New Report Highlights Energy and Cost Savings Opportunities for Plastics Manufacturers
September 28, 2005
U.S. plastics manufacturing companies stand to boost their competitiveness, productivity, and profits if they take steps now to make their industrial processes and equipment more energy efficient. This is the key finding of a series of assessments conducted at 11 representative U.S. plastics plants. DOE's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP), in partnership with The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., have just released Improving Energy Efficiency at U.S. Plastic Manufacturing Plants: Summary Report and Case Studies, a new report that highlights the promising results of these assessments.
The assessments were conducted through seven DOE-sponsored Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC). The IACs made a total of 99 recommendations to the companies that covered all aspects of plant operations. They ranged from no- or low-cost measures with immediate paybacks to those that required a significant capital investment.
The report shows that by March 2005, 10 of the 11 facilities had already implemented at least 52 of the 99 recommendations to save, on average, $68,500 annually per plant. Additionally, 9 of 11 plants implemented energy-related recommendations to reduce their energy costs by an average of $45,000 per year, which is a savings of nearly 10% on their annual energy bills. Furthermore, implementing all the recommended measures would reduce energy costs an average of 17% per company.
Impact on the U.S. Plastics Industry
The plastics industry employs about 8% to 9% of the U.S. manufacturing workforce, and it consumes approximately 6% of all the energy used by U.S. industries. According to DOE and other data for 1998, plastic materials and resins companies were using nearly1,070 trillion Btu (about 1.1 quadrillion Btu) of energy annually, valued at about $6 billion.
As rising energy prices and natural gas supplies continue to be concerns for industry, many plastics manufacturing companies are realizing the need to reduce the energy they use—and the energy they waste—to stay competitive in regional and global markets. DOE estimates that reducing the plastics industry's energy use by even 1% by 2010 could shave at least $100 million from its total annual energy costs.
The recommended measures presented in Improving Energy Efficiency at U.S. Plastic Manufacturing Plants are steps in that direction for plastics manufacturers. Results from the 11 IAC assessments could readily be adapted and replicated throughout the plastics industry to save energy and operating costs, enhance productivity and competitiveness, and reduce environmental emissions.
Download the full report and case studies to learn how your company could take similar steps to achieve energy and cost savings, and improve efficiency.
Visit the ITP BestPractices Web site for more information on opportunities and resources to help industry implement energy management practices, techniques, and measures. Or contact DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Information Center, 1-877-337-3463, for information.