Energy efficiency in industry
SINTEF Energy Research together with key national and international partners is focusing a considerable amount of research on energy efficiency. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the average global temperature could rise by up to six degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Energy efficiency is a measure to limit the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
Text: Senior Research Scientist Anne Karin Torstveit Hemmingsen
The main focus is on technology for better utilization of waste heat from industry and more effective methods for cooling and heating.
This commitment is possible because SINTEF Energy Research has built up a position at the leading edge of research in the areas that are designated to be central in industrial energy efficiency.
Through a series of research projects we have established a network of environmentally aware companies and suppliers who are willing to invest in long-term research.
Energy efficiency is an important topic in energy and climate. The Norwegian government is aiming to help limit growth in greenhouse gas emissions so that the temperature increase does not exceed two degrees Celsius.
Efficiency is the key
The International Energy Agency has determined that measures relating to energy efficiency must be used to contribute over 50 per cent of the cuts in CO2 emissions (World Energy Outlook 2008, International Energy Agency, ISBN: 978-92-64 -04560-6, November 2008). Energy efficiency will thus be the main mechanism for reducing global emissions in the future.
Reducing energy consumption
The potential for energy efficiency in industry is significant, even if the energy-intensive industry has done a lot by improving its production processes to use less energy. Primary industry also has significant potential for energy efficiency. The figure shows the non-mobile energy consumption in Norway in 2007.
The need for long-term research in industrial energy efficiency has been pointed out nationally and internationally by Enova, the Norwegian Energy Efficiency Committee, the Research Council of Norway and the European Union.
Energy consumption distributed by sector in 2007. Energy used in operating industrial buildings is withdrawn from the industrial sectors and transferred to factory plant (total of 6 TWh). Source: Energy Balance for Norway. 2007. Statistics Norway.
The Energy Efficiency Committee presented a report on energy efficiency in June 2009 which recommended measures to stimulate research on energy-efficient solutions. This consisted of four elements:
- Technological research and development in areas with extensive potential for energy efficiency in Norway, as well as the significant export market for innovative research solutions. Examples of such areas are better exploitation of waste heat, more efficient heating and cooling, and more efficient components, systems and management strategies.
- Industry-oriented networking projects with international technology monitoring of the research front in order to uncover new opportunities in Norway for energy efficiency at an early stage.
- Research at community level aimed at the dismantling barriers that prevent energy efficiency, as well as more optimal design of measures to implement policy.
- Industry-oriented benchmarking and revisions of BAT (Best Available Technology) and BAP (Best Available Practice), including participation in international forums where such studies are conducted.
SINTEF Energy Research and its partners will have a key role to play in this research work.
Industrial excess heat
Industry produces large amounts of heat that it does not exploit. Much of this heat has a temperature or quality that is unprofitable to exploit with current technology. This is a challenge.
ROME is a Knowledge-building Project with User Involvement where SINTEF scientists are working on the development of technologies to produce electricity from industrial excess heat at lower temperatures than is possible at present.
The figure shows the principle for how heat from an exhaust can be utilized in the energy production process.