Shaw Industries Group has finished construction of a cogeneration combined heat and power plant at its fiber production facility in Columbia, South Carolina. The new plant began operating in May and is expected to reduce the plant’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 26,000 metric ton, the company says.
“The CHP application will use natural gas to fuel a turbine to generate electricity, leveraging the exhaust heat from the turbine to produce steam,” Shaw said. That production should meet the entire steam demand for the company’s carpet fiber plant in Columbia and replace the majority of electricity supplied by a utility.
CHP technology can operate with an overall efficiency of 75% or greater, compared to 35% efficiency for electricity from the fuel entering a power plant to the end use in the plant or in a home, according to Shaw. The plant will realize reduced energy costs as well, the company says.
“The combined heat and power plant exemplifies one of many ways we are doing our part to have a positive impact on the world we all share,” said Troy Virgo, director of sustainability and product stewardship at Shaw.
Known for manufacturing a diverse range of flooring products, Shaw Industries Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway with nearly $6 billion in annual revenue. The Dalton, Georgia-headquartered company recently achieved carbon neutrality in their commercial carpet manufacturing operations.
Strategies included reducing energy consumption, switching to cleaner fuels, and producing renewable energy onsite at facilities. In 2013, Shaw added a 1-MW solar panel system to its carpet-tile manufacturing plant in Cartersville, Georgia.
Charles Chapman, director of energy and reliability engineering for Shaw Industries, told Energy Manager Today last year that their goal is a 40% reduction in energy intensity by 2030 per pound of finished product.
“The culture shift is beginning,” he said. “Our folks doing product development are looking at how they design and construct products to move to processes that are less energy intensive.”