Using energy efficiently

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With the money saved through energy conservation, companies can adopt new, efficient technologies for applications such as electric equipment, heaters, and boiler systems:

l Systems powered by sustainable energy: Industries can use their own biomass waste, such as wood, food, pulp, and paper scraps, as fuel. Some industries can power themselves by using methane from landfills to run boilers. Solar and wind power are other renewable options. (Refer to Chapter 13 for more about sustainable energy.)

Not every industry can turn to sustainable energy; some manufacturers require a particular fuel, such as the iron industry, which uses coke. (Refer to Chapter 5 for more about the steel industry.)

I Combining heat and power: Businesses can use up to 90 percent of the excess heat given off by power production (or generated by machinery) to replace regular heating within a building or buildings, instead of simply pumping that heat out of the building. Businesses in Germany and the Netherlands use this technology, known as co-generation.

Table 14-1 shows how much nations can reduce their emissions if their industries switch to more efficient technologies. (A metric megaton [Mt] is one million metric tons, and a kiloton [Kt] is one thousand metric tons.)

Table 14-1 Industries' Emission Reductions with Low-Energy Motors

Table 14-1 Industries' Emission Reductions with Low-Energy Motors

Region

Emissions Reduced

Equivalent

European Union

100 Mt CO2 each year

1/a of a year of the U.K.'s annual GHG emissions

United States

90 Mt CO2 each year

1/80 of the U.S.'s annual GHG emissions

Africa (food processing plants, oil refineries, utility companies)

100 Kt CO2 each year

1/30 of Madagascar's annual GHG emissions

Sources: IPCC, Working Group III: Mitigation, Chapter 7: Industry, p.16; IPCC, National greenhouse gas inventory data for the period 1990-2005, Table 4, p.17.

Sources: IPCC, Working Group III: Mitigation, Chapter 7: Industry, p.16; IPCC, National greenhouse gas inventory data for the period 1990-2005, Table 4, p.17.

High-efficiency, new technology can save companies money in the long run, reducing their energy consumption considerably, but the technology isn't cheap to obtain. Companies in developing countries, especially, might balk at the expense of high-efficiency equipment, and understandably so — developing countries often simply don't have the budgets and financial support for energy-effective technology.

Subsidies from national governments for energy-efficient practices can help industries make big changes in how they operate. The Kyoto Protocol offers two programs to help developing countries obtain these new technologies: The Clean Development Mechanism and joint implementation.

i The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): Under this program, industrialized countries pay for clean energy projects in developing countries.

i Joint implementation: Through this program, industrialized countries and developing economies partner to implement projects such as capturing methane from landfills and using it to produce energy, or shifting from coal to renewable energy sources.

Both programs help industries in the developing world introduce efficient technologies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (We cover the Kyoto Protocol in Chapter 11 and discuss these programs in Chapter 12.)

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