Industrial Resource Efficiency

Decarbonization Avenue : Industrial Resource Efficiency

Natural resource extraction, processing and manufacturing sectors are responsible for about 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. Not surprisingly hence, for most industries with large greenhouse gas emissions, a large portion of their carbon footprint is upstream. 

Improving resource efficiencies in these upstream industrial sectors can have a cascading positive impact on decarbonization. Consider a car that has been designed and manufactured with resource efficiencies in mind so that it weighs 10% less than usual. Not only does this mean fewer CO2 emissions per vehicle during mining of the raw materials and manufacturing operations, it also means less fuel consumption for the car for the long period (10 years or more) that it is used.

Industrial resource efficiency is one of the least discussed of decarbonization avenues, but it could also be one of the most attractive for many businesses to strive for. As with energy efficiency, resource efficiency can result in benefits that businesses understand - excellent financial returns.

Many avenues are available for resource efficiencies, and some of them had already been implemented over the past many decades, across many industries. But with the increased emphasis on a product’s carbon footprint, focus on waste management, and advent of Industry 4.0, industrial resource efficiencies can reach newer heights, to the benefit of all stakeholders.

Improvements are possible through changes in inputs, better process controls, equipment modification, changes in technologies used, onsite reuse and recycling, value recovery from side streams, and improved product design and production.

Industries impacted

  • Aerospace & defense
  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Chemicals & petrochemicals
  • Construction & real estate
  • Consumer durables
  • Electrical
  • Engineering goods & machinery
  • Fertilizers
  • Food & beverages
  • Mining & metals
  • Oil & gas
  • Packaging & plastics
  • Printing & publishing
  • Paper & forest products
  • Textile & apparel
  • Waste management
  • Water

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Themes & Topics

  • Principles

    • Design

    • Process optimization

    • Waste minimization

    • Waste utilization

  • Use of digital & IT tools

    • IoT

    • Artificial intelligence/Big Data

    • Cloud

    • Wireless

  • Industry 4.0

    • Additive manufacturing

  • Recycling

  • Value recovery from industrial side streams

  • Capacity building

  • Collaboration

    • Within industry

    • Between industries 

  • Production processes

    • New processes

    • Modifications to current processes

    • New equipment

  • Resource sharing

    • Resource exchanges

  • Case studies by industry

    • Agriculture

    • Automotive

    • Construction

    • Engineering goods & machinery

    • Food & beverages

    • Pharmaceuticals

    • Paper & forest products

    • Textiles & fashion

    • Metals

    • Chemicals & fertilizers

    • Oil & gas