The cost of energy has risen dramatically in recent years. It now contributes significantly to the total manufacturing cost of chemical products. Consequently, a key lever to increasing profitability is the reduction of the energy costs. Chemical companies contribute to man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, growing attention has been given to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in order to combat climate change. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is required for economic and social reasons. As a conclusion, chemical companies have started initiatives that help to reduce energy costs and, consequently, decrease CO2 emissions.
Energy efficiency is an issue for energy generation and distribution as well as for energy usage within the production processes. The area of energy generation and distribution is presented in Chapter 10. Energy efficient equipment is discussed in Chapter 8 and heat integration by pinch analysis in Chapter 6. Therefore, this chapter will focus on measures for improving the energy efficiency within chemical production processes, especially on energy-intensive unit operations and on the entire process.
Energy is required in nearly every unit operation in a chemical process. For the purposes of energy efficiency the most energy-intensive operations, which represent the main levers for optimization, must be identified. Heat usage is dominated by the unit operations distillation, evaporation, crystallization and drying. In addition, improvement measures for large electricity-consuming equipment like pumps and blowers are presented. Further electricity-consuming equipment such as compressors is discussed in Chapter 8.
For many chemical processes, changes in the reaction step and modifications in the overall process offer a large potential for reducing energy requirements. The reaction and the entire process are closely related since measures in the reaction usually have a large influence on other parts of the process. Therefore, the reaction and the entire process are discussed together in this chapter.
Managing CO2 Emissions in the Chemical Industry. Edited by Leimkuhler © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim ISBN: 978-3-527-32659-4
Energy efficiency optimization measures can be divided into three main categories:
1) improved operation of existing plant;
2) improved design of existing plant;
3) new plant with improved design.
Activities falling into the first category are the responsibility of the plant management. One area of measures involved in operating plants efficiently is often described as good housekeeping and will be presented in this chapter. Improvements to existing plants can be achieved by optimized operation as well as by optimized design of the equipment or the entire process. This chapter will focus on both topics. Improved design of new plants involves research and development that is discussed in Chapter 5.
Most of the measures presented in this chapter for improving the energy efficiency of chemical processes are realistic and based on established technologies. They are also often economical. It depends on a detailed technical and economical study of each potential measure whether they should be implemented or not.
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