Energy efficiency in the South African cement finishing plant: drivers, barriers and improvement.
Ige, Oluwafemi Ezekiel.
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The cement production is an energy demanding industry that requires a high degree of attention regarding energy use in South Africa. Within the last decade, South Africa has faced a shortage of electricity supply, because the maximum electricity demand has invaded the net maximum capacity and the margin of the reserve storage is reduced. This study investigates a range of barriers, drivers and opportunities to improve the energy performance of a cement plant in South Africa, in order to provide the information necessary to sustain energy efficiency improvement efforts within the cement industry. Energy efficiency can be defined as a cost-effective method of reducing cost of energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, resulting in extra quality of production and increased environmental benefits. Energy efficiency is widely accepted as an effective tool for improving the global energy situation. Prudent energy use by industry is a solution for a sustainable environment and industrial development. Energy efficiency and energy management cost-effective use measures provide industry with successful ways of achieving economic and social dividends in order to reduce harmful environmental impact of energy usage. Unfortunately, industries from less developed countries are slow in adopting energy efficiency and management measures; therefore, they lack the paybacks of energy efficiency implementation. This work aims to increase awareness of the need for development of South Africa’s industrial energy efficiency and industrial management policies by exploring the current energy efficiency and management practices of one of the oldest cement plants in South Africa. The study also included a survey of barriers and drivers for implementing energy efficiency measures in cement finishing mill plant; and clarified the basis for the adoption and non-adoption of cost-saving energy efficiency in South Africa industries. This research was an exploratory type of the study, conducted by means of semi-structured interviews. The survey was conducted in two parts. In the first part, asked about the plant’s energy management policies that in place. In the second part, asked the respondent to complete a prepared questionnaire that cover all aspects of the study. The results show that poor energy management within the plant and low energy efficiency measures lead to an energy efficiency gap in the plant. Furthermore, it shows that important barriers that hinder the implementation of cost-effective measures within the plant are mainly due to economic related barriers to rational behavior, which are associated with the lack of plant energy efficiency due to the organization structure. The study also found that organizational benefits related to “environmental company profile” and “environmental management systems” followed by economic benefits associated to “cost reductions resulting from lower energy use” are the most high-ranking drivers of energy efficiency measures within the plant.