Carbon-neutral manufacturing is possible

Amid a slow political process on climate change, businesses globally must step up their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Engineering and manufacturing can make an essential contribution to achieving net zero, as manufacturing plants, machinery, and sophisticated production processes are at the heart of global value creation everywhere. The good news is that we can help to significantly limit global warming and reach net-zero emissions, using the technology and know-how we already have. Three key priorities that will propel us more quickly on this journey – if we embrace them consistently: Focus all our efforts on minimising greenhouse gas emissions. Use all available levers for improvement, from the thousands of incremental refinements that add up to significant efficiency gains over time, to fundamentally designing and adapting large industrial plants and processes with the goal of climate neutrality. We will need to question established routines and scrutinise every aspect: can we minimise the amount of stainless steel or other raw material and still get the same performance? How can we reuse more of the waste we produce in production processes, or – even better – avoid it? And this line of questioning doesn’t stop within our own operations; we must encourage, or even require, our suppliers to do the same. This is critical given that a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions are generated in the supply chain. We must put energy efficiency front and centre. There is no doubt that energy efficiency improvements will have to play a crucial role in putting the world on a net-zero pathway. In particular, heating and cooling require our immediate focus, as they account for a large proportion of energy consumption in processing plants – often between 50 and 90%. By deploying state-of-the-art heat pump technology, manufacturers can capture their waste heat from refrigeration and then boost the temperature to […]