October 22, 1997

The industrial sector produces approximately one-third of total U.S. emissions. We can cut emissions substantially in this sector through the right mix of tax incentives, accelerated research and development, electricity restructuring, and environmental regulatory reinvention. According to a recently released report from five of the nation's energy laboratories, programs such as the ones below can reduce emissions in the industrial sector in 2010 by 28 million metric tons even with no increase in energy prices.

Increasing Energy Efficiency: Energy audits encourage systematic approaches to energy efficiency that typically have high yields. Southwire Corporation, a large manufacturer of wire, rod, and cable, cut their use of natural gas by 60 percent and cut electricity use by 40 percent per pound of product produced. Motors consume 70 percent of industrial electricity used, and there is room for improving their efficiency. The Greenville Tube Company, for example, increased productivity by 15 percent, increased energy efficiency by 30 percent, reduced scrap by 15 percent, and achieved $77,000 per year savings -- a 6 month payback -- by improving the efficiency of their motors. Cogeneration (Combined Heat and Power): New technologies available in the industrial sector will allow us to capture the waste heat the U.S. now throws away. With the right policies, industrial cogeneration of natural gas or biomass could cut annual carbon emission significantly by 2010. Advanced turbines developed by DOE with industry will be available in three years (orders are already being taken). They have an overall efficiency of 80 percent to 90 percent, produce steam together with low-cost electricity and significantly reduce NOx emissions. These turbines can run on natural gas or biomass. Some industries have their own low-cost biomass feedstocks (for example, black liquor gasification in the pulp and paper industry), which makes possible cogeneration with nearly zero carbon emissions. Expanding Industries of the Future: The seven most energy-intensive industries—steel, aluminum, petroleum refining, chemicals, pulp and paper products, glass, and metal casting—account for about 80 percent of the carbon emissions in U.S. manufacturing and more than 90 percent of the hazardous waste. Industry, partnering with the Department of Energy, has developed long-term visions of energy-efficient, low-polluting, highly competitive "Industries of the Future" as well as technology roadmaps to identify an R&D and deployment pathway to achieving the vision. Visions typically foresee annual energy efficiency improvements of 1.0 percent to 1.5 percent for two decades.

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