We are very conscious of our environmental footprint. It’s one of the reasons why we launched the Solwatt® energy efficiency program.
This program assists industrial sites in their efforts to reduce energy consumption. While our teams focus on reducing energy use, Solwatt® also has a direct and positive impact on CO2 emissions.
The key aim of Solwatt® is to create a sustainable culture of energy efficiency in the plants we visit. By making energy use an integral part of everyday work, we can ensure that sites will continue to focus on it once the Solwatt® team leave.
Tracking optimization opportunities
We started Solwatt® in 2011 using two pilot projects at Solvay’s own sites in Spain. Solwatt® has since been deployed around the world to include almost every Solvay site. But the offer is not limited to Solvay sites. We are also rolling out our Solwatt® methodology to third-party industrial companies.
Initially we aim to reduce the energy bill of each site by 10% through projects that have a payback within three years. The Solwatt® methodology has three strands: technical analysis, development of energy indicators, and mindset and behavior. Each strand is deployed in parallel.
We have recently completed the implementation of Solwatt® at Solvay’s Belle-Etoile facility. Working together with the plant’s Energy team, Solwatt® identified 15 actions which could reduce energy consumption. These actions represented a potential 13% saving on the plant’s energy bill.
Solwatt® team with the plant’s Energy team
Tracking existing energy use was critically important, but management maintained responsibility for this task. Solwatt® gave this responsibility back to the operators who know their processes and machines, and work with them on a daily basis. Indicators are defined in practical terms so that operators quickly notice when there is a problem, and can immediately take the required action to reduce energy use.
We observed daily production meetings to share information and check that energy remains on the agenda. The Solwatt® team were there to monitor how energy concerns are passed on from one shift to the next and to help develop training and communications tools. This is a common approach for safety issues, and needs to become routine for energy.
Highly experienced team brings synergies
Once the Belle-Etoile site had completed a technical analysis of its energy use, we use the defined energy indicators to identify areas for improvement. Here our added value becomes apparent. As we have performed these assessments at sites around the world, we have a transversal view. We can also involve centralized process experts where needed. Together we can spot synergies and apply best practices across plants that have similar processes.
Any physical changes required to implement new systems or other energy saving measures are led by the site itself. The plant takes responsibility for implementing the works in line with their normal workload and maintenance schedule. At Belle-Étoile the plant’s maintenance team decided to split the works over three years to make best use of their resources. The Solwatt® team does regular follow-ups to ensure each plant is maintaining its focus on energy saving and to help identify new areas for improvement.
Our team has almost finished rolling out Solwatt® to all Solvay sites, but our work is not over. As well as doing follow-ups in Solvay plants, we are developing the Solwatt® methodology further, based on our experiences.
“We consider the Solwatt® project a complete success. We now have to implement the opportunities identified by Solwatt®. It’s a great challenge for 2016."
Mouloud Tazibt, Operation and Maintenance Manager, Belle-Étoile
Solwatt® is completely aligned with the international standard for energy management systems (ISO 50001). Many sites have received this accreditation within months of completing the Solwatt® program.
Solwatt® has been such a success within Solvay that it is now being rolled-out to third-party companies around the world. Within six to nine weeks, the Solwatt® team can help any industrial business to create a culture of energy efficiency and develop an action plan to reduce its energy bill over the long term. It’s an approach that makes sense for both the environment and the bottom line.
Solvay has also committed to step up the Solwatt® program internally as part of our 2025 Sustainable Chemistry objectives.