On-site Trainings
08 Sep 2015

Summary: SPiCE³ has developed a unique approach to implement energy efficiency training. Discover more here on best practice and new findings.



Previous initiatives such as CARE+ have shown that SMEs need more than just tools in order to implement energy efficiency measures. Equally important is the exchange of information with and personal contact to other companies in the sector. Easy access to information is crucial to launch energy efficiency efforts. In order to ensure that, SPiCE³ has developed a unique approach to combine the implementation of workshops and trainings with using this website to share new findings and best practices with other companies.


The purpose of the on-site trainings was to provide SMEs with concrete technical support to help them take steps towards improving their energy efficiency. These included half-day site visits by energy experts who gave recommendations on how SMEs could better tap their energy efficiency potential by using currently available tools or participating in relevant initiatives.

Carrying out the on-site trainings

The national chemical federations undertook a thorough screening of potential SMEs to ensure that at least 20 SMEs representing a broad cross-section of the chemicals sector have the possibility to implement measures recommended by energy experts.

The national federations organising the on-site trainings are: essenscia (BE), SCHP (CZ), SC Sviluppo (IT) and VCI (DE):

essenscia aimed to work with engineering companies having sufficient experience on energy efficiency issues within the industry and capable of tackling both process and utility related matters. Sense Engineering and Siemens were chosen following these criteria and based on the assumption that they could offer qualitative on-site trainings able of responding to any specific question from a typical SME of the chemical industry.

For 66% of the SMEs participating in the programme, the on-site trainings consisted of an analysis of the whole production site leading to opportunities of improvement on the process, the building and the utilities. For another 17%, this exercise was focused on waste heat, while for the remaining 17% it consisted of the analysis of the setup of a measurement campaign and performance indicators.

Energy efficiency measures identified

  • Automatisation of air heating
  • De-stratification of the air group
  • Insulation of the warm water network
  • Insulation of the thermal oil network
  • Installation of an expansion tube on the sanitary hot water
  • Avoidance of using central heating during summer
  • Improvement of lighting systems and storage
  • Installation of presence detectors
  • Monitoring of the hot water system temperature
  • Decrease of compressed air leakages
  • Avoidance of compressed air production when there is no production

In the Czech Republic there are many seminars and conferences on the topic of energy and energy savings. The majority of these are, however, paid events so companies do not attend them as they lack the time and financial resources to direct their attention to anything different from their core business. Given that the SPiCE3 project offered workshops and advice free of charge, SCHP concentrated its efforts on raising awareness among companies of the importance of investing in energy-saving measures.

The on-site training programme was launched during the autumn of 2014 following a series of workshops, from which SCHP drew the first group of on-site training candidates (the most effective method for engaging staff from SMEs into the project has been through personal contact).

Approach used

Once an SME was brought onboard for an on-site training, SCHP firstly conducted introductory interviews after which a simple questionnaire was sent, requesting information on the type of energy used, the basic processes of production and other data needed for the next stage of the trainings (a visit by an energy expert). The expert spent time on-site with the company, firstly, discussing energy issues with the company representative (e.g. the energy manager), followed by a visit to the production facility. After this, a brief meeting on the visit was held to allow the company management to provide its first conclusions from the visit. Subsequently, the energy expert sent the company a brief report (and contacted the company via telephone or email) in which the most significant savings opportunities were outlined, including a rough estimate of the anticipated savings in energy costs and greenhouse gas savings.

Key findings

  • SMEs prefer energy efficiency projects having short payback times
  • In most companies there was significant potential for the utilisation of waste/surplus heat
  • Knowledge and awareness of energy efficiency, energy legislation and ensuing obligations varied among SMEs
  • Energy managers had insufficient information on funding opportunities for applying energy saving measures
  • No, or poor cooperation within the companies usually translated itself into the energy efficiency potential being overlooked

Energy efficiency measures identified

  • Utilisation of waste heat for preheating the feedstock
  • Use of waste heat for heating buildings
  • Utilisation of waste heat for electricity production
  • Replacement of electrical heating using waste heat
  • Generation of electricity based on Organic Rankine cycle (ORC) technology
  • Replacement of electric motors or electric control change
  • General savings in electricity consumption (connections/transformers)
  • Improving management of compressors or replacement of compressors
  • Removing the steam distribution lower pressure levels
  • Replacement of boilers
  • Decentralisation of heating sources (possible in some companies)
  • Storage space insulation (including, for example, insulation doors)
  • Administrative buildings insulation
  • Installation of infrared heaters in the storage space
  • Replacing of outdoor lighting/replacement for new and more efficient light sources

With energy prices in Europe higher than other parts of the world, one way in which Italian companies are cutting costs is reducing the amount of energy they use which is considered a relatively easy issue to tackle.

The SME audits carried out within the context of the CARE+ Project (executed during the period 2010-2011) required significant efforts to involve SMEs, as it was important to obtain the right technical information within a precise timeframe. During the on-site trainings within the context of the SPICE3 project, almost all SMEs were already aware to some degree of the importance of energy costs and were able to correctly quantify their energy consumption and identify the critical areas of their facilities (often spotting themselves the right measures which could be implemented).

In most of the audited SMEs, the commitment came directly from the upper management, while valuable support was provided by technical managers of the installations (normally in charge of carrying out the actual checking and controlling of all relevant processes and energy-related activities).

Key findings

  • All audited chemical companies still appreciated very much the technical documents and tools offered to them
  • Most of the audited chemical companies already used their own special internal documents to regularly monitor energy consumption and costs
  • The use renewable energy sources is not widespread among SMEs (only 15% of the SMES have already invested in a photovoltaic plant)
  • Energy costs in chemical companies show a high degree of variability if compared to total turnover, ranging from 0.2 to 7.5%
  • The different cost structure and relative importance of energy costs is evidenced by an absolute value for energy costs ranging from € 15,000 to about € 7.5 million
  • Almost all audited companies believe they have a minimum energy cost savings potential of about 8 to 10%, with investments having a payback period of 2.4 years on average
  • Around 40% of the audited SMEs had ordered or made final projects for the realisation of a cogeneration plant (two of them had made such investment in 2008, decreasing energy costs by more than 20% per year)
  • Only 20% of the companies have an energy management system in place. This kind of management system would help all other chemical companies in reaching better energy objectives and results

Energy efficiency measures identified

  • Installation of IE4 electrical motors/VSD drives (inverter) and corrosion resistant electrical equipments
  • Use of high pressure blowers (Robuschi type) instead of compressed air for some processes
  • Heat recovery system on air compressors
  • Adoption of a supervisory system (SCADA or DCS) and an energy management system for the plant
  • New tanks for raw material with hot water heating system, instead of electrical devices
  • LED lighting systems in offices, storage and parking areas coupled with timers and occupancy sensors
  • Improved steam distribution, new steam traps and full condensate recovery

Approach used

Since the beginning of the SPiCE³ in project in September 2013, the VCI team set in motion the process of searching for a suitable energy consulting company for the trainings (planned to take place during the summer months). This search was undertaken in the form of a public tender. With "WiRo Consultants", a highly experienced engineering firm in the industrial and chemical area in the fields of energy efficiency, energy-related taxes and cost allocations as well as in the field of energy management, a highly suitable project partner was won for the project.

The process of engaging the participants into the project was carried out in a multi-stage communication approach. With this targeted and technically sound approach, VCI was able to secure 20 participants for the trainings in Germany. In particular, the workshops in the regions have appreciably and sustainably attracted the attention of participants to the project. The interaction between the project partners, WiRo Consultants and VCI has been deemed positive by the participants.

The on-site trainings themselves were, due to the varying challenges, questions and topics of the participants, individually crafted and diverse. Topics ranged from efficiency issues (gas turbines, lighting, PV systems, industry-specific production equipment, hot water and steam applications); on energy-related legal regulations and innovations (eco-tax-applications, peak shaving, EDL-G, funding) to power management issues (EnMS 50001, energy audits by EDL-G, energy efficiency networks). In the reports created to follow up on the on-site trainings the saving potentials (one to five measures on average) were listed and assessed.

Energy efficiency measures identified

  • Targeted use of compressor waste heat and air intake for compressors as cool as possible
  • Replacement of hydraulic drives against electrical direct drives
  • If hydraulic drives cannot be avoided: hydraulic driving pumps with IE2 or better IE3 motors
  • Scannig of all drives and in particular replacement of the "long runners" with efficient IE2 and IE3 motors
  • Establishment of a structurally solid and well-insulated barrel-preheating
  • New LED lights systems and presence detectors
  • Social building thermal insulation
  • Check whether drive of one (or two) compressor (s) can be taken out of service
  • Check whether atypical grid usage exists
  • Installation of sub-meters for electricity and natural gas and implementation of an energy monitoring

For more information about on-site trainings, please contact:

  • Contact point
  • Name
  • Guy Parker
  • Organisation
  • Cefic
  • Position
  • Manager Energy and Climate Policy
  • Phone
  • +32 2 676 7367
  • E-mail
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


( Be first to rate this item! ) 

rc-logo  eu-logo  cefic-logo 

Powered by