Unilever has an ambition to become carbon positive in our operations by 2030. The energy we use in our manufacturing processes is a third electrical and two thirds thermal, and therefore it is of great interest for us to understand technologies that create thermal energy from renewable sources.
In November 2015 Unilever announced a new target to become carbon positive in our operations by 2030. This means that we will eliminate fossil fuels from our energy mix and directly support the generation of more renewable energy that we can consume. By 2020 we will have eliminated coal from our energy mix and by 2030 we will only be using renewable sources of energy. Unilever own over 260 factories in 68 countries across the world, producing a wide range of products from laundry powder to ice cream and soups.
At Unilever we use thermal energy for a wide range of purposes. The most common uses are storing materials at temperature, pasteurisation and cleaning for which we use hot water or steam between 55 and 95 degrees C. We have some demand at some sites for hot air generation in excess of 140 degrees C for dryers.
Our demand is not flat; our typical baseload is 20% when operational and 80% reactive. Some of our sites produce multiple kinds of products and so there is a large variation in the thermal energy required across the site.
In some cases, we use steam and hot water systems for space heating, and we are interested in more efficient alternatives for space heating.
Unilever will consider all proposals but will most closely consider those that can contribute in the next 1-3 years to its vision of eliminating coal (used to produce thermal energy) from our energy mix by 2020. Requests for proof of concept funding, for example, will not be considered.
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