Re-viewing industrial energy-efficiency improvement using a widened system boundary

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: Improved energy efficiency in industry is important for reaching the targets within the EU strategy for increased sustainability. However, energy efficiency is not always prioritised within companies, and the improvement potential remains large. This paradox called an energyefficiency gap is explained by energy-efficiency barriers. The low interest in energy efficiency is also explained by the fact that it is not within companies’ core competences and not perceived as strategic. The public policies aiming at closing the gap have thus far been concentrated on the faster diffusion of energy-efficient technologies. This is not sufficient, and the gap can be extended by including energy management practices. To bridge the extended gap, there is a need to introduce an extended system perspective. The aim of this thesis is to  investigate the industrial energy-efficiency potential and possibilities for reaching this potential using an extended system boundary.In this thesis, the extended gap was quantified by means of classification of the energy data covering the most electricity-intensive Swedish industrial companies. The results show that technology-related measures represent 61% of energy savings, whereas management-related measures account for 38%. Energy efficiency due to management-related measures can be improved with lower costs. The energy-efficiency potentials for different levels of industrial motor systems were quantified, showing that the highest potential is found in the measures that include personal involvement and the optimisation of routines. This proves that the general approaches based on technological diffusion seem to not be sufficient to solve the energy paradox.The evaluation of the Swedish energy audit programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) proved that there is a lack of energy-related knowledge among SMEs. The implementation rate of measures proposed in the audits is only 54%, while there is also a need to reach the SMEs not covered by the programme. The international study of energy-efficiency potentials did not indicate energy management to be considered by SMEs at all.To bridge the extended gap, the external experts’ knowledge on how to work with energy efficiency has to stay within companies. For this, there is a need for methods based on longterm orientation as well as a systematic view of complicated processes. The methods should be universal and applied in a particular context. An example of such a method for large industries is presented in this thesis, whereas applying it to SMEs is problematic due to limited resources. Participating in networks for energy efficiency can be a way to initiate energy-efficiency work within SMEs on a continuous basis. Moreover, this thesis shows that there is a need for the development of a common taxonomy for energy data as well as the development of a central portal where energy data can be reported and stored. This would simplify the monitoring of energy end-use, the control of measures implementation and the comparison between processes, companies and sectors.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.