The need for the efficient use of energy is not new but rapidly rising prices in recent years have given added impetus and a new challenge to reduce costs and remain competitive. Large companies often have decentralised organisations with operating units largely autonomous and responsible for their own energy conservation programmes. The central organisation and operating units have very different and distinct roles. The centre helps formulate policy, assists the sharing of experience and expertise and acts as a Company focus. The operating units, as the major energy consumers, actually conserve it.
Improved energy efficiency comes from better housekeeping and monitoring, modification to existing plants and careful design of new plants. Monitoring is a key area. The principles of monitoring are generally applicable but the degree of sophistication with which they are implemented is dependent on potential savings. In ICI low grade heat recovery has not been a fruitful area so far. The better opportunities have come from improved use of high grade heat, thereby increasing energy effiiency and reducing the amount of low grade heat rejected. The best opportunities of all come from new plants.
In a climate of rising energy costs, higher plant costs and lower growth prospects it is necessary to ensure existing plants are running at maximum efficiency, obtain maximum advantage from every new investment opportunity and consider technology needs for the longer term future.