Reducing GHG emissions and the benefits of energy efficiency

Picture of Pablo Gonzalez
Pablo Gonzalez

PM Specialist

Climate change fight

The fight against climate change is a hot and complicated topic. It has already been shown that the environmental footprint and gas emissions are directly related to people’s quality of life. It is not the same to live in a mansion as in a flat or to eat beef every day as it is to base your diet on beans and vegetables. However (and fortunately), the trend in quality of life is upward; every year, we reach record lows with the number of people living in extreme poverty, people who lack access to water or illiteracy. Nevertheless, this relationship between consumption and improved living standards must be reversed, enhancing conditions without increasing the cost.

Several solutions are already under development: switching from more polluting fossil fuels to renewable energies, developing green technologies such as carbon capture and storage, and using waste as a source of energy. However, in my opinion, the simplest, quickest, and cheapest to implement is to improve energy efficiency.

This can range from switching to more efficient fuels (from coal to biogas) or infrastructure improvements (replacing conventional boilers) to improving practices (optimising the behaviour of hauliers to improve truck consumption). The world of efficiency is very wide, and its solutions are very diverse.

Although they are my favorites, environmental improvements and emission reductions are not the only advantages of this type of solution. Companies are increasingly inclined to develop projects with these types of objectives in mind. Consuming less means not only emitting less but also lowering production costs and making the company more competitive. The payback times are short, and the long-term benefits are quantifiable.

Some of Kurita's actions
  • Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source with low emissions and high potential, but the conditions are very harsh, and the brine generates many efficiency problems in the plant. We came across a case with a fouling problem in which the client saw how the fouling was lowering the plant’s performance by more than 2 MW without being able to do anything. After our team had worked on applying a KurithermTM product, the problem was solved, increasing energy production by more than 6 thousand MWh in 8 months. If this amount of energy came from a fuel such as coal, about 6 million metric tonnes of CO2 would have been emitted more than from this plant.
  • Industries are among the biggest GHG emitters because of their high energy consumption and production methods. The case of this example is a paper mill with a consumption of 60,000 kWh/day. Thanks to our colleagues’ actions in applying Kurita DropWise Technology, a 7% reduction in energy consumption has been achieved. This is equivalent to avoiding the emission of 520 tonnes of CO2 without reducing production.

Governments provide another source of support for this type of initiative. They have the obligation to legislate and support measures that improve savings and reduce consumption. One example is the case of white certificates, schemes where small consumers can exchange their savings in Wh as if they were tokens and sell them to large consumers who do not achieve the savings imposed on them as the main polluters. This allows lower project costs and reduced payback time for projects, making it more attractive to carry out this type of action.

In conclusion, energy efficiency is not only essential to reduce GHG emissions and mitigate climate change, but it also offers tangible economic benefits and promotes environmental sustainability. Commitment to energy efficiency strengthens business resilience to climate and economic challenges and drives the transition to a low-carbon and more sustainable economy for future generations.

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