Achieving Net Zero through Efficient Energy Use

by | Oct 13, 2022 | Event, Sustainability


  • Vidya Ramnath
    President | Middle East & Africa | Emerson Automation Solutions

There’s no silver bullet to energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is one of the key foundations in ensuring that we meet the needs of a growing global population while achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.


According to the International Energy Agency, this means that each unit of energy that we consume must do more than what it is achieving today – from daily human consumption to complex industrial operations. It is estimated that nearly 63% of all energy created for electricity, transportation, industrial, commercial, and residential uses is lost as waste and of this 63% industrial operations make up as much as 23% of total energy consumption.


To put things in perspective, a typical industrial operation spends between 30% to 50% of its operating budget on energy. This reveals two things: One, energy is a major cost contributor, and secondly, there is a great opportunity to optimize energy use not just for sustainability’s sake but also for better cost and equipment management.


Emerson data shows that industrial operators can reduce site energy spend from 5% up to 15% through a combination of targeted energy monitoring, optimizing equipment performance, and sitewide energy dashboards and reporting. One of our large-sized refining customers, for example, saved as much as $20M in energy costs in one year by leveraging on a tailored energy management program.


Single CAPEX projects can make a structural change in energy performance, but a plant’s overall energy performance depends on a host of other key factors such as fuel types & costs, equipment efficiency, operating conditions, just to name a few. Energy Efficiency

Emerson recommends that energy efficiency objectives be grounded in a proactive monitoring strategy. For this, energy and utility consumption needs to be measured at a unit level to identify benchmarks in specific to an operating site. This granular approach to energy consumption data allows operators to develop a full view of site energy use. Once we have a holistic picture of a plant’s energy consumption, immediate and short-term targets can be addressed while building out a long-term plan to optimize energy use as we learn more about their operations.

Immediate and short-term targets refer to readily available and measurable data that helps the monitoring of a plant’s everyday energy use. Furnaces, fire heaters, and boilers are a good place to start, and efficiencies can be unlocked through advanced measurement technologies that optimize combustion and reduce fuel waste by increasing the accuracy of measurements. Other systems and equipment that benefit from health and performance monitoring practices are compressed air systems, heat exchangers, steam traps and pressure relief valves. These assets can be monitored wirelessly through our Plantweb Insight platform.


From these monitoring data and insights, we can now contextualize energy consumption data to create meaningful and relevant equipment-level improvements all over the plant. To aid in decision making, Emerson also recommends the use of site-wide energy accounting and dashboarding solutions such as Energy Management Information Systems or EMIS so they can continuously capture and showcase energy consumption data and identifies critical focus areas. Digital Twin technologies can help further optimize the design and operation of plants by introducing new protocols that save energy without having a direct impact on their operations and performance.


Energy efficiency to reach net-zero by 2050 targets requires a major shift in how traditional industrial operations work. Emerson supports this transition by providing industrial facilities with access to software, data analytics and advanced measurement technologies that helps drive real-time, dynamic energy optimization. If the industry collectively adopts these technologies, the impacts will be swift—and significant.


At this year’s ADIPEC, discover how Emerson can help you with your energy efficiency targets and sustainability journey. Sign up here to speak to us at ADIPEC 2022 between October 31, 2022, and November 3, 2022.


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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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