of Using Natural Gas in Plastics Processing
Gas-based technologies can offer significant energy cost savings for plastics
requires a tremendous amount of energy. Approximately 95% of the 280 trillion
Btus of energy consumed by the 30,000 plastics processing plants in the U.S. and
Canada is electricity. Surprisingly, many processors have no idea how much electrical
energy they use for a specific process, how to calculate its cost, or how this
cost compares with alternative energy sources. This is especially true when trying
to compare the cost of electricity to natural gas. Yet this comparison can reveal
a way to shave thousands of dollars per month off a plastic processor's operating
below shows a relative comparison of average energy costs for electricity and
natural gas. This simple average comparison highlights a four-fold energy cost
differential that favors natural gas. Electricity costs can be extremely difficult
to calculate for a specific site depending upon: time of day, day of week, plant
demand, applicable demand ratchet charges and various other factors. When end-use
efficiencies are factored in with operating conditions, overall energy savings
can be calculated. Of course, site specific values always need to be used when
evaluating your gas-based application's energy savings.
Equipment manufacturers have developed a portfolio of gas products to help plastic
processors be more competitive.
manufacturers have recognized the value of the processing advantages that natural
gas can provide their customers in today's increasingly competitive world. They
have found this so true that multiple products for each technology are sold by
several vendors. This sets up a competitive situation that drives down the capital
equipment costs and lowers the overall costs to produce the final product while
improving quality, reducing scrap and increasing productivity.
Gas companies have their distribution lines where the plastics processors are
In other words,
the gas industry is where the plastics industry is. The map to the right shows
where the major gas distribution lines are throughout the country.