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Oil and gas are essential to global economic development and prosperity, but increasing concerns about climate change have put a spotlight on the industry, particularly on the amount of energy it takes to produce these hydrocarbon-based fuels.

It is widely recognised that fossil fuel use is a contributor to atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, and the industry has acknowledged that emissions should be minimised where possible. As part of this, a focus on environmental impact and enhancing energy efficiency have become crucial not only for oil and gas companies, but also for businesses within sectors such as aerospace, automotive, medical and optical, who can have a big impact by implementing changes in their operations.

Many companies have developed and implemented formal management systems in a bid to incorporate efficiency improvements and emissions reductions into routine business operations. The two standards that are the most popular with many of our customers are from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). These are ISO 50001 and ISO 14001.

ISO 14001

ISO 14001 is the most widely regarded environmental management standard and is recognised worldwide. It addresses the management of environmental aspects and impacts and results in continual improvement of environmental performance. ISO 14001 provides a framework for organisational policy, planning and actions to meet internal and external environmental management objectives.

Achieving ISO 14001 demonstrates improved management control, identification of risks and opportunities and compliance obligations, resulting in greater environmental performance. It provides a generic set of requirements that can be adapted by any organisation regardless of size or complexity, to assist in meeting environmental commitments.

When it comes to ISO 14001, you can rely on us, as we are also certified to this standard and we can support you through the process. We regularly look at new ways we can make improvements and we can demonstrate how we have improved the environmental impact of our business and the products that we sell.

We have recently had to categorise all our products by an environmental impact scale – high, medium and acceptable – and currently we are predicting over 80% of our range will be marked acceptable. We have also achieved an ISO 14001 Certificate number 63, which confirms us as an early adopter and that this remains at the forefront of our business.

The standard is now aligned to Annex SL – a consistent framework for all management systems – which enables effective integration with other management systems, such as ISO 50001.

ISO 50001

ISO 50001 is an energy saving standard, which works by increasing an understanding of what types of energy an organisation uses; how efficiently it is using that energy, and how further efficiencies can be made.

As part of the ISO 50001 audit, benchmarking takes place, and a shortlist is provided for establishing policies, processes, procedures and specific tasks to meet the energy targets and objectives set out by the individual organisation. This creates a structure to work towards improved energy management. A company policy is created, targets are implemented to meet the policy, energy data is analysed, results are measured and annual progress reviews are booked.

While ISO 50001 is a voluntary standard, it is currently mandatory for all organisations with more than 250 employees or a turnover of over £42m to be Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) audited every four years. Possessing a valid third-party certificate to ISO 50001 is a route to comply with the ESOS Regulations. Where ISO 50001 differs from ESOS is that it goes much further than purely identifying energy issues. ESOS may alert a business to an area of concern, but ISO 50001 sets targets and has annual audits – to make sure that changes are implemented and improvements are made.

How we can help

As our customers are looking at ways to reduce environmental impact and cut emissions across their supply chain, their component cleaning methods will inevitably come under scrutiny.

Historically, cleaning solvents had seriously detrimental effects on the atmosphere. However, significant advancements have been made in industrial solvent cleaning, making the new generation of solvents a viable, safe and cost-effective option. They use eco-friendly chemistries, and are an effective alternative to older, hazardous solvents and those containing F-gases that have now been banned or restricted. Recent studies have also shown that in many cases, the solvent cleaning process is much more environmentally friendly than comparable aqueous processes.

The main issue with solvents of the past was that they had very high Global Warming Potential (GWP). GWP is a method of measuring the impact a gas will have on the atmosphere, and is used to represent the equivalent of C02 being released, where 1kg of C02 = a GWP of 1. In order to manage environmental impact, companies need to keep the GWP as low as possible.

As part of the ISO 50001 and ISO 140001 process, we can take a full audit of existing cleaning equipment, processes, chemistries and results, and then make recommendations based on this. We work closely with our customers and seamlessly take them through the process of change – whether it is just a chemistry replacement, or a full equipment and chemistry overhaul.

Our newest product – the Opteon™ SF80 cleaning solvent from Chemours – has an ultralow GWP of less than 2.5, compared to common F-gas solvents that can have a GWP of up to 11,000. Because the solvent is just as effective, and in some cases more efficient than competitor products, the environmental savings mean it is an ideal replacement.

One of our customers – a prominent aerospace manufacturer – has seen great success with this. They asked us to look at an alternative to the high-GWP solvent they were using. We worked with them to approve SF80 and once on site, we assisted in optimising their processes to reduce solvent consumption. We introduced a solvent recovery process to allow them to further reduce waste and reuse the recovered solvent. Previously they had been using 7 Metric Tonnes per year, and this change of solvent has taken the customer’s overall usage of solvent down by 28%.

With a GWP of 990, the CO2 emissions created by the customer when using the alternative product were equal to the emissions of driving 143 times around the world – or 7.5 times to the moon and back. In comparison, by using SF80, the customer’s new emissions are the equivalent of driving from Edinburgh to Moscow.

This doesn’t just have an impact on environmental impact, but also saves money. For this example in particular, while the existing product was less expensive than SF80, the reduction in solvent usage had significant cost reduction of around £30,000 per year.

As well as reducing GWP, we also help to ensure our customers’ equipment and processes are efficient. We are seeing time and time again that the latest generation of solvents are reducing our clients’ carbon footprint by 25% and using five times less power than previous aqueous systems. If we think that improvements could be made, we recommend alternatives or ways to enhance existing systems. This is a crucial part of ISO 50001 and is something which shouldn’t be ignored – as well as reducing environmental impact; energy efficiency can improve productivity, lower operating costs and make companies more profitable.

Energy and environmental management through a well-structured management system ensures that any issues are properly taken into consideration in all aspects of the industry’s activities. Having these areas certified demonstrates dedication to these crucial areas, and is also effective in improving morale and reputation and increasing profitability.

Fraser Technologies are proud to have supported the cleaning industry for last 50 years, working closely with their customers to understand their challenges and their expertise to offer best-in-class cleaning solutions. From component cleaning, electronics soldering, and heat transfer & carrier fluids they have built their expertise over the last 50 years and still continue to offer technological advances, adapt to legislative changes and embrace environmental challenges.

Fraser Technologies are well known for being considered one of the leaders within the Precision Cleaning industry and offer a wide range of new generation chemistries coupled with both solvent and aqueous cleaning systems. They can help extend the life of existing processes and equipment, recommend and install new equipment, or look at how best to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. This is all achieved through their superior trial and demonstration facilities and first class after sales service.

Companies from the aerospace & defence, electronics, medical, optics and automotive industries have chosen to work with them because of their expert knowledge in their industries, their independent range of products, and their can-do tried and tested approach to ensuring they provide access to the latest technologies – improving performance, productivity, environmental performance and operator safety.

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