Is green manufacturing really possible?
For centuries, industrialization in general and manufacturing in particular have been associated with the “dark satanic mills” the English poet William Blake made famous in his poem “Jerusalem.”
But in the twenty-first century, manufacturers increasingly understand that the future of their industry will rely on their ability to embrace green technology and make their production lines as efficient and environmentally-friendly as possible.
In order to do this, many manufacturers have adopted new technologies and techniques to help reduce waste, use less energy, and streamline production.
If you are interested in learning more about how manufacturing is becoming greener, here are just a few of the modern tools transforming the manufacturing sector.
Energy Capture Technologies
In an age when the global economy is trying to wean itself off its historic reliance on fossil fuels, energy capture is one of the most important technologies available to manufacturers.
The principle behind energy capture is that large amounts of electricity are wasted generating heat or light which is then dispersed into the atmosphere. Energy capture is about returning as much energy as possible to the grid to help shrink the carbon footprint and make manufacturing more efficient.
One of the most valuable tools for energy capture in the modern factory are efficient cross flow plate heat exchangers designed to deliver heat transfer solutions that recycle as much energy as possible.
Because these heat exchangers are used for everything from drying raw plastics to processing olive pits, the energy capture gains they make possible could have a significant impact on overall energy use in manufacturing.
Carbon Capture and Storage
As scientists warn that drastic measures to reduce emissions are necessary to avoid the impending climate collapse, developing better carbon capture technologies has become one of the most urgent priorities in manufacturing today.
Carbon capture and storage is based on the principle that the carbon from burned fossil fuels can be intercepted, captured, and stored before it reaches the atmosphere.
While technology has existed to capture some of the carbon produced by conventional smokestacks, recent breakthroughs have made it much easier and more affordable for manufacturers to employ these carbon capture technologies.
But carbon capture is only the first step, and once the carbon has been collected, it needs to be stored somewhere. Naturally, this is cause for environmental concerns, as large amounts of carbon being pumped into rivers or lakes would have a disastrous impact on these ecosystems and the humans who rely on them.
Fortunately, innovations into storage are finding ways to turn this carbon into a useful resource — attempts are currently underway to use recovered carbon to make concrete.
While manufacturing still has some way to go before becoming completely carbon-neutral and zero waste, industry leaders have started to adopt green technology at greater rates.
Every year innovators are finding better ways to deliver green manufacturing solutions, and with enough public pressure and government support, a more sustainable industrial system is slowly being built.