Swedish manufacturer Alfa Laval is working on reducing its “scope 3” carbon emissions, both those produced upstream of its operations and those produced downstream, according to the company’s 2021 annual and sustainability report, which was released in March 2022. An important part of that effort involves its heat exchangers.
Upstream emissions generally come from Alfa Laval’s suppliers, while downstream emissions are produced by use of its products such as heat exchangers.
For example, in 2020 the company’s heat exchangers, which are used in ammonia/NH3 (R717) applications, reduced energy use in industrial processes by around 50GW, which is equivalent to reducing 25 million metric tons of CO2e, the company says in the report.
“There is no doubt that [we have] the technology and competence to make a valuable contribution to decarbonizing the energy industry,” says Alfa Laval. “[Our] compact plate heat exchanger technology, for example, is 20–50% more energy efficient than conventional technology.”
“There is no doubt that [we have] the technology and competence to make a valuable contribution to decarbonizing the energy industry. [Our] compact plate heat exchanger technology, for example, is 20–50% more energy efficient than conventional technology.”Alfa Laval
Alfa Laval is targeting downstream emissions by better facilitating the servicing and maintenance of its plate heat exchangers, which can boost performance and efficiency.
According to the company’s annual report, “it is estimated that up to 2.5% of the world’s CO2 emissions could be prevented if the heat exchangers currently installed in industrial processes were simply cleaned and maintained properly.”
To assist these efforts, Alfa Laval is working with Microsoft to develop a suite of digital tools that will enable customers to make self-assessments to determine if and what services are needed.
During 2021, the manufacturer also opened four new service centers across Europe to provide a hub for cleaning, maintaining and upgrading customers’ equipment.
With respect to upstream emissions, heat exchangers are a major focus of Alfa Laval’s sustainability efforts.
It was recently announced that Alfa Laval has partnered with SSAB, a Sweden- and U.S.-based steel company, to develop and commercialize the world’s first heat exchanger made with fossil-free steel. This is one of the first step on the company’s journey to developing a carbon-neutral heat exchanger by 2030. In addition to the hydrogen-reduced steel, the heat exchanger will include recycled materials and be easily recycled.
Impact of scope 3 emissions
According to the company’s report, scope 3 emissions account for around 98% of its total impact, and Alfa Laval aims to reduce these emissions by 50% by 2030. The manufacturer also aims to reach net zero for its scope 1 emissions (direct from its operations) and scope 2 emissions (indirect, or use of electricity provided by power plants) that year.
“We are convinced that we will be carbon neutral by 2030, as many of our products reduce carbon emissions from industrial processes significantly,” said Alfa Laval. “We work actively to reduce our own carbon footprint across the value chain and at the same time introduce technologies that ensure customers’ processes become as energy efficient as possible and enable the transition to clean energy sources.”
In addition to sourcing more sustainable materials and improving product efficiency, Alfa Laval is working to replace natural gas as a heating source in its production facilities, investing in waste heat recovery and improving the energy efficiency of its operations.
In 2021, the company reduced energy consumption by 1,800MWh through efficiency improvements and reduced its scope 2 emissions by 58% by switching to renewable electricity, which makes up 91% of its electricity sources. The company is also working to lower the impact of its distribution network by shifting to modes of transport with lower carbon footprints.
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