Implementation of Energy Awareness in Plants

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Markus Rowenstrunk and Susanne Mutze-Niewohner

Environmental awareness issues and energy conservation have increased throughout many societies in recent years. The World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Report, 1987), the Kyoto Protocol (1998), an international environmental treaty to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), numerous other conferences, treaties, organizations, and activists have made tremendous efforts to raise awareness with the intention of reversing the process of climate change. Their ultimate goal is the '... stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system' (UNFCCC, 1992, Article 2). In relation to this goal, many portray energy efficiency as the most cost-effective measure to lessen the process of climate change. The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that energy efficiency accounts for more than half of the potential to bring CO2 emissions back to today's levels by 2050. Even if energy consumption is not drawn from sources that produce greenhouse gases, efficient energy use or preservation of this resource is desirable for more reasons than just essential environmental behavior. Besides advantages for the environment and with it for human well-being, reduction in energy use results in less cost. For example, chemical plants could decrease their spending on energy. This leads to a business case that is possibly driven by altruism and responsible sustainable behavior but can be based on monetary and strategic advantages. Even though stakeholders might be interested in saving the planet, executives, employees, costumers, stock exchange etc. are all presumably interested in reducing the costs needed to keep the plants innovative, productive, efficient, a safe employer and valued partner. However, many companies, plants as well as private people have yet to implement measures to preserve the environment, for example through reducing energy usage even though much information, technical devices, and support has been offered.

Natural sciences have developed many technical appliances and products as well as process solutions which use less of the Earth's natural resources and therefore sustain the environment. This book presents and discusses a great number of these technical measures for example, heat integration (Chapter 6), efficient unit operations (Chapter 7- , equipment (Chapter 8- or utilities (Chapter 10- and the

Managing CO2 Emissions in the Chemical Industry. Edited by Leimkuhler © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim ISBN: 978-3-527-32659-4

assembly of these approaches in a systematic procedure for energy reduction (Chapter 4). There have also been attempts to change the way resources are used through modifications in legislation and pricing systems (e.g., taxation). However, no technical and supportive measures will be effective, unless operators and humans use them significantly and change their behavior (see also [ 1-3]) . This means that it will not be enough just to do the right thing every once in a while, but rather a consistent, persistent effort is needed to get away from wasteful and damaging behavior towards energy conservation and more general environmentally sustainability. But what is and how exactly can energy awareness and environmental sustainable behavior be promoted and implemented? The following sections will answer these questions and discuss theories, methods, and measures to develop a state-of-the-art energy awareness program.

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