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Benefits of Using Natural Gas in Plastics Processing

1. Gas-based technologies can offer significant energy cost savings for plastics processors.

Plastics processing 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 budget.

The table 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.

2. Equipment manufacturers have developed a portfolio of gas products to help plastic processors be more competitive.

Original equipment 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.

3. Gas companies have their distribution lines where the plastics processors are located.

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.