Special Topic 2Achieve a Low Carbon Society and Reduce Global CO2 Emissions
While Energy Conservation with its products, the DIC Group also works to cut CO2 emissions from manufacturing processes and from all elements of the life cycle at its plants around the world.
From total plant management to understanding individual energy sources per product
The same amounts of CO2 emissions are produced by domestic and overseas operations in the DIC Group. In Japan, we are working to save energy by converting to LNG from heavy oils, adopting Biomass cogeneration system, and since FY 2009 have been power generation using wind power. We have reduced overall energy usage outside Japan, too, with biomass boilers and other solutions in tune with regional characteristics.
In 2010 we star ted "Energy Conservation through product-specific process improvement" action based on moving to the next stage from energy-saving improvements at shared facilities at the DIC Hokuriku Plant (Ishikawa Pref.). This was to address the fact that the majority of manufacturing processes were "non-continuous processes", where many different products are made on the same line, as opposed to continuous processes where a few products such as refined oil are mass-produced. To speed up energy-saving initiatives, then, we needed to identify energy challenges for a variety of products and improve processes in addition to having shared facilities for supplying energy.
EneSCOPE and VETA for better power saving
In 2009, the DIC Hokuriku Plant implemented centralized monitoring to understand in real time (in graphs) how much of the electricity, steam, nitrogen, and other energy generated in the Power Dept. was being used on production floors. The facility also established "EneSCOPE" to verify loss and waste, for large total contribution to energy-saving. Our next effort was developing and setting up "VETA*1" to visualize energy consumption by manufacturing stage. Employing traditional logic to the problem of power conservation, we predicted through theoretical heat budget calculations the amount of energy we could save by upgrading equipment, shortening operating times, and establishing optimal operating conditions. But because in creating products changes must be made to various operating conditions at many stages, and because we are sharing equipment across multiple reaction series, it was difficult to correctly ascertain the stages for each product where the most power was being consumed.
- ※ VETA：A DIC original system meaning Visualization of Energy based on Theory and Actual usage.
Reducing CO2 emissions is a social imperative for global firms
The strengthening of international CO2 emissions regulations, rising prices of energy resources, and calls for energy conservation in Japan due to the suspension of multiple nuclear plants are all contributing to a harsher energy environment. To address this, we are placing hope on our ongoing "product-specific process improvement", which will be the first step in CO2 emissions control via the LCA method and a means to reduce emissions by individual energy source and overall. We also see an obligation to society in sharing these efforts with DIC plans and Group companies.
Production Control Department
Taking the first step to achieve "visualization"
It was then that the Engineering Division (Polymer EG) developed a system for "visualizing" energy usage per product and manufacturing stage based on a urethane acrylic polymer line at a new resins plant that had many measuring instruments. They enabled the collection and monitoring of measurement data on computers used in control. The effects of "visualization" were seen immediately. The results overturned common knowledge dictating that the most energy is consumed at the reaction stage and showed that the raw material fusion stage used the most energy, accounting for almost 50% of total consumption.
Knowing this, we were able to cut 30% of energy usage at the raw material fusion stage by strictly managing temperature, time, and fans in the thermal container where raw materials are fused. A VETA analysis also showed us that almost 20% of power was being used at the equipment cleaning stage when switching products. This prompted us to optimize production schedules and put the same products into continuous reactions to minimize cleaning stage power usage. Consequently, we determined we would be able to realize a 10% reduction of CO2 emissions produced during urethane resin synthesis. The Engineering Division (Polymer EG) is now working to ensure that VETA is used to achieve similar results with other products and at other plants.
What issues can be identified from the data is key
Because our manufacturing stages are complex things where one piece of equipment is shared among multiple boilers, discovering areas where energy can be saved from measured data and theoretical estimations is no easy task. Going forward, I believe there need to be improvements to VETA so many more people can use it as a tool for improvement, even if they lack specialized knowledge. However, I believe the expertise gained from using VETA will be a major strength for the DIC Group.
Polymer Engineering Group
DIC Hokuriku Plant
One more way to "visualize": CFD(Computational Fluid Dynamics)
Another element providing background support for visualization on production sites is CFD, a CAE*2 tool being used at DIC's Central Research Laboratories. With CFD, computer simulations produce images or numbers from distributions of or changes in temperatures, speeds, or pressure. It then creates an image of the current and future state of manufacturing equipment that anyone can understand and share.
With heater boxes, for example (also a target for VETA mentioned above), a fan is run to evenly distribute heat from a heater. Depending on the force and direction of the wind hitting the drum, however, different amounts of heat reach each one. While it would be difficult to know this using only measuring instruments, CFD makes it easy to detect problem areas through imaging and allows for finding the optimal fan position, wind direction, and wind power. In one example, raw material fusion time was shortened by 66% and energy consumption dramatically decreased by only changing the current fan position inside the heater boxes and adjusting wind direction and power.
- ※2 CAE：Computer Aided Engineering
Existing equipment is a gold mine for ways to save energy
Even production sites confident they are saving as much energy as possible will find new areas for improvement through CFD. We have worked on 50 projects a year where CFD were used. With such a variety of equipment and manufacturing processes, it is critical for those who know the production site well to first get the idea of analyzing a certain stage and then finding the opportunity to do it.
Platform Process Engineering Group
Central Research Laboratories
Sun Chemical Group Initiatives
The Sun Chemical Group considers fulfilling its corporate social responsibility a core of its business and works to secure the safety and health of the environment and its employees as it promotes its own "Suncare®" management system throughout the entire group to meet the demands of society.
Since reducing CO2 emissions—which helps prevent global warming—is linked to reducing energy usage, we are focused on improving employee awareness of energy conservation, upgrading and improving equipment and machinery, and reviewing processes. We measured a 13.1% decrease in power used in FY 2010 compared to FY 2005.
Carbon Footprint Project
Aiming to understand greenhouse gas emission levels, Sun Chemical calculated CO2 emissions for its major products at the production, shipping, and sales stages. In the "2010 Carbon Footprint Report" issued in November, 2010, we reported on the following points.
- Quantification of greenhouse gas emissions at the manufacturing and shipping stages of a product's life cycle.
- Carbon footprint quantification for major products.
- Identified areas where greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced based on information gained.
One factor behind this was success in reducing the amount of electricity we purchase by 33%, giving us 278,836 tons in CO2 emissions for the entire Sun Chemical Group in FY 2010. We also began a project to reduce electricity usage by 2% and natural gas usage by 11% at our main 16 plants for the two years from 2010 to 2011.
Energy Reduction Project -Muskegon Plant (Michigan State, U.S.A.)
At our U.S. plant in Muskegon, where much of our organic pigments are produced, methane gas collected from municipal landfills has offset CO2 emissions from natural gas used for primary boilers and now provides 41% of the plant`s fuel needs.
Improvements to equipment for preventing air pollution have eliminated the need for circulating pumps to expel exhaust, and streamlined energy use has cut power usage by about 225 MWh a year.
"Energy Team" members
Engagement of the Kashima Plant
Introduction of Wind Power Generators
Based on an ESCO (energy service company) business agreement with Hitachi, Ltd., DIC started to operate a wooden biomass boiler and a steam turbine power generator in FY 2008, and installed two sets of 2,300 kW-rated wind power generators manufactured by Enercon from Germany and started their operation in FY 2009. The Kashima district is located on the Pacific Ocean coastline with good wind conditions and an average wind speed of 5.5m/s. As for the main features of these wind power generators, although they are one of the largest facilities in Japan, they are capable of starting the generation of power (440 V) even with a wind speed of only 2.5 m/s. So, the cost in maintenance and their noise level can be reduced due to the gear-less construction, they are of variable speed type and high in efficiency, and stresses caused by lateral winds are low due to their cylindrical design adopted for the crown shape. Together with biomass electric generation, they will significantly contribute to the reduction of fossil-fuel energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Effects of the Restructuring
As an effect of the global warning prevention achieved through the energy restructuring made to the Kashima Plant in FY 2009, an amount of CO2 emissions of 31,423 tons (equivalent to 59% of the entire Kashima Plant) was reduced. As a break down, an electricity amount of 5,315 MW (equivalent to 1,320 kl of crude oil) was generated by the wind power generators, where an amount of 2,222 tons in CO2 was reduced, and a heat amount of 474,913 GJ (equivalent to 12,253 kl of crude oil) was generated by the biomass boiler, where an amount of 29,201 tons in CO2 was reduced. The amount of CO2 emissions reduced at the Kashima Plant shares 11% of the total CO2 emissions released by the entire domestic DIC Group in FY 2009.