Industrial solutions are solutions that help industrial processes release less greenhouse gas emissions. Industrial processes accounted for 22%, over one-fifth, of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. Therefore, it is very important to lessen the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by these processes.
Industry includes all manufacturing and food processing plants, mining operations, and construction, among others. A large portion of the solutions is to make the processes more efficient and to reduce material waste.
Possible Industrial Solutions
Emissions Efficiency: Output Emissions
Output emissions are the direct, on-site emissions that arise due to industrial processes, such as generators, equipment, and chemical reactions, among others. They are different from process emissions because output emissions come directly from the equipment, instead of leakages.
Steel and cement are the largest producers of output emissions. Steel production relies largely on coke, a type of coal that releases the most greenhouse gas emissions of any fossil fuel. As a result, steel production releases 7% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. To combat the steel emissions, some companies are looking to develop a hydrogen-based manufacturing system. This hydrogen system would allow for a no-carbon future for steel.
Cement also accounts for a large percentage of the world's emissions. The key component of cement, called clinker, releases greenhouse gas emissions during production. Unlike steel production, the technology already exists to halve the emissions from clinker. However, low innovation investments from powerful cement companies have prohibited the spread of these technologies. To reduce cement emissions, these companies must be willing to adopt new technologies.
Emissions Efficiency: Process Emissions
Emissions efficiency is the act of reducing emissions intensity—the emissions that arise from the operations themselves. Process emissions are emissions that come from operations not necessarily involving energy usage, such as methane leaks.
Oil and gas mining operations are the United States' largest source of methane, which is the second-biggest driver of climate change. Methane can leak from pipelines or can be intentionally vented into the atmosphere to get rid of it. In 2016, to effectively monitor and prevent leakage, the Obama Administration published a set of rules for the EPA and for companies, collectively referred to as the methane rules. The methane rules required operators of mining projects to survey their equipment for leakage and then fix those leaks. It also required operators to capture methane that came from gas wells, as well as limit these emissions by using newly improved pneumatic pumps. The Trump Administration EPA worked to remove these regulations in 2019, so it is imperative to institute them again, as they are the first step to greater emissions efficiency.
A carbon or emissions tax charges corporations for their emissions. It gives industries incentives to innovate their processes. Putting a tax on emissions also shows the world that the government is committed to fighting climate change. The private sector has notoriously under-invested in innovation, mainly because their established methods are churning in profit. A carbon tax forces companies to invest in this innovation. In other words, a carbon tax is a way to promote private sector innovation to combat climate change.
Because manufacturing and the industrial sectors in general use so much energy, simply making energy usage more efficient can go a long way. In manufacturing, energy efficiency is reducing the energy intensity, the total amount of energy used.
In particular, the glass industry is a prime example of where emissions can be cut using new technologies. Some of these technologies are surprisingly simple; using high-power microwaves for heating saves energy and can even be powered with clean electricity. Other technologies, such as oscillating combustion are more innovative. Oscillating combustion involves moving fuel rapidly back and forth in a particular manner to preserve the heat for longer, therefore requiring less fuel.