Sustainable Energy Carrier Investments : A case study on the drywall manufacturing industry

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för industriell ekonomi

Abstract: Background According to the United Nations, climate change is one of the most challenging and urgent problems. To reduce emissions, various regulations have been introduced. Emissions trading (EU-ETS) and carbon dioxide tax are two economic instruments aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The industrial sector in Sweden today accounts for 31% of carbon dioxide emissions, and a common fossil energy carrier used is liquified petroleum gas (LPG). When LPG is burned, carbon dioxide is produced, contributing to climate change. By replacing LPG with a sustainable energy carrier, industries can reduce costs associated with emissions and thus increase competitiveness while lowering environmental impact. Therefore, there is a need for a framework that deals with both the economic and environmental impact that arises if alternative sustainable energy carriers replace LPG. Objectives The study’s objective is to evaluate alternative energy carriers that can phase out the use of LPG. The contribution of this study is a framework that analyzes and visualizes the economic and sustainable benefits of changing energy carriers. Methods A techno-economic model was developed by evaluating economic and sustainable indicators. A case study was conducted on a company that uses LPG in its manufacturing process. Eight different scenarios were set up where various energy carriers are used. Data concerning the different scenarios were collected. The scenarios were compared and analyzed based on the model to see which alternative energy carriers generate economic and sustainable improvements. Results The results from the case study show that all scenarios had an increased environmental performance compared to LPG. Either by reduced CO2 emissions or by being carbon dioxide neutral. From an economic perspective, only one scenario is more favorable than LPG, Bio- LPG. Bio-LPG reduces the total cost by 28.5%. Conclusions The study presents a model that can evaluate alternative energy carriers from an economic and environmental perspective. In many cases, a trade-off was discovered either being sustainable at a high cost or paying fees for emissions at a lower price. Alternative energy carriers exist with less environmental impact. Still, the technology for many of them is not sufficiently developed for large-scale production and use, which means that the cost is too high. Depending on the company's business strategy, the model can visualize the effects of a possible change of energy carrier.

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