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Caterpillar Cites Production Cutbacks in 26% Emissions Drop

catCaterpillar was able to cut emissions nearly 26 percent in 2009, primarily due to a reduction in production because of the economy, according to its 2009 Sustainability Report.

Last year’s report showed that, at 2.77 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents, Caterpillar’s 2008 emissions rose slightly from 2007, when the construction implement manufacturer emitted 2.75 million metric tons.

In 2009, Caterpillar showed 2.05 million metric tons of emissions. Emissions are expected to climb to 2.6 million metric tons in 2010.

Once production returns, one way the company aims to cut emissions is by the installation of energy efficient welding machines that consume 8 percent less electricity and cut emissions a total of 2,800 metric tons.

The company put in place a program at its Aurora, Ill., facility to gauge efficiency across a range of applications. The Global Resources Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN) program brought the following results, through September of 2009:

– 33 percent improvement in compressed air efficiency

– 25 percent improvement in steam generation efficiency

– 18 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

– 95 percent of electricity and 65 percent of steam from combined heat and power

– 24 percent reduction in water consumption

Among other improvements, a major retrofit of Caterpillar’s Peoria, Ill., headquarters in the past year included HVAC upgrades and lighting automation, a cumulative effort that will save about $800,000 a year in energy costs.

Last year, Caterpillar set the following long-term goals for 2020:

– Eliminate waste to zero by reducing waste generation and reusing or recycling all that remains.
– Increase energy efficiency by 25 percent.
– Hold water consumption flat.
– Reduce total GHG emissions by 25 percent.
– Design all new construction to meet LEED standards.
– Use alternative or renewable energy sources for 20 percent of energy needs.
– Increase customer’s energy efficiency by 20 percent.
– Reduce customer’s GHG emissions by 20 percent.

In February, Caterpillar, along with BP America and ConocoPhillips, announced their intentions to leave the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of major businesses that has been lobbying for cap and trade legislation. Instead of pushing for legislation, at the time Caterpillar indicated it would rather be focusing on commercializing technologies that help reduce emissions.

For instance, Caterpillar joined the FutureGen Alliance to build a $1.5 billion near-zero emissions coal-fired power plant that will produce hydrogen and electricity while capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide underground in Mattoon, Ill.

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