DuPont 2020 Energy Goal Case Study: Changing the Way We Power Our Labs

Aug 10, 2016 12:05 PM ET

DuPont 2020 Energy Goal Case Study: Changing the Way We Power Our Labs

As a world leader in science-based innovation, DuPont is constantly pursuing new frontiers in agriculture and nutrition, advanced materials, and bio-based industrials.  The science of transforming the world requires a lot of things --- perseverance, world-class scientists and engineers, and cutting edge research and development facilities to name a few.  And, it also takes a lot of energy.  In 2014, DuPont used approximately 27 million megawatt hours (direct and indirect) of energy, the equivalent consumption of 2.5 million U.S. homes over the course of a year.

The energy intensity of our operations is one of the reasons DuPont has a long history of environmental goals aimed at reducing our energy and emissions footprint.  For example, between 1990 and 2004 we reduced our greenhouse gas emission by 70% and an additional 19% between 2004 and 2014.  We also recently announced our 2020 sustainability goals, including an effort to reduce our greenhouse gas intensity by 7% from a 2015 baseline and our non-renewable energy use by 10% per price adjusted dollar revenue from a 2010 baseline. 

Our energy goal strategy is executed primarily through our Bold Energy Plan, a portfolio of nearly 2,000 projects around the world designed to improve our energy, emissions, and cost efficiency.  Since the inception of the Bold Energy Plan in 2008, DuPont has realized significant energy savings, with a year-over-year energy cost savings of $270 million.

We recently completed one of these Bold Energy Plan targets at the DuPont Experimental Station.  This 150-acre campus on the banks of the Brandywine River where DuPont was founded more than 200 years ago is home to some of the world’s most important scientific discoveries, including Neoprene - the world's first synthetic rubber; Nylon - the world’s first fully synthetic fiber; DuPont™ Tyvek®; Kevlar®;  Sorona® renewably sourced polymers; Plenish™ High Oleic Soybeans, and countless others. 

Until recently, the Experimental Station was one of the largest emitters of SO2 in the state of Delaware due to a high volume of #6 fuel oil required to power its operations.  At a rate of 1,000 truckloads of fuel oil/year, a plan was needed to improve the lab’s emissions profile.  Working collaboratively with the state, Delmarva Power, and the community, DuPont developed an energy purchase strategy that shifted the entire facility from #6 fuel oil to natural gas.  The results have been significant, including the environmental improvements below:

  • 29% reduction in CO2, offsetting the emissions of 4,500 cars on the road today;
  • 73% reduction in NOX and 100% reduction in SO2;
  • 91% reduction in particulates; and
  • the elimination of 1,000 tank truck deliveries annually and their associated emissions. 

The completion of this project has been part of a broader effort to improve the environmental footprint of many of our sites (including our corporate headquarters at Chestnut Run Plaza) in Delaware.  In total, once all projects for the four target sites are completed later this year, we will have reduced our annual CO2 emissions by ~30% (the equivalent of offsetting the emissions from 8,400 cars each year), our NOx by 73%, SO2 by 100%, and our particulate materials by 81%.