Editorial PROCESS WORLDWIDE 2/2013 Energy for Europe
The green transition and increasing competition between regions as they try to attract and retain business investment are putting significantly more pressure on Europe and Germany to find additional ways of reducing energy and resource consumption.
Fact is: the chemical industry in Europe, along with all the other energy-intensive industries, is caught between a rock and a hard place. Energy costs are rising, CO2 emissions are too high. On top of that, the shale gas boom is driving down the price of energy and feedstock in the US. What all of this means is that the ability to use energy efficiently is now even more critical for the future of the European process industry. Producers depend on a reliable supply of electricity to maintain production. “There is increasing concern that some day we may have to push the red power-off button,” said an Energy Manager at one of Germany’s chemical makers only a few months ago.
Given this scenario, how can the industry remain competitive and maintain a stable production environment? How will the shale gas boom in the US affect producers in Germany and Europe? Can operational excellence provide a pathway to energy efficiency excellence? How much remaining leverage is there in energy and resource efficient process technology? What feasible strategies exist for coupling regenerative energy and chemical production?