Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Managing Carbon: Benefits and Costs

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Celanese Corp., a $5 billion specialty and intermediate chemical manufacturer, takes a  pragmatic approach to energy and carbon management.

On saving energy and cutting emissions:

One recent example came at the company’s Bishop, Texas, plant, where two projects reduced the site’s energy consumption by more than 34,000 MMBTU (million British thermal units), while also cutting GHG output by almost 2,000 tons of CO2. Over time, the full annual savings is expected to total more than 130,000 MMBTU of energy and more than 7,500 tons of CO2 annually. “That’s a savings of close to $1 million a year,” points out Ed Quick, Celanese global director, environmental health and safety.

On the role of regulation:

On the environmental regulatory front, Quick says that it pays to look ahead. “You’ve got to look out over the next five to 10 years and have some understanding of where your customers and your other stakeholders are going, and what some of the impacts are that are going to affect you,” he observes. “There’s always a lot of uncertainty with that, but you have to develop a strategy around it, make sure it’s aligned with your values and then continue to push forward.”

The company is finding that this kind of effort produces value for Celanese, both on the bottom line and otherwise. “In some cases, it allows us to see ahead and see that there are going to be some changes in requirements. Instead of being right up against some regulatory deadline, it gives us time to do the work three, four or five years ahead of time and get ready for something that may affect us,” Quick explains.

On strategic impacts:

An added advantage of this kind of work can come through discovery. Earlier Celanese LCA efforts revealed that certain of the company’s products actually have carbon footprints that are 40 percent lower than competitors’ products, Quick notes. “So there have been some marketing opportunities that have opened up from using this LCA technique.”

Finally, on the cost of the Enviance FastTrack system (not adopted by Celanese):

The Enviance response is its 60-day Greenhouse Gas FastTrack program, announced on March 9. The FastTrack solution relies on a library of more than 130 preconfigured data collection and calculation models for stationary sources such as boilers, heaters and “anything you can imagine that produces CO2 and sits inside a fence line,” says Goldenhersh. These, combined with more than 100 mobile source models and others can be put in place as part of a complete, cloud-based GHG management system that can be up and running in 60 days or less to enable EPA reporting compliance, he contends.

The FastTrack program is offered on a fixed-price basis at $1,995 per month per facility, with multiple-facility discounts, according to Goldenhersh. This includes full implementation, consulting and online training for data entry, dashboards and reporting, the company says. [more]

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Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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