As businesses and consumers alike become more aware of how unsustainable energy generated by fossil fuels really is, there has been a major push to find cleaner ways of generating energy.
But with the latest reports suggesting that a drastic reduction in fossil fuel use is needed if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided, many companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint as quickly as possible. For most, this means dramatically increasing the energy efficiency of their operations.
While it may not be possible for most factories to cut out fossil fuels altogether in the near future, here are a few things that the most progressive actors are doing to make their production lines more efficient, and less reliant on coal, natural gas, and oil.
More Efficient Heat Exchangers
In order to tackle the problem of energy use in a factory, it is first necessary to target the most wasteful industrial processes and find ways to make them more efficient. In many cases, heating and cooling will be the first areas where improvements can be made.
Heat exchangers are a basic component in the manufacture of most raw materials, but traditional heat exchangers, which use heated gasses like air to dry or cool bulk solids, are notoriously bad when it comes to energy loss. While it takes significant energy inputs to heat air, once heated it is often simply dispersed into the atmosphere, where the energy is lost altogether.
New industrial heat exchangers that use plates rather than drum dryers have been shown to reduce net energy use by as much as ninety percent, making the production line as a whole significantly more efficient (you can stop by Solex Thermal to learn more).
Rooftop Solar Panels
Factories occupy a lot of space, but in some ways, this can be an advantage when it comes to making production greener. All of this rooftop space can become a powerful asset if a factory chooses to install solar panels. Not only do rooftop solar panels reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but they also reduce overall energy costs, making them a solid investment for economic reasons as well.
Reducing Waste and Recycling
While green tech can do much to make manufacturing more energy efficient, one of the most effective things a factory owner can do to cut down on emissions is simply making their processes less wasteful.
Reducing errors, finding ways to salvage faulty parts, and finding uses for by-products can play a significant role in cutting back on the overall energy used in producing parts. And it can also be an economic bonus for manufacturers who are able to get more bang for their buck.
In the twenty-first century, climate change is probably the single greatest threat to human life and economic activity. Factory owners cannot wait until sufficient clean energy is available; in order to stave off the worst-case scenario, they need to start reducing emissions now. Fortunately, new technology is making it easier than ever to green production lines without damaging the bottom line.