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Assessment of energy efficiency improvement opportunities and the long-term potential for greenhouse gas mitigation in industrial sector

  • Author / Creator
    Talaei, Alireza
  • Concerns about climate change have resulted in a global agreement on the need for collective actions to reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Canada, the 9th largest global GHG emitter, the industrial sector is a major source of GHG emissions, accounting for 37% of the national emissions. This highlights the significant role the sector could play in helping Canada achieve its ambitious GHG emission reductions goals set under several international agreements. In this study, a decomposition model was developed to analyze historical trends and the factors driving increasing emissions trends in Canada’s industrial sector. While the main driver was found to be the sector’s increasing activity level, fuel switching and energy efficiency improvement have contributed for emissions reduction. Historical energy efficiency improvement trends differ by sub-sector. In the past few years, the energy intensity of petroleum refining was almost constant; the iron and steel sector has benefited from structural changes, mainly due to increasing share of secondary steel production compared to primary steel production; and the cement industry has undergone changes that improved its energy efficiency by 10% in less than one decade. The analysis suggests, moreover, that Canadian chemical industries are among the best performing worldwide, mainly due to the consumption of natural gas as both feedstock and a source of energy.A comprehensive and data-intensive framework was developed in the Long-range Energy Alternative Planning (LEAP) model to assess future GHG mitigation potential from the different industrial sub-sectors. Detailed process-level analysis was conducted for different manufacturing industries to identify the major energy-consuming processes. The results were then used to develop energy consumption demand trees.Long-term scenario analysis was conducted at the provincial level for the chemical and petroleum industries and national level for the cement and iron and steel industries. Baseline scenarios were developed to project long-term energy consumption and GHG emissions. The baseline scenarios were developed based on the analysis of the historical trends and by considering the confirmed governmental and sectoral development plans. A comprehensive review was then conducted to identify the applicable energy efficiency measures in the major energy-consuming processes. For each energy efficiency measure, detailed desktop studies, industry consultation, and in some cases process simulation were carried out to assess the techno-economic performance of the measure, including energy intensity, capital, and operation and maintenance costs, and their long-term penetration in the Canadian industrial sector. These data were incorporated in the LEAP model to develop GHG mitigation scenarios and GHG abatement cost curves. For two time periods (2010-2030 and 2010-2050), 20, 52, 28 and 22 GHG mitigation scenarios were developed for the cement, iron and steel, chemical, and petroleum refining industries, respectively. In the cement industry, the cumulative GHG emissions reduction potential was calculated to be 27.3 MtCO2eq and 59.9 MTCO2eq by 2030 and 2050, respectively. In both time periods, 70% of GHG emissions options in the sector are economically attractive. In the iron and steel sector, the implementation of energy efficiency measures was found to result in 5% GHG emissions reduction in both 2030 and 2050 time horizons. More than 90% of the overall achievable GHG emissions reductions were economically attractive. In the chemical industry, the overall cumulative GHG emissions reduction potentials were calculated to be 7.1 and 29.7 MTCO2eq by 2030 and 2050, respectively, more than three-quarters of these are economically attractive. Compared to the baseline scenario, 5% of the emissions from petroleum refining industries can be reduced by implementing different energy efficiency measures in both time periods of the study. Almost 60% of the achievable GHG emissions reduction is economically attractive. The results of the analysis provide invaluable inputs to policy makers on the long-term potential for sectoral GHG mitigation, its associated cost, and specific areas of energy efficiency improvement to be considered when developing regional and national climate policies. In addition, with the existing and emerging environmental regulations in the carbon-constrained world, the results of this study can be effectively used by industrial stakeholders for their future investment and development decisions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-sk80-9z60
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.