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Celanese Corporation: Energy Management Assessment Matrix

With multiple sites in three global regions, it is difficult for Celanese to compare the health and strength of individual site energy programs with a one-size-fits-all assessment tool. The plants, resources, culture, and maturity of the energy programs are different at each site.

Celanese identified 41 elements of a strong EMS; however, not all 41 elements are evenly weighted or are important to all sites due to variables such as the amount and cost of energy usage, business risk, and priority. Using an assessment tool with one level of expectation for all these elements to assess all sites and the enterprise program can result in setting non-valuable improvement goals, while weakening the ability to develop strong continuous improvement actions.

Within the seven foundational principles of energy management that define the Celanese energy program, the company identified 41 key elements that are indicators of the strength and health of a robust EMS. Each element defines an energy program competency, has expected performance criteria, and has questions to clarify the expectation required for proficiency. In the process of developing the seven principles and 41 energy elements, Celanese realized that not all sites would be expected to be proficient at all 41 elements, and more importantly, there would not be value in requiring all sites to be proficient in every element.

To optimize the assessment tool, Celanese developed an energy system assessment pyramid. The pyramid arranges the 41 elements in a four-level hierarchy of competency levels. The pyramid assists the sites in evaluating the energy program at various levels in a customizable tool. The level of expected proficiency at each level is matched to resources, energy program maturity, and business need. The levels are as follows:

The assessment tool was developed over three months, and the 41 elements were developed based on energy management systems from best practices from DOE Better Plants, ENERGY STAR, ISO50001, and Celanese-specific concepts.

The actual EMS assessment is conducted with a small team of site personnel, preferably those with a wide perspective of the energy program, including operators, shift leaders, and mechanics. These individuals can add different viewpoints to the evaluation. Each element is reviewed and scored using the matrix assessment tool. The discussion starts with some basic background questions to frame the element and criteria for competency of the element. The team discusses the level of site competency, execution and sustainability of each item, and whether it meets the expected criteria. Personnel take notes in the tool to describe the current site competency of each element. If needed, a spot check of documentation or field checks can be used to confirm the score.

Each item is scored with a red/yellow/green indicator. When the assessment is finished, a complete representation of the status of the energy program’s effectiveness is prepared in a simple visual chart. Trends and outliers are easily visible using the color codes. The primary metrics of an energy program include energy intensity reduction and energy productivity; other metrics specific to the assessment tool include the number of sites that have completed the assessment matrix and developed a long-term action plan.

Secondary performance metrics include the number of actions developed and completed as part of the assessment, as well as improvement of the assessment matrix, with the number of elements improving (moving from red to yellow to green) over time.

Using the assessment matrix of energy systems, along with the gaps identified and the business objectives and culture of the plant, Celanese personnel develop a plan to improve the energy program, including providing information on the timeline, due dates, and staff responsible for implementing the plan.

Through the development of an EMS assessment tool, site energy management systems improve, energy intensity increases, and GHG and energy costs decrease across sites. This project enables identification of energy system shortcomings and continuous improvement opportunities. Sites use the results of this tool to develop short- and long-term actions for EMS improvement.

The use of the pyramid and the tiered approach allow for sites to focus on the elements that add value to the site, and it enables sites to work on implementing foundation and basic elements with rigor before trying to improve higher-level elements. It also removes the expectation that the site work on and commit resources to completing leader-level elements when they are not needed or required.

As more sites complete the matrix, Celanese can perform an enterprise-wide assessment to determine where there are consistent strengths and weaknesses of the overall energy program, allowing the company to take action to improve the global energy program.

Strengthening the site EMS allows for effective execution of site energy programs and has contributed to implementation of energy projects in 2017; resulting in 1.7% energy cost productivity with 18 energy reduction projects and an energy intensity improvement of 2.9% year over year, compared to 2016 from the Celanese DOE Better Plant Partner sites.