Future of energy efficiency in French and German industrial sectors

electricity savings, audits, final energy consumption, industry, energy efficiencyIn spite of structural differences, manufacturing sectors in both France and Germany are facing the same challenge, namely the need for optimizing their energy consumption, mainly because of steadily rising energy prices. Both situations were compared during a conference that took place at the German embassy in Paris on October 24. Here are key analyses and conclusions by the ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) and the German Ministry of Economy and Research.

Electricity accounts for 30% of overall energy consumption in French manufacturing sector

In France, businesses are responsible for 55% of final energy consumption; achieving energy efficiency is therefore a means of improving their competitiveness as well as managing their environmental impact. There is an initial observation to be made: 30% of energy used by businesses goes to electricity and 70% to fuels. The largest energy users are chemicals (27%), steel (15%), construction materials (14%) and food processing (14%). According to a study by the Ceren (French Centre for Economic Studies and Research on Energy), the heavy industry, which accounts for 58% of energy use by businesses, could save 19% energy by resorting to pre-existing technical solutions.

Similar situation in Germany

Unsurprisingly enough, the most energy-intensive sectors are similar to those in France: mining (22.1%), chemicals (15.2%), papermaking (9.6%), construction materials (8.1%) and food processing (8.1%) are the sectors with the largest energy consumption. So-called “technical” sources of energy savings are also around 20%. German businessmen seem to be well aware of the issue of energy savings, with nearly 38% of them considering future investments in energy efficiency schemes to be very likely.

What are sources of electricity savings?

According to the French Ministry of Sustainable Development, a source of electricity savings can be measured by comparing a production unit’s overall power use with what it could be if “emphasis were put on energy performance”. Such sources actually include a wide range of solutions for manufacturers. They can achieve energy savings by improving combustion control, reducing heat losses, optimizing water flows and internal power distribution networks. Going beyond these general solutions, participants to the conference stressed the fact that the only way to take into account the specific requirements of each company is to conduct personalized and detailed audits.

For more information:

  • Consumption reduction and energy recycling schemes in the industrial sector, CETIAT (French Technical Centre of Aeraulic and Thermal Industries)
  • Promoting “profitable” energy saving schemes in industrial heating systems and networks, CREE/CEREN

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