CO2 neutrality for industrial plants and the supply chain
Industry is eager to become CO2-neutral – an outcome which is in strong demand on the part of customers and suppliers, banks and investors, potential employees and society at large. Major corporations as well as medium-sized enterprises are equally committed to this goal. At HANNOVER MESSE, companies can find solutions to achieving CO2-neutral production.30 Mar 2023
The sensor specialist Leuze has taken the first steps towards CO2 neutrality and has already achieved this goal, at least in Germany. The company started by reviewing its direct emissions and optimizing them on that basis. Thanks to extensive investments in new and existing buildings, it significantly reduced its level of energy consumption. Leuze was also able to significantly improve energy efficiency in its production operations. Among other things, a massive expansion of the company’s own renewable energy generation via the use of photovoltaics made an important contribution. As a result, the company was able to reduce the amount of electricity it purchased from outside sources by approximately 50 percent last year. Leuze has been using 100 percent green electricity for several years. Some of this is supplied by Leuze’s own leased hydroelectric power plants.
To offset the unavoidable direct CO2 emissions, Leuze is supporting an international forest conservation project in northern Brazil, covering an area of some 148,000 hectares. This is not a reforestation project, but one that serves to preserve the rainforest as a natural CO2 reservoir. The forest conservation project conserves on emissions by avoiding deforestation of the virgin forest. And Leuze is going a step further: Their agenda also includes examining indirect emissions in the supply chain which, as with most companies, account for a large percentage and are more difficult to influence. That is why CO2 is also a supply chain issue.
The example set by the Leuze firm illustrates the challenges that companies are faced with. Industry is responsible for around 23 percent of greenhouse gases in Germany. 70 percent of industrial energy demand is caused by energy-intensive industries – for example, steel, cement or basic chemicals, as researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute (ISI) point out.
Responsible parties need to analyze the supply side, but also the demand side in the field of energy. For years, machine builders have been discussing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the concomitant connected machines. The focus has been primarily on the exchange of production data. The next step now is to integrate the machines into a company’s energy system. When a company's own renewable, low-cost energy is available, the machines run at full speed. The same applies to logistics centers. A warehouse doesn’t always need to run at 100 percent capacity if the machines know that a particular truck is stuck in traffic. To solve such tasks, you need domain knowledge. Automators have this knowledge, and this is the envy of many high-tech companies. They can reliably identify valuable effects with deep learning, but knowledge about a control circuit can’t be replaced quite so quickly. In addition, companies are developing new business models like peak shaving. And a glimpse into the distant future, when an employee hooks up his or her e-car to the charging station at the plant in the morning, the vehicle becomes an intermediate storage device for production use.
At HANNOVER MESSE, companies can find out more about these energy systems of the future, while sharing information on DC grids, taking in energy management software, analyzing supply chains and aligning their production for CO2-neutral outcomes.
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