Home Joint energy solutions Management actions

Management actions

These actions generally do not necessarily require major physical installation, even if they could be beneficial.

In most of the cases, the increase in energy efficiency is not a direct consequence of the proposed solution but it is underlying and it consists of a more efficient use of existing assets or in further actions to be identified and completed, which impact could be maximised by a joint approach.

Common energy audits

What is it:

An energy audit is the procedure by means of which it is possible to analyse the energy balance of a system and accordingly to define possible improvements of its energy efficiency, to achieve the mitigation of its environmental impact and to reduce energy costs.

Different steps of an auditing procedure:

  • Complete energy analysis of the system.
  • Identification of energy waste.
  • Definition of the retrofitting plan needed to obtain a reduction of energy consumptions.
  • Implementation of a systematic plan for the development of energy saving projects and monitoring of the results.
Energy audit procedure

Energy audit procedure; Source: http://www.bmtg.ir/

The objectives of an energy audit can vary from one plant to another. However, an energy audit is usually conducted to understand how energy is used within the plant to find opportunities for improvements and energy saving. Furthermore, energy audits are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of an energy efficiency project or program.

Companies cooperation benefits:

A joint procedure for auditing could help as it would decrease the effort for a single company while increasing the opportunity for effective energy measures.

Joint use of Combined Heat and Power

What is it:

Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of electricity and useful heat. In a regular situation, the heat produced in the generation of electricity is lost, but in a cogeneration plant it is recovered for use in homes, business, and industry.

Cogeneration plants can achieve energy efficiency levels of around 90%. Increased cogeneration could lower greenhouse gas emissions by up to 250 million of tonnes in 2020 1.

Cogeneration principle

Cogeneration principle; Source: http://northernutilities.co.uk/

Companies cooperation benefits:

CHP offers a series of advantages when compared to conventional electricity and thermal energy production:

  • Efficiency benefits: energy efficiency of such systems can reach 90%.
  • Environmental benefits: by employing heat that in conventional power plant would be discharged in the environment they both avoid the introduction in the environment of such waste heat and they guarantee that a diminished amount of fuel is combusted.
  • Economic benefits: a CHP plant should reduce the energy costs borne by the owner as it achieve a higher efficiency. It also reduce the exposure to electricity rate increases as the amount of electricity purchased by the grid is diminished and it can be configured to operate on a variety of fuel types. The economic benefits of any CHP project are dependent on electricity rates, system design, equipment cost and CHP operating practices. The value of the benefits will depend on the needs and goals of the investor.
  • Reliability benefits: In addition to reducing operating costs, CHP systems can be designed to continue operating in the event of grid outages to supply continuous power for critical functions. Considering that the connection to the main grid would not be eliminated, this could represent an increase in the reliability.

The joint use of a CHP plant could bring substantial advantages in a cooperative scheme, both of existing plants inside the park and of newly designed ones. One of the main boundaries is that to be as efficient as they have the potential to be, the investor needs to effectively exploit the entire amount of both electricity and heat they produce.

1. European Commission. Cogeneration of heat and power. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/cogeneration-heat-and-power (19 September 2018, date last accessed).

Joint energy manager

What is it:

The role of an Energy Manager involves facilitating energy conservation by identifying and implementing various options for saving energy, leading awareness programs, and monitoring energy consumption. As such, energy managers play a critical role in the successful implementation of energy conservation and demand management programs within the industry. Their duties revolve around the identification, reporting and implementation of energy savings opportunities.

In some countries, the presence of an energy manager is mandatory for large industrial consumers (e.g. Italy, threshold set at 10,000 toe/year) but optional for smaller ones. While it is not easy to scientifically prove the beneficial impact of such figures on the companies’ savings, a continuous analysis of energy usage increases the energy sensitivity in the plants. Beside the regulatory restrictions, in a large company the effort for an energy manager justifies his full-time hiring. In smaller companies this assumption may not be true.

Companies cooperation benefits:

An interesting compromise could be the hiring of a single person performing activities for multiple companies, thus enlarging his possibility to suggest solutions for energy savings, potentially with a special focus on cooperative ones.

Clustering of common processes

What is it:

The possibility of clustering (some) common processes could be envisaged. To allow the clustering of a single process between different companies, the process should:

  • Not require specialised machineries
  • Not be heavily integrated in the manufacturing line
  • Not be continuous

An example could be the packaging of non-mass-produced object: it is a procedure not standardised which usually require human intervention and a dedicated area in the plant, and it could also be performed by shared personnel.

Another example of process that could be clustered in a single area is the final assembly of non-standard objects. This operation may not require highly specialised machineries and it is not necessarily strongly integrated in the overall process.

Companies cooperation benefits:

The cooperative approach is to dedicate a common area in the park to perform such processes for multiple companies. The objectives are a better employment of spaces and the saturation of the activities in such area, which would not be possible otherwise due to the discontinued nature of such processes.

Common design of energy efficient buildings

What is it:

An industrial building is any structure that is used to store raw materials, house manufacturing processes, or store the furnished goods from a manufacturing process. They can range from the simplest warehouse type structure to highly sophisticated structures integrated with a manufacturing system.

Currently, common interventions to improve the overall energy efficiency of industrial buildings are linked to thermal insulation, HVAC performance improvement, network refurbishment and lighting shift to more efficient systems.

Companies cooperation benefits:

Possibility to invest in high energy efficient spaces: a building dedicated to offices can benefit from consolidated and cross-cutting technologies currently adopted in the residential buildings.

Lowered operative costs: it can be included the cost related to electricity, water, heating and cooling, which often present a part linked to the consumption and fixed fee.

Increased flexibility in space utilisation: it is common in commercial office buildings that each different company lease a floor.

Matching companies according to energy/material demand and production

What is it:

In the framework of industrial symbiosis schemes for the exploitation of waste heat and industrial by-products and internal exchange of energy, park planning could be optimised both in the initial phase of the industrial park development and in case of later expansion/modification.

The entire park would be designed according to such principles, also considering the possibility of implementing some of the solutions.

Companies cooperation benefits:

One of the benefits would be to implement industrial symbiosis solutions is to map the needs of the different companies inside the park and their-by-products. There are many different combinations of producer that could be explored based on the nature of the by-product, its value.

The exchange could be free of charges, the receiver could pay the infrastructure needed for receiving it, the producer could pay to dispose the product as it is assimilated to a waste.

Joint emergency plant of the area

What is it:

Taking care of the safety systems belongs to the daily work of a company or institution. Working consciously in advance on matters of safety instead of learning afterwards from accidents that have occurred can be considered as important as the actual production and other activities carried out on site.

However, as the Confederation of Fire Protection Associations in Europe (CPFA -E)2 states the states the neighbouring facilities should be considered: in this sense, a holistic emergency plan could be drafted in the park, allowing not only the possibility to better respond in case of emergency but also to foresee and to design more efficient plans and equipment that might improve some practices and related environmental performances.

Companies cooperation benefits:

It allows companies to respond more efficiently to emergencies. In addition, some environmental practices and performances can be improved by designing more efficient plans.

2. CFPA-E Guideline No 25:2010 F, 2010.

Exploitation of one plant’s by products in other plants- industrial symbiosis

What is it:

Industrial symbiosis is an association between two or more industrial facilities or companies in which the wastes or by-products of one become the raw materials for another.

The principle behind industrial symbiosis is quite simple; instead of being thrown away or destroyed, surplus resources generated by an industrial process are captured then redirected for use as a new input for another process by one or more other companies, providing a mutual benefit or symbiosis.

Example of industrial symbiosis.

Example of industrial symbiosis

Kalundborg district, example of industrial symbiosis; Source: www.symbiosis.dk

Companies cooperation benefits:

  • One of the benefits of implementing industrial symbiosis solutions is to map the needs of the different companies inside the park and their-by-products. There are many different combinations of producer that could be explored based on the nature of the by-product, its value, etc.
  • The exchange could be free of charges, the receiver could pay the infrastructure needed for receiving it, the producer could pay to dispose the product as it is assimilated to a waste, etc. The convenience is to be searched in the different value for the same product to different companies inside a park. The characteristics and advantages linked to symbiosis schemes can strongly vary as well as the cost related to its realisation.

Joint waste management and disposal

What is it:

It stablishes major principles such as an obligation to handle waste in a way that does not have a negative impact on the environment or human health, an encouragement to apply the waste hierarchy and, in accordance with the polluter-pays principle, a requirement that the costs of disposing of waste must be borne by the holder of waste or by the producers.

The following waste hierarchy shall apply as a priority order in waste prevention and management legislation and policy:

  • Prevention
  • Preparing for re-use
  • Recycling
  • Other recovery (energy recovery)

These services related to waste management, for disposal and/or recycling are paid by the companies and a simple solution to allow the different plants inside the same park to save money is to organise a joint service for waste disposal.

Companies cooperation benefits:

Instead of each different company disposing its own waste according to a different contractor, a joint solution could be both appropriate from an economic point of view and from an environmental one, optimising the logistic of waste management.

Moreover, the amount of waste produced in the industrial parks to be disposed can be reduced, guaranteeing an ulterior environmental benefit.

Joint organic waste treatment energy valorisation

What is it:

The use of biomass to produce energy has become attractive worldwide as it addresses both the energetic and the waste disposal problem, providing a sustainable source of energy.

It is recognised that biodegradable waste can be feedstock to produce useful energy leading to waste minimisation at the same time. Therefore, waste treatment plants to produce biofuel and electricity are common in many countries. Furthermore, anaerobic digestion of organic waste has advanced in Europe in reaction to regulatory pressures on waste disposal.

The advantages related to the realisation of a biogas or incineration plant within the park premises are the following:

  • Addressing the waste issue of different companies
  • Generation of electricity to be internally exploited or sold
  • Generation of heat power
  • Source of income if receiving waste from neighbouring municipalities

Companies cooperation benefits:

The cooperative solution envisaged in this framework is linked to the use of common space to install the plant, a shared investment to realise it and the cooperative management of organic waste to be fed to it.

The advantages are related to a shared investment risk for the realisation of the plant and the possibility to realise a bigger and more efficient plant.

Joint sewage water treatment and valorisation

What is it:

The principal objective of wastewater treatment is generally to allow human and industrial effluents to be disposed of without danger to human health or unacceptable damage to the natural environment.

Conventional wastewater treatment consists of a combination of physical, chemical and biological processes and operations to remove solids, organic matter and nutrients from wastewater. General terms used to describe different degrees of treatment, in order of increasing treatment level, are preliminary, primary, secondary, and tertiary or advanced wastewater treatment.

  • Primary stage involves sedimentation of solid waste within the water.
  • Secondary stage makes use of oxidation to further purify wastewater.
  • Third stage is mostly comprised of removing phosphates and nitrates from the water supply.

WWTP processes

WWTP processes

Companies cooperation benefits:

Such centralised WWTP allow multiple industries to treat their wastewater in a more efficient way and to delegate it to a third company, reducing the complexity for each single company.

The possibility of integrating not only the industrial sector but also the municipality is linked to the peculiarity of the treated substances, but it has the consequence of strengthening the bond of a deeply rooted manufacturing sector with the local community.

Moreover, a cooperative approach can assure a reduction of the investment required for each single company for the realisation and/or the upgrade of the WWTP.

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