Solvay Energy transition actions

127 PJ

primary energy consumption

101 PJ

Fuel consumption from non-renewable sources

Definition

Solvay’s energy consumption is made up of four components:

  1. Non-renewable primary fuels (coal, petcoke, natural gas, fuel oil, etc.), which are used for internal production of steam, electricity, and mechanical energy, and in manufacturing processes (coke and anthracite in lime kilns, gas in dryers, etc.);
  2. Renewable primary fuels (biomass);
  3. Purchased steam;
  4. Purchased electricity.

To comply with Global Reporting Initiative requirements, steam and electricity generated from fuels and sold to a third party are deducted from the total. Energy that is purchased and sold afterwards to a third party without any transformation is not accounted for.

Management approach

In the field of energy supply, Solvay has consistently implemented programs to reduce its energy consumption for many years. While Solvay has industrial activities such as synthetic Soda Ash plants and Peroxides – mainly in Europe – that consume large amounts of energy, it also operates a range of industrial activities whose energy content is relatively low as a percentage of the sales price, especially in the fluorinated Polymers business. The Group considers secure and competitive energy supplies to be particularly important and has taken the following strategic initiatives:

  • Technological leadership in processes and high-performance industrial operations to minimize energy consumption;
  • Diversification and flexible use of the different types and sources of primary energy;
  • Upstream integration in steam and electricity generation (gas cogeneration, biomass or secondary fuels cogeneration, etc.);
  • Periodic review of the condition of industrial sites’ energy assets and connections;
  • A strategy of supply coverage with long-term partnerships and medium- to long-term contracts, with price-hedging protection mechanisms when needed;
  • Direct access to energy markets when possible (gas hubs, electrical grids, financial spot and futures exchanges);
  • Regular forecast reports on energy and raw material price trends, which are sent to business to anticipate sales price realignments. 

Solvay Energy Services optimizes energy purchasing and consumption for the Group and helps Global Business Units manage energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy being a key factor for Solvay’s activities, Solvay has committed itself to reducing its energy consumption by 10% (1.3% per year on average) by 2020 compared to 2012 at constant activity scope. To achieve this ambitious target, Solvay has stepped up its SOLWATT® energy efficiency program, which aims to continuously optimize the industrial processes involved in its energy production and supply.

Solvay has taken concrete steps in the form of large investments, such as the start-up of the mega hydrogen peroxide (HP) plant in Saudi Arabia and the recent replacement of two gas turbines with more efficient units, one in the Spinetta cogeneration unit (Italy) and one in the Rosignano cogeneration unit (Italy). In 2018 Solvay increased its biomass heat production by starting up a new biomass-fired boiler in Zhangjiagang (China) and investing in a new biomass boiler in Rheinberg (Germany).

SOLWATT® energy efficiency program

The Group has reduced its overall energy intensity by 6% since 2012. One of the key factors in this progress has been the SOLWATT® energy efficiency program. The improvement plan follows three approaches in parallel:

  1. By developing the use of high-efficiency cogeneration plants, the Group is improving the generation efficiency of secondary energy such as steam and electricity. Two turbines were replaced with more efficient units in 2017: one in Spinetta and one in Rosignano. Electrical efficiency at those two cogeneration installations improved by 4%;
  2. In 2016, the second phase of the SOLWATT® program was launched. By the end of 2018, the deployment of this second phase had covered most of the sites with significant energy consumption, representing 41% of Group energy consumption;
  3. New and remodeled plants are optimized for energy consumption and generation.

In 2018, Solvay continued to disseminate technological breakthroughs to improve the overall energy efficiency of its operations. 

Indicators and objectives

Energy intensity

In 2012, Solvay undertook to reduce its energy consumption by 10% (1.3% per year on average) by 2020 at constant activity scope. Its energy intensity indicator covers both primary energy from fuels (coal, petcoke, coke, anthracite, fuel-oil, natural gas, biomass, etc.) and from purchased steam and electricity.

Solvay’s objective:

2020

-10%

of energy consumption at constant activity scope

Baseline 2012

Energy efficiency index – Baseline 100% in 2012

In %

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

Scope: energy index at constant activity scope reflects the change in energy consumption on a comparable basis after adjusting the historical scope to take into account scope changes and making adjustments for changes in production volumes from one year to the next.

Energy efficiency index

 

93

 

94

 

94

 

96

Energy consumption

In 2018, primary energy consumption was 3 PJ lower than in 2017. This variation is attributable mainly to the shutdown of the electrolysis unit in Torrelavega in Spain (1.2 PJ), a change in steam supply in Bernburg in Germany (1 PJ), and a reduction of steam consumption in Rosignano in Italy (0.7 PJ). The rest of the variation (0.1 PJ) is linked to energy savings projects and production changes.

In petajoules low heating value (PJ)

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: this indicator shows the primary energy consumption over a given year related to the manufacturing activities of the companies that are currently consolidated (fully or proportionately). The primary energy consumption of the companies in the financial sphere represents 82% of the total primary energy consumption of all companies in the operational sphere.

Primary energy consumption

 

127

 

130

 

138

Fuel consumption from non-renewable sources

In petajoules low heating value (PJ)

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Solid fuels

 

46

 

46

 

47

 

49

Liquid fuels

 

0.5

 

0.4

 

2

 

1

Gaseous fuels

 

55

 

54

 

55

 

57

Total

 

101

 

100

 

104

 

107

Fuel consumption from non-renewable sources in 2018 was more stable than in 2017, and there were no significant changes in energy sourcing.

Fuel consumption from renewable sources

In petajoules low heating value (PJ)

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Renewable fuel consumption

 

4

 

3

 

4

 

5

Biomass consumption increased in 2018 with the startup of a new biomass-fired boiler in Zhangjiagang (China).

Secondary energy purchased for consumption

In petajoules low heating value (PJ)

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Electricity

 

28

 

30

 

30

 

40

Heating

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

Cooling

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

Steam

 

18

 

20

 

22

 

23

Total secondary energy purchased

 

45

 

49

 

53

 

63

In 2018, secondary energy purchased for consumption was 3 PJ lower than in 2017.

Energy sold

In petajoules low heating value (PJ)

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Electricity

 

11

 

11

 

12

 

11

Heating

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

Cooling

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

Steam

 

12

 

11

 

12

 

14

Total energy sold

 

23

 

22

 

23

 

26

In 2018, the sale of self-generated secondary energy to third parties increased by 1 PJ. The evolution is explained by an increase of sales of 0.7 PJ in Brotas (Brazil) and 0.4 PJ in Torrelavega (SP).