Green Innovations: Condugo is ‘greening’ the (petro)chemical industry
The Condugo Energy Hub software leverages energy and production data to create a full picture of the site's energy flows. Energy management is the main focus of Condugo - the Belgian company supports industrial stakeholders to become energy efficient and set-up their business towards a greener and more sustainable future. This month, we sat down with Xavier De Moor, CEO of Condugo, to discover more details about this EIC-funded Green Innovation.
Improved efficiency, higher transparency and accurate prediction are just a few of the benefits. The EIC-funded start-up is now targeting the (petro)chemical sector, and it has raised €1 million from the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Vlaio) to develop its energy management platform in this new industry.
Condugo's new pilot project aims at enabling (petro)chemical companies to meet their climate & energy targets. How is your innovation achieving this goal?
Condugo has been implementing an energy management platform within the pharmaceutical industry and now wants to expand its platform into the (petro)chemical market. Therefore, we need to redevelop part of our platform and, to do that, we already have a partnership with a large company named Borealis. We have also received funding from the Flemish government, and we are starting the redevelopment of our platform for the next two years. In addition to this, we are looking for more large companies in the (petro)chemical sector to act as pilot sites to be able to find the best features for our platform.
Why did Condugo decide to focus on the (petro)chemical sector?
Today we are living in a very interesting time because everybody is looking at energy management. More regulations are being defined regarding energy savings and increased sustainability. In the coming years, we are also prospecting massive investments in the green energy area. We understood that big (petro)chemical companies, as actors responsible for lots of emissions, really want to change their behaviour and become green actor. But unfortunately, they have lots of issues to address, and they need a new perspective and actions to change their behaviour. They need to have a better energy management platform to collect and get better insights from their current data. If companies want to make progress about their energy consumption, they should better monitor and collect data, and they should be able to translate this into valuable information. They will have access to different energy measures, and they can better aggregate their emission strategy.
You are already partnering with Borealis. How many companies is Condugo aiming to have as pilot sites in the (petro)chemical sector?
We would like to have from 6 to 8 large companies on our pilot site. We could have different sites within one company, but we would prefer to have different companies. The good thing about having other companies is that every company has different processes and issues to solve. If we have that variety of companies, we will be able to build an energy management platform that applies to the whole sector.
Condugo already implemented the first version of Energy Hub in a few pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies. How have these companies benefitted from its implementation on their industrial plants?
We are now working with two large pharmaceutical companies. In this sector is extremely important to validate data, and this was one of the first issues that we addressed with our solution. Once data is validated, companies hope to get specific results with full transparency across their plant. They work with different types of energy (e.g. water, electricity, gas, nitrogen, or other types) distributed across their site, and, in the end, they have a final product. With our solution, they have a fully transparent detailed report of all the commodities, and all the energy types used to make their final product.
Additionally, we also look at their processes and how efficiently these processes are running energy-wise. They can track deviations, understand the reasons behind them and act on a solution. Measures and regulations on specific reporting procedures, especially regarding CO2 emissions, are increasing, and with our platform, they can get real-time reporting on these elements.
From the analysis performed by the Energy Hub, can you identify the processes that can be more easily updated in the industry sector to reduce CO2 emissions?
By having access to real-time data and insights, the companies can take actions, and they can improve their efficiency by 5-10%. In addition, since now they are getting new insights about their processes, it's easier for these companies to make decisions on green investments. Another advantage is that the entire company has access to updated insights regarding energy and costs, and various departments can use this.
How do you see the European Commission's European Green Deal and its impact on solutions like the Energy Hub software?
The Green Deal emphasizes the importance of looking at a more sustainable future. Nowadays, we see that lots of companies have already taken energy efficiency measures. If they want to go one step further now, they need to have a different approach, and they need to look more at their data and processes. They need tools like artificial intelligence to understand better how their energy will be consumed in the future. New sites will be designed by modelling data and using artificial intelligence, and the companies will find an added value. The Green Deal is set-up to bring a new perspective towards energy than the one we have today. People need to have an incentive to accelerate the energy transition. That's precisely what we are trying to do with our customers: we give them a new insight so that they can define a new green strategy.