There is little doubt that “clean energy in manufacturing” is a hot topic of conversation both nationally and internationally. Manufacturers strive to create and maintain the best energy usage without adding pollution to the environment. In fact, without clean energy advances, American manufacturers may risk losing their competitive edge over foreign competition.
For this reason, brainstorming sessions have occurred, and the latest reports indicate five pathways to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy waste:
- Implementing currently under-utilized co-generation systems, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), which generate electric power and thermal energy from a single fuel source.
- Investing in advanced manufacturing technologies that address material and energy efficiency in product and production.
- Strategically transitioning to clean energy fuels and electrification for specific processes, particularly in industrial heat, which represents the largest source of fossil fuel use;
- Innovating carbon capture and storage technologies and building more infrastructure to support the implementation of these methods.
- Increasing production of low-emission gases and high-efficiency refrigeration and air conditioning equipment to reduce the release of hydrofluorocarbons, the fastest growing greenhouse gas globally.
Investment in clean energy technologies promises not only a cleaner future but also a future that boasts in-demand manufacturing jobs. As the manufacturing jobs evolve, there will be a higher demand for new skills. Manufacturing workers need to have a broader scope of skills to be successful as there has been a transition from the assembly-line style of manufacturing of the past to the technology-driven manufacturing of today.
By examining the five pathways previously identified, manufacturers can already begin to identify new skills that will be necessary to support the reduction of the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy waste:
Attention to detail
With speed and precision being a priority in manufacturing, it’s essential for workers to be both focused and detail-oriented.
Today’s workers must able to think on their feet and troubleshoot small problems as they happen.
Being able to communicate effectively with your team is hugely beneficial in the manufacturing industry.
Interest in and aptitude for technology
Technology is continuously evolving and changing the way manufacturing workplaces operate.
Ability to be cross-trained
With so many different job tasks involved in manufacturing, an employee who has been or can be cross-trained is valuable to the company.
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