WILMINGTON, DEL. (Oct. 11, 10:25 a.m. ET) — DuPont Co. said it has improved energy efficiency at its materials plant in Orange, Texas, enough that the saved energy could power almost 4,000 homes.
Wilmington-based DuPont upgraded its ethylene furnaces at the plant, which makes ionomers, ethylene copolymers and ethylene acrylic elastomers. The upgrades created fuel savings equal to more than 67 million British thermal units per hour and annual greenhouse gas emissions of almost 70 million pounds, officials said.
The American Chemistry Council has recognized DuPont's efforts by naming the firm as a winner of an Energy Efficiency Award. Winners were selected by the energy team of ACC, a Washington-based trade group. Members of the team include academics and experts in the field of energy efficiency.
Upgrading the site's 10 ethylene furnaces was part of a process that began in 2009, DuPont's Robbin Banerjee said in a recent interview. Banerjee is supply chain director of the firm's packaging and industrial polymers unit. The overall effort cost less that $5 million and was part of DuPont's companywide energy-reduction program, he added.
The upgrades increased combustion efficiency in the furnaces, which are part of an ethylene cracker where natural gas-based ethane is cracked to make ethylene, which is then used as a feedstock in numerous DuPont materials. Some of the site's ethylene also is sold to outside firms.
The improvements “are part of back-integrated ethylene production” at the site, Banerjee said.
The 40-year-old site — DuPont's largest in Texas — also benefited from energy improvements in 2008 that reduced its annual carbon-dioxide emissions by 34 million pounds.
“Achievements such as these reductions help us support customers who are looking for reduced environmental impact throughout their value chains,” DuPont's Shanna Moore said in a news release. Moore serves as global sustainability director of the firm's packaging and industrial polymers unit.
DuPont ranks as one of the world's largest chemical firms, with operations in more than 90 countries and annual sales of more than $30 billion.