Energy Consumption


EU27 gas and electricity account for nearly 2/3 of total energy consumption in the EU27 chemical industry

Total energy consumption* in the EU27 chemical industry by source (2019)

FactsandFigures2022_ch5_1_Total energy consumption in the EU27 chemical industry by source_without titels

The chemical industry transforms energy and raw materials into products required by other industrial sectors as well as by final consumers. The cost of energy and raw materials is a major factor in determining the competitiveness of the EU27 chemical industry on the global market.

In 2019, the fuel and power consumption of the EU27 chemical industry, including pharmaceuticals, amounted to 50.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent. EU27 gas and electricity account for nearly two thirds of total energy consumption.

The EU27 chemical industry, including pharmaceuticals, significantly reduced its fuel and power consumption from 1990 to 2019. Most of the energy used by the chemical industry as feedstock is stored in products and can still be recycled. Regarding other raw materials, the chemical industry uses a wide variety of natural and processed feedstocks, including metals, minerals and agricultural raw materials such as sugar, starch and fats.

Energy in all products: consists mainly of gas (natural gas, and manufactured gases, electricity, oil and petroleum products (excluding biofuel portion), heat, solid fossil fuels, non-renewable waste, renewables and biofuels, and others such as peat and peat products, oil shale and oil sands and nuclear heat.

EU27 energy consumption falls 21% since 1990

Energy consumption in the EU27 chemical industry

FactsandFigures2022_ch5_2_Fuel and power consumption in the EU27 chemical industry_without titels

Total energy consumption in the EU27 chemical sector was valued at 50.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2019, down from 64.6 million tonnes in 1990 (21% less). Energy consumption in the EU27 chemical sector went down by an average of 0.8% per annum between 1990 and 2019. EU27 Energy consumption in chemicals accounted for 21.2% of total industry energy consumption in 2019.

In 1990, the fuel and power consumption of the EU27 manufacturing industry amounted to 310.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent. Between 1990 and 2019, the sector considerably decreased its fuel and power consumption by 71.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent. The amount of energy consumed in 2019 was 23% less than in 1990.

EU27 gas consumption falls 28% since 1990

Gas consumption in the EU27 chemical industry

FactsandFigures2022_ch5_3_Gas consumption by the EU27 chemical industry_without titelsFactsandFigures2022_ch5_3_Gas consumption by the EU27 chemical industry_without titels

More than one third of total energy consumption in the EU27 chemical sector is attributable to “gas” (35.6% in 2019, down from 38.7% in 1990). Gas consumption in the EU27 chemical sector accounts for 22.5% of total industry consumption in 2019.

Gas energy consumption is the sum of natural gas, and manufactured gases. “Gas” consumption in the EU27 chemical sector was valued at 18.1 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2019 (far below the 25.0 million reported in 1990). “Gas” consumption went down by an average of 1.1% per annum between 1990 and 2019, and by 28% in 2019 compared to 1990.

EU27 electrical energy consumption falls 14% since 1990

Electrical energy consumption in the EU27 chemical industry

“Electrical energy” consumption accounts for 28.1% of total energy consumption of the EU27 chemical sector in 2019 (up from 25.6% in 1990). “Electrical energy” consumption in chemicals accounted in 2019 for 17.8% of total industry (down from 21.5% in 1990).

“Electrical energy” consumption (E7000) in the EU27 chemical business area was valued at 14.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2019 (below the 16.5 million reported in 1990). “Electrical energy” consumption went down by 13.6% in 2019 compared to 1990.

The chemical industry is also the largest industry in term of electricity consumption in Europe.

EU27 Total petroleum consumption falls 23% since 1990

Total petroleum products consumption in the EU27 chemical industry

FactsandFigures2022_ch5_5_Total petroleum products consumption by the EU27 chemical industry_without titels

“Petroleum” consumption accounted for 14.6% of total energy consumption of the EU27 in 2019 (slightly down from 14.9% in 1990). “Petroleum” consumption in the EU27 chemical sector accounted for 31.2% of total industry petroleum consumption in 2019.

“Oil and petroleum products” consumption (excluding biofuel portion) in the EU27 chemical sector was valued at 7.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2019, compared to the 9.7 million registered in 1990. “Petroleum” consumption went down at an average of 0.9% per annum between 1990 and 2019. “Petroleum” consumption fell by 23% in 2019 compared to 1990.

EU27 solid fuels consumption falls 64% since 1990

Solid fuels consumption in the EU27 chemical industry

FactsandFigures2022_ch5_6_Solid fuels consumption in the EU27 chemical industry_without titels

“Solid fossil fuels” consumption accounted for 4.8% of energy consumption of the EU27 chemical sector in 2019, far below the 10.5% registered in 1990. The share of “Solid Fuels” consumption in chemicals to total industry was valued at 21.0% in 2019.

“Solid fossil fuels” consumption in the EU27 chemical sector was valued at 2.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2019, far below the 6.8 million registered in 1990. “Solid fossil fuels” consumption went down by an average of 3.5% per annum between 1990 and 2019. “Solid fossil fuels” consumption fell by 64.1% in 2019 compared to 1990.

EU27 renewable energies consumption has doubled since 2000

Renewable energies consumption in the EU27 chemical industry

FactsandFigures2022_ch5_7_Renewable energies consumption -by the EU27 chemical industry_without titels

The share of renewable and biofuels energy consumption in chemicals increased from 0.3% in 2000 to 0.6% in 2019.

Renewable and biofuels energy consumption in the EU27 area was valued at 324.9 thousands of tonnes of oil equivalent in 2019, significantly up from 156.8 in 2000. Renewable and biofuels energy consumption grew at an average of 3.9% per annum between 2000 and 2019. Renewable and biofuels energy consumption was 2 times higher in 2019 compared to 2000.

EU27 specific energy consumption dropped by 47% during 29 year period

Efficient use of energy in the EU27 chemical industry

The EU27 chemical sector has been a pioneer in energy efficiency. It recognised early that in order to be competitive in a global market, competitive advantages must be sought at every opportunity.

As one of the most energy-intensive sectors, chemical companies have also had more scope for reduction than others. By making processes more efficient, including the construction of new facilities, the energy efficiency drive has been sustained for many years. Making further significant improvements requires technological breakthroughs.

For many years, the EU27 chemical industry, has made strenuous efforts to improve energy efficiency by reducing its fuel and power energy consumption per unit of production.

By 2019, EU27 specific energy consumption, (being the energy consumption per unit of production) in the chemical industry, was 46.7% lower than in 1990. Further improvements to EU27 energy efficiency are subject to project returns.

As a result, the EU27 chemical industry has excelled in significantly lowering its specific energy consumption by an average of 2.1% per year. The analysis shows that improvements in energy efficiency were spectacular from 1990 to 2005. However, the period from 2006 to 2019 shows less significant performance.

Improving energy efficiency in the energy-intensive chemical sector is a determining economic success factor but also an important instrument to further reduce GHG emissions and thus facilitating transition to climate-neutrality.

EU27 Chemicals performance is better than overall industry

EU27 specific energy consumption: Chemicals vs total industry

FactsandFigures2022_ch5_10_Specific energy consumption chemicals vs total industry_without titels

Specific energy consumption (being the energy consumption per unit of production) in the EU27 chemical industry decreased by an average of 2.1% per annum from 1990 to 2019.  Specific energy consumption in the EU27 chemical industry was 47% lower in 2019 compared to 29 years ago. In the EU27 manufacturing sector, specific energy consumption was 44% lower in 2019 compared to 1990.

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