The challenges in becoming energy efficient in heavy industries and 4 ways to achieve it


Heavy industries consisting of cement, iron, steel, chemicals, and petrochemicals, account for almost 30% of the global energy demand. These industries are the supply source of a significant fraction of the raw material for the secondary industries. Due to their production processes and the nature of products manufactured, heavy industry substantially impacts the environment. The heavy industries account for around 22% of global greenhouse gas emissions and pose other environmental hazards like chemical leakage, oil spills, and extensive water usage. This article discusses the challenges and methods to achieve energy efficiency in heavy industries. The article also suggests 4 different methods to achieve energy efficiency in these industries.

Although heavy industries have played a significant role in India's economic growth, their high energy consumption is a cause for concern. Even now, most industrial processes are powered using energy extracted from traditional fuels, and the sector accounts for almost 25% of India's total greenhouse gas emissions. Without making efforts to decarbonize the heavy industries, India will not be able to level up to its initiatives determined to contribute toward the Paris Agreement. Emissions emanating from conventional energy usage are the major factor behind the manufacturing-related emissions, which accounted for almost 70% of industrial emissions recorded between 2005-2015, owing to energy use. Reducing the energy-intensive nature of the heavy industrial sectors would surely result in a drastic decrease in emissions which will eventually support increasing the energy efficiency of the establishments.

4 ways to achieve energy efficiency in heavy industries:

The following section discusses 4 different ways to achieve energy efficiency in heavy industries: -

1. Carrying out innovations in the heavy industry

With the growing levels of technical development, advancement in the heavy industries should be counted as the foremost priority of all the growing economies. The innovations in the heavy industries can be a dominant indicator of India's economic growth. To support these technical advancements, the Danfoss AC drives can be employed, which provide multiple advantages consisting of extending the equipment lifecycle, optimizing system processes, reducing the maintenance cost, and carrying out additional energy savings. The conventional industrial systems can be retrofitted using advanced Danfoss drives to increase the system's overall energy and performance efficiency.

2. Boosting the demand for near-zero emission technologies

Energy efficiency is undoubtedly the quickest and one of the most affordable methods to decarbonize our economy and guarantee safe, reliable, and sustainable energy for the various requirements on the planet.

The government needs to boost the demand for materials that employ near-zero emissions. This can include supporting commercial plants employing innovative applications in different technologies. For example, Danfoss is the market leader in Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). Danfoss high-quality drives can be customized as per the specific requirements of your industrial applications and machinery like industrial refrigeration and ammonia refrigeration compressors.

Furthermore, the Danfoss air conditioning compressors reduce OPEX throughout the entire product lifespan in the air conditioning applications. The Danfoss compressors support system modifications for the high-efficiency performance of HVAC systems and the use of alternative refrigerants for commercial and industrial HVAC applications, including rooftop units, air conditioning systems, chillers, packaged units, etc.

3. Working together with all the stakeholders

In order to achieve energy efficiency and reduce the emissions to near zero in heavy industries, all the stakeholders like the consultants, contractors, and clients should work hand in hand with a common objective. The industrial expertise of Danfoss can play a major role in bridging the gaps in the energy-efficient applications of these industries. Using Danfoss energy-efficient solutions in building, 30% energy savings can be achieved on average, and the investment costs are paid back in just two years; similar applications can be carried out in heavy industries to achieve near-zero emissions.

4. Agreeing to common and viable industry standards

International standards should be formulated to assess the different types of emissions that are produced in the production process of materials in heavy industries. The government of different nations should agree on a common set of standards and reporting parameters that would help to assess the emission levels and devise methods for their reduction to achieve near zero emissions.

Governments should devise several policy measures to scale up the efficiency of investments in advanced technologies and target-based business solutions in the sector. These measures can include regulations, operating procedures, incentives, and information to move forward toward energy-efficient practices. The suggested measures can boost energy efficiency across the sector as they support the installation of energy-efficient equipment, production processes optimization through enhanced controls and maintenance, and retrofitting using energy-efficient and less carbon-intensive solutions.


As more and more countries are marching towards attaining net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, heavy industry will indeed become the aim of increasingly strict environmental regulations. Nevertheless, the increasing demand for energy, mining, construction, and other heavy industrial applications will continue to grow parallel to the growth of the global population in the 21st century.

The digitalization of Danfoss Drives enables the organizations with insights to strive forward in this dynamically changing world. The range of Danfoss solutions consists of the most dedicated drive solutions and best-in-class expertise for the heavy industries. Danfoss drives can be your valuable partner to help you formulate best-in-class solutions targeted for heavy industrial applications. Using the Danfoss technological solutions, you can seamlessly optimize your heavy industry applications, reducing initial and ongoing project costs and achieving near-zero emissions to develop energy-efficient systems.