-By Insa Errey
In advanced manufacturing, the concepts of energy intensity and energy efficiency play crucial roles in influencing both operational costs and emissions profile.
While both terms are interconnected, they represent distinct parts of energy management. Understanding these dynamics is crucial as businesses seek to balance production demands with the imperative of sustainable energy use.
Energy Intensity in Manufacturing: A Measure of Production Impact
Energy intensity is a measure of the energy consumed per unit of output, such as the energy required to produce a certain quantity of goods. Typically expressed in terms of energy units per unit of physical output. Energy intensity provides insight into the overall energy consumption patterns within a manufacturing facility.
High energy intensity in manufacturing suggests that significant energy resources are being used to manufacture a product. High energy intensive processes may use a disproportionate amount of energy to achieve their production goals, signalling inefficiencies that can impact both costs and emissions.
On the other hand, low energy intensity indicates a more efficient use of energy resources. Trending this even monthly will enable visibility of process operations, signalling if processes are running differently and have shifted.
Energy Efficiency: Improving Manufacturing Practices
Energy efficiency, on the other hand, focuses on optimising the utilisation of energy inputs to maximise output. It is the ratio of useful energy out to the total energy in. In manufacturing, energy efficiency measures the effectiveness of processes in converting energy resources into final products, emphasizing the opportunities to reduce loss and waste.
Energy efficiency in manufacturing involves optimising processes and technologies to minimise energy consumption while maintaining or enhancing productivity. Improving energy efficiency in this context includes adopting advanced machinery, implementing effective energy management systems, and embracing best practices.
Often invest is required such as conducting energy audits, energy transition plans and implement energy management systems to streamline their operations, in addition to reviewing and purchasing energy-efficient equipment where feasible.
The Interplay in Manufacturing: Striking a Balance
Energy intensity and efficiency are intertwined concepts that influence each other within the manufacturing landscape. A reduction in energy intensity is often a direct result of improved energy efficiency.
As more efficient technologies and practices are adopted, this can lead to producing the same or even higher output with lower energy inputs, leading to decreased energy intensity.
Conversely, a decrease in energy intensity may not always indicate improved efficiency if it results from a decline in production rather than improved process optimisation.
Therefore, it is crucial to simultaneously address both energy intensity and efficiency to achieve sustainable and cost-effective operations.
Striking this balance requires strategic planning, investment in innovation, and a commitment to continuous improvement.
In the dynamic landscape of manufacturing, the synergy between energy intensity and efficiency is paramount. Manufacturers must navigate the intricate relationship between these two concepts to achieve sustainable and economically viable operations.
By embracing energy-efficient technologies and practices, the manufacturing sector can contribute significantly to reducing operational costs whilst the IEA Energy efficiency movement suggests it may also save up to 11% of global energy related carbon emissions by 2030.