Processing Outlook Report: Fuel Refinement Segment
- 64 percent indicated that they will spend less on safety programs and related products in 2009. Last year, more than 46 percent spent more than $40,000 in the category.
- Similarly, 54 percent of respondents said that they will not invest as much this year on automation equipment as they did in 2008. Last year, nearly 40 percent spent more than $100,000 in this category.
- Looking at overall capital equipment expenditures, 43 percent of respondents said that they spent more than $750,000 last year, but 68 percent said that they will spend less in 2009 due to economic conditions.
In addressing energy costs:
- 21 percent said that energy conservation initiatives have offset price hikes in keeping costs even.
- 18 percent said that costs are down due to internal energy conservation practices.
- 43 percent of respondents indicated that they continue to deal with rising energy costs.
In working to reduce energy usage (respondents could check all initiatives that applied to their facility):
- 79 percent have started to do simpler things like shutting off lights, and relying less prominently on heating and air-conditioning services to help control costs.
- 61 percent have implemented new, more efficient lighting products.
- 50 percent said that they have purchased new, more efficient equipment.
- 46 percent cited machinery overhauls and increasing preventive maintenance practices as a way to reduce the amount of energy needed to power their older equipment.
- 36 percent added instrumentation that allows for better equipment monitoring and control in maximizing energy usage.
- 43 percent identified facility improvements.
- The remaining were split between improved usage patterns and individual equipment upgrades.
- The feedstocks that they are most familiar with, in order of precedence, are plant by-products, biomass and agricultural by-products.
- Those that are used in their plant, again in order of precedence, are plant by-products, agricultural by-products and biomass.
- The feedstock that respondents feel has the most promise moving forward is plant by-products.
- The biggest obstacle readers see with the integration of these non-fossil fuel sources is the lack of an industry infrastructure for handling these new feedstock types.
- The most important software functionality cited was remote equipment monitoring (39 percent), followed by inventory management (31 percent).
- The greatest realized gains from software investments were operational efficiencies (42 percent) and quality control (27 percent).
- Looking ahead, respondents’ greatest needs are simulation capabilities and inventory management.