In industry, the process always comes first and timely delivery to customers is sacred. This is the narrative we hear in the industry, which is completely legitimate and which we endorse at Entras: the industry exists by the grace of customers buying goods, so quality and customers are king.
But can this narrative be reconciled one of humanities largest challenge: halting the climate change? When transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables, can we keep producing goods like in the good old days? The shift from fossil fuels to renewables also comes with a shift from dispatchable to non-dispatchable energy: it is no longer available by a push on a button, but rather dictated by the availability of wind an sun.
Enter design for flexibility: (re)design industrial processes so to allow them to use as much renewable energy as possible. Step away from baseload industrial processes, increase (intermediate) product storage and over dimension production capacity. Without any doubt this comes with lots of technical, operational, capital but also social and regulatory challenges. It are these challenges that we like to tackle at Entras. We accompany and guide industry through the energy transition.
And yes, alternatives are there: we can convert renewable energy to intermediate energy carriers such as hydrogen or methanol, to be stored and reconverted when needed. Or make use of large (thermal) batteries, buffering the energy. This allows us to keep producing to some extent just like in the good old days. But this will come at a certain investment cost, which will be higher than using the renewable energy in a direct way.
In the end, a fully renewable society will only be possible by a wide variation and combination of technologies and solutions. We at Entras are convinced that industrial flex and the design for flexibility of industrial processes will definitely be amongst them.