This Earth Day can be a sunshiny day wherever you are if you mind the gap between sustainability and energy consumption. First, let’s understand what we mean by “minding the gap.” It’s old news that some of the most common forms of energy consumption result in CO2 emissions. In 2021 in the U.S., for example, “petroleum accounted for about 36 percent of U.S. energy consumption, but petroleum was the source of 46 percent of total annual U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions.” Growth can lead to increased energy consumption, as can inefficient uses of energy—but growth can also help support sustainability by making it possible to fund decarbonization. And according to McKinsey, “[T]he impact of economic growth on environmental footprint is smaller than the leverage it provides to finance a reduction in that footprint.”
So the gap can be defined as “How do we make growth sustainable?” Optimizing energy consumption through data analytics can be key to that effort. There are ways to optimize through predictive analytics. For an outstanding example of technology applied to meet sustainability needs, read on to learn about Hemlock Semiconductor’s approach.
The Road to Sustainable Operations
Hemlock Semiconductor (HSC) is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of hyper‑pure polysilicon and silicon‑based products. HSC is focused on sustainability and environmental responsibility and has honed its processes to manufacture products with an ultra-low-carbon footprint. In 2020, its inaugural Sustainability Report showed multiple manufacturing benefits from analytics insights, including savings of roughly $300,000 per month.
In the 2020 report, Keith Carey, CIO at HSC, noted that “‘TIBCO Spotfire provides HSC with optimized rollouts and controls for a sophisticated understanding of site processes and energy use. HSC initiated a peak power management program and leveraged TIBCO Spotfire data science to visualize and optimize our performance. … We found TIBCO’s Spotfire software to be one of the critical tools to increase energy efficiency. We’re impressed with the results and the data science product that helped us get there.’”
But that was just the beginning. HSC continues to be an exemplar of sustainable manufacturing, expanding its use of analytics insights to further optimize energy consumption. In its 2022 Sustainability Report, HSC stated, “Our energy use has decreased over the five-year period due to significant investments in analytics and data science software that now deliver critical insights toward control and reduction of energy in our manufacturing operations.”
The HSC sustainability initiative goes beyond those significant energy savings, though. Through advanced analytics, HSC supports innovation for the new materials needed to advance battery energy storage and solar panel technology—the next generation of technologies made possible by hyper-pure polysilicon. Not only does its hyper-pure polysilicon power solar technologies designed to deliver greener, more affordable energy, but HSC is also reducing its products’ carbon footprint through innovations in producing ultra-low-carbon polysilicon.
How HSC Evolved from Financial Optimization to Sustainable Innovation
HSC started with an initial project focused on financial optimization and made the cost of quality a primary driver. An almost equally important driver was the need to manage suppliers to tight specifications. As financial benefits began and then grew, HSC deliberately sequenced use cases to iteratively improve margins. The company expanded its use of analytics and data to enhance productivity, risk management, and resource utilization in portfolio management, process alerting, 360-degree site operations, and testing validation. You can read more about the specifics of each use case in this technical whitepaper. HSC’s pragmatic approach to applied analytics laid the groundwork for concurrent and ongoing sustainability benefits.
The company’s sustainability vision is inspirational, and its commitment to clean manufacturing through analytics is clear, noting, “HSC will lead the transformation to a sustainable society by reducing our carbon footprint, exemplifying clean manufacturing, and creating strong supply chain partnerships.”
Build Sustainability into Your Operations with TIBCO
The path to a more sustainable future is as bright as the sunlight turning to energy through solar panel polysilicon. If your organization is ready to mind the sustainability gap and close in on innovation through analytics insights, you couldn’t pick a better model this Earth Day than Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation. Learn more.