Strategies to Improve Industrial Energy Efficiency
O'Rielly, Kristine Marita
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A lack of technical expertise, fueled by a lack of positive examples, can lead to companies opting not to implement energy reduction projects unless mandated by legislation. As a result, companies are missing out on exceptional opportunities to improve not only their environmental record but also save considerably on fuel costs. This study investigates the broad topic of energy efficiency within the context of the industrial sector by means of a thorough review of existing energy reduction strategies and a demonstration of their successful implementation. The study begins by discussing current industrial energy consumption trends around the globe and within the Canadian manufacturing sector. This is followed by a literature review which outlines 3 prominent energy efficiency improvement strategies currently available to companies: 1) Waste heat recovery, 2) Idle power loss reduction and production rate optimization, and lastly 3) Auxiliary equipment operational performance. Next, a broad overview of the resources and tools available to organizations looking to improve their industrial energy efficiency is provided. Following this, several case studies are presented which demonstrate the potential benefits that are available to Canadian organizations looking to improve their energy efficiency. Lastly, a discussion of a number of issues and barriers pertaining to the wide-scale implementation of industrial efficiency strategies is presented. It discusses a number of potential roadblocks, including a lack of energy consumption monitoring and data transparency. While this topic has been well researched in the past in terms of the losses encountered during various general manufacturing process streams, practically no literature exists which attempts to provide real data from companies who have implemented energy efficiency strategies. By obtaining original data directly from companies, this thesis demonstrates the potential for companies to save money and reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions through the implementation of energy efficiency projects and publishes numbers which are almost impossible to find directly. By publishing success stories, it is hoped that other companies, especially SMEs (small and medium enterprises) will be able to learn from these case studies and be inspired to embark on energy efficiency projects of their own.