Huntsman’s quest for energy efficiency begins long before manufacturing products

Six years ago, Huntsman took a close look at its own method for distributing propylene oxide. Huntsman ships 180 million to 210 million pounds of propylene oxide a year from its plant in Port Neches, Texas, to other Huntsman chemical plants in the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

The company decided to use trailers made with duplex stainless steel technology that reduces the weight of the trailer by 700 pounds. In addition, the carriers now use “super single tires,” a wider tire that lowers the number of tires needed from 18 to 10 per truck, reducing an additional 450 pounds of weight per trailer.

By using lighter weight trucks and bigger product containers, the company is able to deliver more product per load, reducing diesel fuel consumption and lowering carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. As a result, Huntsman has cut 861 propylene oxide shipments annually for a total of 2,500 shipments over a five-year time period. The new carriers also achieve 25 percent improvement in fuel economy, enabling diesel fuel savings of 25,000 gallons a year, and reducing resultant CO2 emissions by 280 tons a year.

The power of collaboration

At Huntsman’s polyurethanes manufacturing facility in the Netherlands, Huntsman manages the energy supply for seven separate companies co-located at its site at the Port of Rotterdam. The company takes advantage of the synergy of co-siting by sharing utilities and associated costs with the other companies. (See page 14.) Together with our co-siters, Huntsman is continually looking for synergies that can be exploited to reduce the site’s CO2 footprint. One recent initiative involves waste heat from a Huntsman plant that is used to heat process water for another company on the site, resulting in an annual CO2 savings of 15,000 tons between the companies.

In 1999, the site entered an agreement with the government to lower its energy usage by two percent per year. Along with other initiatives designed to meet this target, the plants at the site use a centralized pipeline system for raw product delivery rather than alternative carbon-intensive transport methods. By using pipelines for raw materials delivery, the CO2 savings compared to road transportation is 90 percent.

In addition, Huntsman optimized its manufacturing processes, enabling it to use less pure raw materials to produce the same amount of product. This, in turn, lowers steam and energy requirements in the complete manufacturing chain. As a result of all the initiatives on the site, over the past 10 years, the site has reduced the greenhouse gas impact from its polyurethane production by 30 percent.

Keeping trucks off the road

Huntsman is always looking for ways to improve its logistics for receiving incoming raw materials and delivering outgoing products. With plants in more than 30 countries around the world, Huntsman uses pipelines for delivery of big bulk loads to save energy involved in transport.

Use of pipelines impacts all three targets of sustainability: people, by using a safer delivery system that keeps trucks off the road and eliminates handling risks; planet, by reducing CO2 emissions; and profit, by reducing the costs for storing onsite inventory.

“The Huntsman logistics network works with our businesses and customers to determine if there is a better, less expensive and more efficient way to get products to and from our plants,” says Todd Bloomfield, Director of Purchasing for the Americas. “Use of pipelines is one way to make our logistics more efficient.”