Historical Evolution from Energy Conservation to Energy Efficiency in Refineries

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Energy conservation emerged during the oil crisis in the 1970s as a matter of survival for refiners. Since a refinery is an energy converting machine, that uses energy to perform this task, reducing its consumption means fewer costs and more products to sell, leading to better overall results. And at that time, as the industry faced pinched margins, that was a matter of survival. Because of this urge for survival, energy conservation evokes energy rationing and usually means restrictions and discomfort.

Energy efficiency, on the other hand, may be considered the maturation of energy conservation. It is a more complex and sophisticated concept. Instead of being born during a crisis, it was bred by consolidation and endurance of energy conservation activities. It impels better use of natural resources and, consequently,

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human and economic development. Through technology and investments, the same processes should use less energy, which means more productivity, less operational costs and environmental impacts. It is a new point of view that must be considered since the conception of the design. Energy efficiency means evolution, doing things right and better in each cycle. This evolution from conservation to efficiency concept was brought about in refineries for many reasons.

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