EPA Reports on Energy Trends in Leading Manufacturing Sectors

On April 10, EPA announced the release of a report on energy use trends in major manufacturing sectors that highlights the environmental implications of energy use. The report concludes with a general overview of the barriers to energy efficiency and use of clean fuel technologies, and offers some possible policy options for government to help address these barriers.

These sectors account for about 85 percent of all U.S. industrial energy use. The report analyzes each sector's current energy consumption trends and the associated environmental impacts, specifically emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide. Under a business-as-usual scenario, energy consumption across many of these sectors will increase by 20 percent from 2004 levels by 2020, and carbon dioxide emissions will increase by 14 percent. The 12 sectors analyzed are aluminum, cement, chemical manufacturing, food manufacturing, forest products, iron and steel, metal casting, metal finishing, motor vehicle manufacturing, motor vehicle parts manufacturing, petroleum refining, and shipbuilding.

The report shows how each sector could improve environmental performance by becoming more energy efficient or by using clean-fuel technologies. It also identifies five strategies that could be used to achieve these goals:

  • switching to cleaner fuels.
  • using combined heat and power.
  • retrofitting or replacing older equipment.
  • making process improvements.
  • investing in research and development.

The 2007 Sector Strategies Energy Report can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/sectors/energy/index.html.

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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