Manufacturing companies use a lot of electricity and process heat, or heat that is generated from machine operation, to power their machines. The manufacturing industry’s ability to transform raw materials into products is mainly due to process heating systems. Manufacturing companies can integrate renewable energy to reduce electric demand, use process heat more efficiently and reduce both fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Five effective ways manufacturing companies can integrate renewable energy are outlined below.
One example of how manufacturing companies can integrate renewable energy is by using biomass to power their facility. Biomass is an organic replacement for fossil fuels and fuel for localized energy production that comes from plants and animals. It contains stored chemical energy from the sun and can be burned directly to produce heat or converted into renewable liquid or gaseous fuels. Using this alternative means no carbon dioxide emissions. It produces low, medium and high temperature heat. Integrating biomass within your company will also reduce production costs and provide higher energy density.
2. Solar thermal energy
Integrating solar panels paired with solar thermal energy in particular will lower electric and heating costs within your manufacturing company and is another example of how manufacturing companies can integrate renewable energy. Solar thermal energy uses 1/4″ thick plates that sit behind solar panels to deliberately capture both solar and thermal energy that otherwise can’t be captured by the front of the panel. Utilizing solar thermal energy will also reduce natural gas consumption.
3. Combined heat and power (CHP)
CHP systems use natural gas efficiently to product power. They also utilize a waste heat recovery system to recover the excess energy released in the process. This recovered heat is then used to heat conditioned spaces during colder periods. CHP systems will reduct the stress on your boiler system, therefore significantly reducing electrical demand charges on your utility bills.
4. Geothermal heat pumps
Geothermal heat pumps are an alternative option for the main heating and cooling system used in a manufacturing facility. These pumps transfer heat to or from the ground depending on the season, all through a network of pipes installed beneath a property. In the winter, geothermal heat pumps transfer heat from the ground to your facility and in the summer they transfer heat back to the ground. They can reduce the amount of natural gas and energy usage in a manufacturing company by up to 50%.
5. Demand management systems
Demand management systems use advanced algorithms to control when to use solar energy in addition to when and in which zones of the building heating and cooling systems should run. This reduces the amount of electricity needed to power heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units.
Whether it be biomass, solar thermal energy, CHP systems, geothermal heal pumps or demand management systems, these five ways that manufacturing companies can integrate renewable energy have numerous benefits. Renewable energy systems will reduce your company’s carbon footprint. They can also benefit your company’s bottom line in the form of federal and or state tax incentives and lower utility bills.
Interested in how manufacturing companies can integrate renewable energy?
Are you interested in integrating renewable energy into your manufacturing company? EnergyLink’s team of experts can provide your company with a free energy audit to determine what areas can be improved to increase sustainability, lower utility bills and lower energy demand. The EnergyLink team will then help you design, build and fund a renewable energy project tailored to fit your company’s unique needs. To get started, speak to an expert at (866) 218-0380 or click the button below.