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Potential of best practice technology to improve energy efficiency in the global chemical and petrochemical sector


  • Saygin, D.
  • Patel, M.K.
  • Worrell, E.
  • Tam, C.
  • Gielen, D.J.


The chemical and petrochemical sector is by far the largest industrial energy user, accounting for 30% of the industry’s total final energy use. However, due to its complexity its energy efficiency potential is not well understood. This article analyses the energy efficiency potential on a country level if Best Practice Technologies (BPT) were implemented in chemical processes. Two approaches are applied and an improved dataset referring to Europe has been developed for BPT energy use. This methodology has been applied to 66 products in fifteen countries that represent 70% of chemical and petrochemical sector’s energy use worldwide. The results suggest a global energy efficiency potential of 16% for this sector, excluding savings in electricity use and by higher levels of process integration, combined heat and power (CHP) and post-consumer plastic waste treatment. The results are more accurate than previous estimates. The results suggest significant differences between countries, but a cross-check based on two different methods shows that important methodological and data issues remain to be resolved. Further refinement is needed for target setting, monitoring and informing energy and climate negotiation processes. For the short and medium term, a combination of benchmarking and country level analysis is recommended.

Suggested Citation

  • Saygin, D. & Patel, M.K. & Worrell, E. & Tam, C. & Gielen, D.J., 2011. "Potential of best practice technology to improve energy efficiency in the global chemical and petrochemical sector," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 5779-5790.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:energy:v:36:y:2011:i:9:p:5779-5790
    DOI: 10.1016/

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