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Renewable Energy in Manufacturing

Manufacturers worldwide are looking at innovative methods to avoid emitting pollutants in the air in their manufacturing process.

Factories rely heavily on heating systems and processes that help convert oil, iron ore, wood and other raw materials into any product be it made of plastic, metal, paper, etc. Factories must enhance energy efficiency to have a competitive edge, in the process also relying less (or not relying at all) on fossil fuel use.

According to an International Renewable Energy Agency report 20% of energy use in the manufacturing process is electricity. Be it for production, lighting and cooling processes. Estimates indicate that sectors such as Iron & Steel, Petrochemical, Chemicals, Pulp and Paper use in excess of 80% percent of energy. Surprisingly, together these factories constitute only 5% of the total number of factories globally.

Renewable energy offers the best method to reduce the energy consumption. Let us look at some of the effective renewable energy methods:

  1. Biomass: This renewable energy is a top draw because of its wide application. It can replace fossil fuels and works well in producing temperarture from low ones to heat ones. These are also low cost and therefore help keeping the production costs low. They have high energy density and are easily available and can be conveniently moved around.
  2. Solar: Solar systems are great for heating. Earlier solar worked well for generating low temperatures. However, due to technology advancements manufacturers are deplying solar energy generation for higher energy also. Solar comes in handy in food and textile industries. High set up capital costs are a deterrent, though. But, that is changing as well with demand picking up.
  3. Electrification: Electricity demand in factories is increasing since the manufacturing activity overall has climbed up significantly. However, it is critical that the participation of renewable energy is hiked. May be factories may have to be relocated closer to locations where renewable energy generation is higher. Or factories could also look at renewable energy generation wherever they are located by leveraging technology. The future is about energy-smart factories that function with self-generated power generation system using wind turbines and/or solar power.
  4. Portable, Efficient Facilities: Fabric buildings are now being designed for the manufacturing facilities. Highly durable fabric is used that can take on weather extremes. These factories come power systems that control use of energy, that support self-generation of power and very importantly stop/reduce energy loss.
  5. Alternative Power Sources: Multiple renewable energy sources can be installed to run the factories – could be a combination of solar energy, a wind energy and a geo-thermal plant.

For help and guidance in building factories powered by one or many renewable energy sources, please do get in touch with Consultiger.

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CATEGORY: Manufacturing

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