Contribution to a more sustainable and energy-efficient production through the combined approach of CO2-balance and energy flow analysis

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk at conference or symposiumScience to science


Due to the increasing requirements for environmental protection, on the one hand, rising energy prices on the other, as well as the growing social environmental awareness, it is becoming more and more important for companies to contribute to a more sustainable and energy-efficient future. A major target of this work is a contribution to the achievement of the twelfth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which deals with, inter alia, sustainable production patterns. To achieve this target, it will be increasingly necessary for enterprises to identify their energy drivers and thus the emitted emissions within their production facilities. By combining two established methods for determining the carbon footprint and energy flow analysis, this work demonstrates a way to not only ascertain greenhouse gas emissions but also to identify energy-intensive processes. Furthermore, this combination demonstrates how CO2-emissions can be reduced as a result of a higher efficient energy use.
Additionally, this paper shows how these two approaches can be linked and whether both emission and cost savings can be achieved in companies through the efficient use of energy. In order to provide empirical evidence for the combined approach, a case study is conducted in collaboration with a Pan-European company operating in the automotive, mining, metal processing, and environmental sectors. The chosen approach uses a CO2-balance as a starting point enabling the identification of the production plant that shows the greatest CO2- emissions. Based on this selection, an energy flow analysis on the respective site is carried out to identify weak points and optimization potentials regarding the energy consumption. A catalogue of measures including an economical evaluation of the potentials is created for the identified weak points to eliminate the identified deficiencies which leads to a more sustainable and energy-efficient pathway for the company. In the context of the case study, future projects with this industry sector are planned to generalize the outcome.
Period8 Sept 2021
Event title20th European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production
Event typeConference
LocationGraz, AustriaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems