Our focus on energy is consistent with our corporate strategy to generate value through efficiency and optimization.
We understand that improved energy efficiency delivers both direct and indirect emission reduction and economic benefits. Our manufacturing processes are heavily dependent on energy, and we are committed to continuously looking for ways to advance toward our goal of reducing our overall energy intensity by reducing our consumption and harnessing waste energy often lost in our processes.
Our work focuses on new innovations in equipment, process technologies, and waste heat recovery and utilization as our primary levers to help us achieve efficiency improvements while also considering alternative energy sources to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
The global slowdown of the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our energy performance, both in terms of energy intensity (lowering efficiency) and energy ratio (lowering volumes). Despite these challenges, in 2020, we were still able to realize a slight improvement in our overall energy intensity by nearly 2%. This improvement was based primarily on our energy exports which remained flat on an absolute basis of approximately 9.5 million gigajoules but were up by over 16% on a product intensity basis. These improvements, largely attributed to a full year of heat exports at our Franklin, Louisiana, United States carbon black facility, more than offset the increased energy intensity required due to reduced production volumes.
Our Jiangxi, China fumed metal oxides facility captured excess steam using waste heat recovery and distributed it to two nearby facilities.
As a result of these efforts, this project is expected to double the amount of steam exported from Jiangxi in the coming years, while also offsetting our steam partners’ use of fossil fuel to produce this steam, thus lowering the greenhouse gas emissions.
Recently, we identified energy efficiency best practices from across our global operations and shared these to inspire further action at various operating locations.
These included a steam trap management system introduced in our Xingtai, China plant that will save 1,500 MT of low-pressure steam per year and the implementation of an energy management system at our Ravenna carbon black facility leading to annual savings of 220 MWh.
Franklin, Louisiana Energy Center
In August 2019, Cabot and our partner CLECO, celebrated the startup of a new waste heat recovery boiler and steam turbine generator in Franklin, Louisiana USA.
The 50-megawatt capacity St. Mary’s Energy Center makes beneficial use of Cabot’s waste heat to produce power without creating any additional emissions. Using this technology to substitute waste heat for fossil fuel for electricity generation, the people of Louisiana will see a reduction of 110 tons per year of NOx and 180 tons per year of SO2 emissions, along with a reduction of 167,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.