Urgent need to address energy anxieties

Paul Boughton

A survey of plastics processing energy consumption in Europe reports that 60 per cent of responding companies fear for the future of the European plastics processing industry unless significant short-term action is taken on energy issues and costs.

Over half of the responding companies to the survey operate plants on a 24 hourfive day week basiswith an average machine utilisation rate of 75 per cent. The average site-specific energy consumption was found to be 2.87 kW/kg/hr and the average cost of energy across Europe was calculated from the survey to be 0.08E/kWh.

The survey of 165 European plastics processors was undertaken by the
newly-formed RECIPE (Reduced Energy Consumption in Plastics Engineering). The main respondents were from Germanythe UK and Spain.

Recipe project co-ordinatorSuzanne Wilkinsonsays that “our first survey into this issue has given us a very good first map of the sector but has also raised the seriousness of the issue. We now have enough information to set sectoral benchmarks for specific energy consumption across Europe. The general attitudes to the energy issue in plastics processing are positive – over 50 per cent for example urge adherence to the Kyoto protocol – but it is also clear that the sector wants more done.

Most of the industry believes this issue to be urgent and in need of immediate attention.”

The RECIPE initiative was established by research and opportunities identified by the Faraday Plastics and Polymers Partnership. The recommendations are to catalyse the plastics industry into measuring its energy-use performance and change for the better.

The includes industry benchmarking and sectoral targets; a programme of market research to study how energy-efficient the polymer processing sector is in its current practices; a demonstrationshow and tellunit to illustrate energy-efficient benefits; a cost-of-ownership financial model and many other measuresincluding training in energy measurement and management. 

For more informationvisit www.eurecipe.com