A champion of energy efficiency. Even before this new market was well identified, Schneider Electric had begun to expand its activities to growth markets, notably by offering its industrial customers more efficiency and energy savings. Ten years and some 130 buyouts later, the French group plays in the big leagues. Another champion of energy efficiency, not for processes, but for buildings: the venerable Saint-Gobain, which celebrates its 350 years, and has reorganized in recent years around the concept of sustainable housing . For its CEO Pierre-André de Chalendar, energy performance is a growth driver in mature economies, where the group generates 80% of its turnover.
It will be understood that the industry did not wait for the (too) long maturation of the energy transition bill to call into question its energy consumption. Had she not done so, the prospect of substantial savings will help her take the plunge. By 2030, French industry could reduce its energy intensity by 20%, according to the calculations of the Environment Agency for Energy Management (Ademe). Between 2000 and 2012 alone, it dropped by just over 11%. 2015 will be a pivotal year. So far, investing in energy efficiency has been a voluntary move to reduce costs. From now on, it will also be to avoid surcharges related to penalties. Some 5,000 medium-sized companies and large companies will have to carry out a first energy audit of their sites before the end of the year.
Without waiting for this obligation, many industrialists have undertaken to make their energy consumption more flexible by controlling it more finely and by giving them the means to anticipate it. With great strokes of instrumentation, predictive software and supervision tools … They are thus preparing for the smart grid and the dynamic pricing of electricity that will succeed the regulated tariffs in 2016. Good examples are not lacking in the pages that follow!
Improve the energy efficiency of his plant, no one is against it. But how ? Where to start ? What is the gain? Industrialists are often in limbo. “However, we are witnessing a revolution,” says Jean-Pierre Riche, chairman of the consultant Okavango Energy, ” Energy is one of the levers of competitiveness, like quality in the 1990s.” Energy performance must be integrated into industrial management. ” With his Leanergy method, Okavango applies lean to energy. “It all starts with the product, we will eliminate any energy consumption, which does not bring value to the product,” explains Jean-Pierre Riche.
This approach, which involves an exhaustive audit and without prejudice, allows to question, if necessary, the process to better target waste. A dairy takes milk at 6 ° C to pasteurize at 80 ° C and skim it at 40 ° C. It is then cooled and stored at 6 ° C. When it needs to be turned into cheese, it is reheated to 40 ° C. “This intermediate step at 6 ° C, which costs energy to warm the milk, comes from a buffer stock, but it is useless for all the milk to be treated this way.” The buffer was reduced to a minimum and the essential milk now skips the stage to 6 ° C “ , explains Jean-Pierre Riche.
Better thinking about the product and its needs also causes a reversal of perspective, while energy efficiency actions usually go through the optimization of technical equipment. A boiler produces steam at 100-150 ° C to heat water at 60 ° C, used in a duck slaughter process. “Installing a smoke collector on the boiler would have improved its energy performance, with a good return on investment, but it would have been money lost since the product does not need steam. cost effective to replace the boiler with a heat pump heating the water to 60 ° C “, says Jean-Pierre Riche. Lean tools rely on the management of industrial sites. By relying in particular on the saturation of the capacities.
A method of industry to improve its energy performance
From the product.
Lean applied to energy has a basic principle: to eliminate any energy consumption that does not bring value to the product. An audit can identify the strict needs of the process and track down the quality and performance.Drive the change.
Maximizing energy performance requires a transformation of the company’s practices. The tools and the language of the lean allow to accompany it to put in place very profitable actions on the exploitation.
Measure the performance.
To carry out an action plan and sustain gains, it is necessary to measure the real energy performance of its production. Indicators based on 6-sigma principles isolate the influencing factors.
“We must try to saturate if possible the most energy-intensive equipment to maximize energy performance,” says Jean-Pierre Riche. This electrical contact manufacturer had two air dryers on all the time. “By analyzing consumption, capacity and needs, Okavango has shown that one of the two was mainly used for backup,” says the operations manager of the site , “now only one dryer remains on. Toggle allows you to use it when needed. ” In an agro-food site, four cold rooms were used without ever being saturated. After a reorganization of flows and storage, only two are now used.