How Celanese indentified $1.5M in energy savings without spending a dime - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, Energy Efficiency, Industrial  -  June 14, 2016 - By Amy Poszywak

How Celanese identified $1.5M in energy savings without spending a dime

Exclusive to Smart Energy Decisions 

This is the third in a series of original features exploring the successes of a selection of corporations recognized by Energy Star for achievements in energy efficiency. Each company we've talked with for this series, made possible through our partnership with Energy Star, has a unique story about their efforts to reduce electric use across their organization. Taken in aggregate, we hope the series provides readers with a useful glimpse into the kinds of strategies being implemented across the commercial and industrial sectors as well as a deeper understanding of vetted, real-life tactics for cutting consumption. You can read the first and second in this series here. 

After working to drive energy efficiency through its operations for more than a decade, Celeanse Corp. has uncovered an entirely new way to drive big savings.

The result of Six Sigma resources and collaboration among Celeanse employees, the chemistry solutions and specialty materials producer is in the middle of rolling out a transformative, data-driven energy management system to eight of its manufacturing plants. The system, referred to as an energy dashboard, is already up and running at two plants, has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings and helped Celeanse identify more than $1.5 million of other energy savings projects.

The dashboard, as explained by David Reid, Celeanse's global energy and productivity leader, allows plant operators to see energy information - how much is being used as well as what the optimum usage is at any given moment - in real time. The optimum amount of energy to be used at the time, Reid said, can change dependent on production rates, product mix or even seasonal changes.

"The dashboard allows operators to tell immediately how their energy use compares to what the optimum energy level should be, and if it's not where it's supposed to be, they can find out what's causing that through the dashboard as well, and then hopefully correct the problem or make changes to move it back toward the optimum level," Reid said.

Celanese, which identifies itself as a global technology leader in its industry, developed the system entirely in house, using resources, tools and staff it already had, according to David Reid, global energy and productivity leader.

"The creation of the system involved our energy management group, six sigma folks, and obviously a huge amount of input from the operators of the plants that are involved because they're the experts on the plants and the units," Reid said. "So we need to make sure they're involved with validation, to make sure its right ... Because they're the ones that are using it in the end."

The company piloted the energy dashboard system at its polymers plant in Frankfurt, Germany, and after realizing its benefits, started plans to implement it across others, including two in the U.S.

"The first plant, we found savings in two ways. The first savings was operators correcting problems in real-time. That plant, saved over $300,000 per year in energy, just by implementing real-time optimization. The second savings is, using these tools, and statistical analysis to develop these dashboards, we identified more than $1.5 million of other energy savings projects, most of them with no or very low capital."

The development and roll out of the energy dashboard is just one of the ways Celanese has been working to reduce its energy use. A long-time partner with the U.S. EPA's Energy Star program, the company received the program's partner of the year recognition for its 2015 activities.

According to Energy Star, Celanese has reduced its energy intensity by 7% since 2010 and 28% since 2005. Other key accomplishments include the completion of 200 energy projects to save more than $16 million in 2015, including the startup of a $160 million gas-fired steam boiler system to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution and to improve energy efficiency; and its investment in efficiency in core production through its startup of a state-of-the-art methanol unit.

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