DuPont Titanium Technologies says it has cut its energy consumption per pound of product by nearly 30 percent – saving more than $100 million in the process as oil prices hover at the $100 per barrel threshold. The business estimates that it has saved the equivalent of three million barrels of oil since 2001.
DuPont Titanium Technologies is the world’s largest manufacturer of titanium dioxide, a white pigment widely used in the coatings, plastics and paper industries.
“There’s no one great ‘eureka’ moment in this kind of effort,” said Rick Olson, vice president and general manager — DuPont Titanium Technologies. “Every one of our sites around the world is tracking down every possible opportunity to save energy. It all adds up, one motor and one valve at a time, day after day.”
Some fixes are fairly obvious, such as replacing aging electric motors with newer, more efficient models. Others are not.
For example, plant control rooms have been upgraded with new hardware and software to provide operators with more detailed, real-time information so that they can fine-tune operations. Plants have also implemented technology for energy recovery and reuse, such as salvaging heat energy from steam.
“By 2015, we expect to be able to make twice as much TiO2 per unit of energy as we did in 1991,” Olson said. “Saving energy, and consequently reducing emissions, is good for our world and good for our business.
DuPont runs several programs to encourage and support its business units, such as DuPont Titanium Technologies, to implement energy efficiency goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. As a result of these and other initiatives, DuPont has cut emissions by 72 percent since 1990 (with plans for another 15 percent by 2015).
The United Steelworkers says that DuPont isn’t as green as it seems and that instead of being a “sustainable” chemical company, DuPont engages in greenwashing.
In July, The Department of Justice and EPA reached a settlement with DuPont that is expected to cost the company $70 million and will reduce more than 13,000 tons of emissions annually from four sulfuric acid production plants in Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky.
A recent study found that today it takes less than half the energy to produce a dollar of economic output as it did in 1970 and that energy efficiency gains have increased significantly since 1996.