Decarbonization vs. Profit: Eliminating the Rivalry with Exergy is the session at CERAWeek 2019 presented by Emerson’s Ana Gonzalez Hernandez.
Ana opened her presentation defining resource efficiency being the goal to reduce the use of energy and materials to produce a given product or service.
Today, much of the focus is on energy efficiency measured in energy intensity. This approach does not optimize the use of materials, which may provide a more optimal solution overall.
If producers just consider material efficiency, this focus can overlook optimal energy usage. Sustainable operations consider both together to reduce raw materials inputs, process fuels inputs, materials recovery and more.
The challenge is to reconcile the use of both, combining the two into a single perspective. Today, there is a wide array of metrics being used to measure energy usage and material usage. What’s needed is a better way to measure both together. It should be a metric that is scalable across the production process.
Exergy provides a single metric based on product, energy byproduct, material byproduct, materials in and energy in. The benefits of this scalable single metric are that it can combine units, widen boundaries, appraise the value of resources and provide greater insights in losses in the production process.
This metric can provide benchmarks for producers to measure their relative performance and identify opportunities for improvements to attain top quartile performance. Real-time sensor data plays a large role in feeding the data into the exergy equation.
Ana closed by explaining that this metric allows producers and regulators to have a single language to improve overall sustainable performance.