to a more circular economy.
The partnership with Boliden forms an integral part of ABB’s strategic ambition to reduce the environmental impact of raw materials used in its products by replacing them with lower carbon alternatives. Apart from using recycled copper, ABB has committed to increase the use of recycled electric steel (e-steel) and recycled aluminum. The move is also an important step in closing the circularity loop that has already seen ABB designing its motors to be up to 98 percent recyclable, with the remaining two percent of materials available to be incinerated for heat recovery. Recycling copper, aluminum and steel offers energy savings of between 75 and 95 percent compared to virgin production.
The co-operation includes ABB placing the first order for Boliden’s certified recycled copper through Finnish metals manufacturing specialist Luvata. Hollow conductor wire made from the material will be used in ABB’s EMS products for both steel and aluminum manufacturing.
Furthermore, as of 2023, ABB will purchase Boliden’s low-carbon and recycled copper to cover the demand for its IE5 Ultra-Premium Efficiency SynRM and e-mobility motors produced in Europe. The two companies have also signed a memorandum of understanding that will see ABB supporting Boliden in identifying inefficient low-voltage motors across its operating units. These motors can then be replaced with high efficiency motors within ABB’s take back upcycling framework, with the old motors recycled to provide raw material for Boliden’s recycled copper.
Copper is a vital material for manufacturing industrial electrical equipment, but its production is energy intensive. To address this, Boliden has developed low-carbon copper that is mined using fossil-free energy and also produces copper using secondary raw material from recycled products. The carbon footprint of these products is 65 percent lower than the industry average. A typical 75-kilowatt (kW) motor weighing 650 kg might include 80 kg of copper. Using Boliden’s copper saves approximately 200 kg of CO₂ emissions for every one of these motors manufactured. Each stirrer has up to 2,700 kg of copper, saving up to 6,700 kg of CO2 per stirrer.