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The energy cost of manufacturing in the UK

Nicholas Newman Telegraph February 2017
Copyright: <a href=''>kadmy / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Two workers at work in a tool workshop

In 2014, the UK’s energy consumption was equivalent to 142.8 million tonnes of oil, of which certain industrial groups consumed 24 million tonnes alone.

It stands to reason then, that any energy efficiency gains that can be made in Britain’s manufacturing businesses will both save an enormous amount of money for those concerned, as well as a significant chunk of carbon for the country as a whole.

The big energy users in these areas are chemicals manufacturers, metal producers and machiners, and food, beverage and tobacco factories, closely followed by paper, printing and publishing businesses.

In energy-intensive sectors such as refining petroleum, industrial gases, petrochemical products, cement and metals, typical energy costs can amount to 20 pc of operational costs.¹

Even basic goods can take a lot of energy to create. A one-tonne vehicle moving at around 100mph has around one megajoule (MJ) of energy. With that in mind, it takes 25-50 MJ – 6,950 to 13,900 watt-hours (Wh) to make a single kilogram of paper from standing timber and 18-35 MJ (5,000 to 9,700 Wh) to make the same amount of glass from sand.

Pasta is less energy intensive, needing only about 0.8-2.4 MJ per kg,² but a typical car demands 119,150 MJ of energy³ for its build and assembly.

Global engineering company Rolls-Royce aims to reduce its operations and facilities energy use by 30pc (excluding product testing and development) by 2020, according to its 2015 accounts. Read More

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