Approximation of theoretical energy-saving potentials for the petrochemical industry using energy balances for 68 key processes

M.L. Neelis, M.K. Patel, P. Bach, W.G. Haije, K. Blok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We prepared energy and carbon balances for 68 petrochemical processes in the petrochemical industry for Western Europe, the Netherlands and the world. We analysed the process energy use in relation to the heat effects of the chemical reactions and quantified in this way the sum of all energy inputs into the processes that do not end up in the useful products of the process, but are lost as waste heat to the environment. We showed that both process energy use and heat effects of reaction contribute significantly to the overall energy loss of the processes studied and recommend addressing reaction effects explicitly in energy-efficiency studies. We estimated the energy loss in Western Europe in the year 2000 at 1620 PJ of final energy and 1936 PJ of primary energy, resulting in a total of 127 Mt CO2. The losses identified can be regarded as good approximations of the theoretical energy-saving potentials of the processes analysed. The processes with large energy losses in relative (per tonne of product) and absolute (in PJ per year) terms are recommended for more detailed analysis taking into account further thermodynamic, economic, and practical considerations to identify technical and economic energy-saving potentials.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1104-1123
Number of pages20
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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