Efficient energy use and recovery is critical to our business. We have been tracking our energy conversion efficiency since FY2015, with the aim of increasing absolute efficiency to 80% by FY2030. This means that for every 100 carbon units introduced to our facilities, a minimum of 80 would be converted either to carbon black or to a useful form of energy.
In FY2020, we continued to make progress on our energy conversion key performance indicator (KPI) despite reduced production and temporary plant closures resulting from the COVID‑19 pandemic. With the lower production, we still must use the same amount of energy at some facilities to run our air emission control equipment, to maintain compliance with the stringent regulations.
As an example, annually, the Jining, China plant consumes over 60,000 MWh of electricity to produce carbon black; electricity that is internally generated through our energy-recovery systems. Some 25% of this consumption (around 15,000 MWh) is used to run large equipment such as fans and blowers, which enable us to comply with, and outperform, emission-control limits. This is equivalent to the electricity requirement of more than 1,200 homes. It demonstrates the challenges we can face in balancing different priorities when managing our environmental impact.
Our plant at Jining
Since we implemented our energy conversion KPI, we have made real progress: we now recover more energy from our own facilities and consume less energy per tonne of carbon black produced. Much of the energy we recover is used in our manufacturing process, while any surplus is sold to neighboring facilities and local grids in the form of electricity, steam, tail gas or hot water.
Globally, Birla Carbon is energy positive, selling more energy than we buy. We take a long-term view when it comes to making decisions about energy investments, and have a range of projects in the pipeline that will further increase our energy conversion rates in the coming years. For example, by making use of the best available technologies, our plant at Jining is energy positive and is already making a significant contribution to both our carbon- and our energy-related KPIs.
Our energy efficiency efforts are led by Regional Energy Managers, who assess the energy cycle of each of our plants and provide local expertise and support in areas where improvement is suggested. This knowledge is then shared across the rest of the business through our World-Class Manufacturing group. We also partner with the Aditya Birla Group’s Corporate Technical and Energy Services team for knowledge-sharing purposes. Our Energy and Carbon Policy, published in July 2018, sets out our commitments not only to comply with but to exceed regulations by reducing our energy intensity and carbon footprint.World-Class Manufacturing group