Top 4 Industries that Consume the Most Energy

Lets face it, our world consumes more energy than we could ever imagine. Worldwide, humans used about 575 quadrillion british thermal units (btu) of energy in 2015, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Agency. For the United States in 2018, the total U.S. primary energy consumption per person (or per capita consumption) was about 309 million Btu. 

Global Industries that Consume the Most Energy

So, what are the key industries worldwide that consume the highest energy consumption? Here are the top 5 according to Energy End-Use: Industry, a research report published by a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology.  

1. Chemical Industry 

The chemical industry is highly diverse, with many companies producing thousands of products that fall under the chemicals and fertilizer category. However, a small number of products make up a large amount of energy consumption in this sector. These intermediate products include ammonia, chlorine and alkalines, ethylene, and other petrochemical intermediates. 

Ammonia is used to produce fertilizers. According to the report, the fertilizer industry accounts for about 1.2% of world energy use, and more than 90% of this energy is used in the production of ammonia. In addition, ethylene is a basic chemical that is used in the production of plastics and other chemical products. Some familiar products that are in the chemical sector bleaches and paints.

2. Metal Industry 

This primarily includes the production of iron and steel. It’s safe to say that we interact with a steel product everyday as steel is the major component in tools, machines, appliances, weapons, automobiles, buildings, infrastructures and much more. Continuous casting is a method of creating steel that now accounts for about 93% of the world’s steel production 

3. Cement Industry 

The cement industry is another high consumer of energy, but one that may not first come to mind. Cement is needed in the construction sector and is important for the growth of any economy. Cement is produced in almost all countries and developing countries account for about 73% of the global cement production. According to the report mentioned above, the energy use of the cement industry in China in 2005 was about 50% of the energy consumption of the building materials industry and became the largest energy consumer in the industry

4. Paper and Pulp Industry 

Up next is the paper and pulp industry. According to the report, the four largest paper-producing regions (the EU, the US, China, and Japan) account for 80% of energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. So, how is energy used in the production of paper and pulp?

About half of the total energy used is used in pulping and the other half is used in papermaking. Energy is used in the pulping of the wood to prepare the fiber, which is processed in the paper machine, the other key energy-using process. Overall, most energy is used in the form of heat and steam to power the integrated pulping and papermaking mills.  

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