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Should companies use carbon offsets in response to the deepening climate crisis?

23/05/2021

It’s increasingly accepted that action must be taken in order to address climate change. CO2 emissions are a big part of the problem and laws, social pressure and good conscience are encouraging companies to reduce their levels of pollution.

The problem is, in some industries, creating CO2 is inevitable: it is simply part of the process. So, what can these businesses do about their emissions in order to meet targets and contribute less to climate change? 

Carbon offsetting is one method people opt for.  

carbon offsets

What are carbon offsets?

In a nutshell: carbon offsets allow companies to pay for low-carbon practices elsewhere, theoretically ‘balancing the scales’ against the carbon they’ve emitted themselves. This is done on a credit system. 

When one company has reduced carbon dioxide (e.g. by planting trees) or avoided carbon emissions (e.g. by building a wind farm in place of a coal power plant) they are awarded ‘carbon credits’. These can then be sold on and essentially cashed in against the carbon emissions of the buyer. The theory is that the buyer’s emissions have been cancelled out or ‘offset’ by the seller’s reductions.   

Is carbon offsetting a good thing?

The attitudes towards carbon offsetting are mixed. On one hand it’s good that there is at least something being done to consciously address carbon emissions but on the other hand it seems like avoiding the real problem. Surely it would be better to prevent or reduce carbon emissions in the first place, rather than carry on as normal and then attempt to buy a clear conscience? 

This is especially true if you can improve productivity and save money at the same time! 

How to reduce CO2 emissions in gas turbines

Older gas turbines tend to be less efficient and more polluting. One option is to invest in a new turbine, but that is not always financially possible. However, whether you’ve got new equipment or an older version, there are still ways to reduce CO2 emissions. 

Over time, compressors inevitably become fouled. This fouling interrupts airflow leading to incomplete combustion and more fuel is subsequently required to support the inefficient system. All of this means higher than necessary carbon emissions.

At Rochem, we specialise in cleaning equipment and chemicals for gas turbine compressors. Below is an example of how using our products not only drastically reduces carbon emissions but also saves fuel and increases productivity.

Rochem case study: reducing carbon emissions 

The following is based on General Electric frame 5 gas turbine operating on an offshore installation.

The gas turbine is installed with Rochem FYREWASH® nozzles. An online compressor wash was performed using Rochem FYREWASH® F3 cleaning chemical.

Post online wash data indicates a fuel saving of 65 m³/hr with a load increase of 300 kW.

Based on annual operating hours of 658 hours the potential CO2 saving is 1394 tonnes per year with the reduced fuel consumption as a result of regular compressor washing. 

  Before wash Post wash
Ambient air temperature: °C 2.8 3.1
Barometric pressure: mBar 994 995
Gas turbine load: MW 17.7 18
Fuel gas flow rate: NM³/hr 6053 5988

 

Calculated fuel saving per year: tonnes 522.2        
Calculated CO2 saving per year: tonnes 1394


Conclusion

So, should companies use carbon offsets to address the climate crisis? It’s an option but we believe it’s far better to prevent avoidable CO2 emissions in the first place rather than attempt to later simply ‘balance the scales’.

In the gas turbine industry, it’s clear that regular compressor washing is an effective way to not only reduce CO2 emissions, but save significant fuel at the same time. Plus, when doing this is better for business as well, there’s really no question which option is best.  

Get in touch

We specialise in cleaning equipment which can be retrofitted in almost every case and our range of FRYREWASH® chemicals are chosen for their efficacy around the world. 

If you’d like to talk about how Rochem can help you reduce the carbon emissions of your gas turbine, get in touch. Our knowledgeable team will be happy to discuss your specific needs. 


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