Energy efficiency in Europe’s industry will rise, study finds

Energy efficiency levels in industry are expected to improve overall up to 2050, according to a new study for the European Commission entitled: ‘Energy efficiency and energy saving potential in industry and on possible policy mechanisms’.

The study, published in January, covered pulp, paper and print, iron and steel, non-metallic mineral, chemical and pharmaceutical, non-ferrous metal, petroleum refineries, food and beverage and machinery. Together, these sectors accounted for 25% of total EU final energy consumption, or 98% of industrial final energy consumption in 2013.

In the decades up to 2050, only iron and steel and chemicals and pharmaceuticals are predicted to increase their energy consumption in the context of significant production growth and constant energy intensity improvement, the study said. Pulp and paper, especially, has a consistent good track record in improving its energy intensity, and energy consumption is projected to decrease despite a gradual increase in production rates.

Energy intensity is predicted to remain flat for non-metallic minerals such as ceramics, cement and glass. For non-ferrous metals, energy consumption is also expected to remain flat. The study noted the EU’s strong trend in the production of secondary metal through recycling and recovering useful scrap metal.

Overall production in the petroleum refineries sector is assumed to decline by 23% by 2050. From 1992-2010, refineries increased their energy efficiency by 10%, but energy intensity is expected to increase slightly to satisfy demand for lower sulphur products, the study said.

The food and drink sector, meanwhile, is expected to continuously improve its productivity and high standards for food safety and quality, resulting in declining energy consumption even as production continues to grow.

The study was carried out by ICF Consulting Limited.

The report available here.

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