Process Energy

WSP provides multidisciplinary consulting services and understands the value of adopting an integrated approach that includes process, energy, climate and cost perspectives to effectively identify the best process energy solutions.




As a capital, energy-intensive industry and one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, the process industry faces several challenges. These can have major impact on corporate earnings and the industry’s ability to remain competitive, namely due to energy consumption and waste streams, raw materials, water scarcity and carbon emissions, with energy spend being one of the largest cost items incurred. 

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2016 Reference case, in 2012 the industrial sector consumed 54% of the world’s total delivered energy. From 2012 to 2040, the global industrial sector’s energy use is expected to increase annually by approximately 1.2%, from 222 quadrillion to 309 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu).  

How we generate energy today and, more importantly, in the future is a key issue of our time. Pivotal are the solutions that are energy-efficient, renewable, and produce fewer or no greenhouse gas emissions.

As industrial and energy companies worldwide seek ways to maintain optimal system processes and plant performance while planning and supporting all aspects of global sustainability improvements, process energy can act as the solution to counter the challenges faced. Process energy plays a key role in terms of improvements in the usage of assets, efficient industry and energy processes, and in the effective use of renewable energy sources and resources such as energy, water and raw materials to help eliminate or reduce operational and energy inefficiencies, and decrease total operating costs. These factors, especially when combined, deliver benefits that can generate profits, increase competitiveness, manage risks to the environment, reduce carbon footprints from production, and attain operational excellence.

Sustainable energy technologies that convert raw sources into renewable supply, such as with thermal energy conversion of biomass and waste streams through combustion or gasification for the generation of power and heat, are also important energy-efficient solutions that can supply electricity and heat to facilities as well as provide environmental and economic benefits.

Ethanol Plant in Clymers, Indiana

Ethanol Plant in Clymers, Indiana, US

Deep Process Expertise and Tailored Solutions

WSP provides multidisciplinary consulting services and capabilities, and understands the value of adopting an integrated approach that incorporates process, energy, climate and cost perspectives to effectively identify the best process energy solutions. We offer comprehensive expertise in all areas of process energy, including: 

  • Combustion and gasification of biomass for heat and power generation

  • Biogas production via anaerobic digestion

  • Energy efficiency improvements of industrial, energy, and water and wastewater treatment plants

  • Minimization and utilization of industrial and energy waste streams

We have worked on considerable projects around the world in the majority of industrial sectors including food and beverages, biotech and pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, chemical, and manufacturing sectors, including automotive, requiring a vast array of skills to meet our clients’ demands and goals. Our process energy specialists can impart overall and specific knowledge on your operation’s energy use and waste streams and, through our resource efficiency programs, identify where and how cost savings of up to 20-25% can be attained with only small investments.

We also offer a broad range of skills and cutting-edge expertise within thermal energy conversion for companies in the energy and industrial sectors, as well as technical responsibility and support in complete project implementations.

Factory Production in Process Industry

How We Help Clients Reduce Energy Consumption, Increase Energy Savings and Contribute to Greater Sustainability

Wherever the location or whatever the industry, by listening to and partnering with our clients we’ve been able to tap into their challenges and needs. We’ve helped them understand the roots of their business hurdles—be it current, imminent or even anticipating the unforeseeable—guided them in seizing valuable opportunities, and provided actionable insights and innovative solutions to resolve their problems and help grow their business while increasing energy efficiencies and reducing the impact on the environment.

Take for example our work for IKEA, the multinational home furnishing retail giant, who committed to building a sustainable supply chain. WSP carried out a global industrial energy management program across its supply chain, representing different industry sub-sectors such as wood, plastic, paper and textiles. We completed a 24-month program entailing energy efficiency and renewable energy audits at 100 factories, depots and stores to help meet sustainability targets and comply with the European Commission’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) regulations. Audits were carried out at plants and sites around the world, including Poland, Russia, Germany, Sweden, China and Japan, that characterized each site’s current energy usage and cost, and identified specific energy and process efficiency, renewable energy, and fuel-switching opportunities to reduce operating costs and mitigate carbon emissions. Energy savings in the range of 10-20% were identified at all sites audited, with cost savings in excess of €10 M/annum. Our energy audits identified the potential to improve energy efficiency in production processes and use biomass as fuel.

After having shut down its 2000 MW coal-fired power generation station in 2013,  Ontario Power Generation, a Canadian electricity company and one of the largest power companies in North America, commissioned WSP to review a possible re-start in 2023 through a fuel conversion. The fuel conversion project will likely be to natural gas, although solid biomass was also considered. Studies concluded that the facility is in good condition. Preservation techniques were reviewed and are considered appropriate for the facility. Thirty projects were identified as being required to ensure reliable operations in anticipation of the fuel conversion.

Borås Energi & Miljö, a municipally owned energy company, is building a new Energy and Environmental Center (EMC) in Sobacken, Sweden. The EMC comprises a new biomass CHP plant (120 MWth) and a new wastewater treatment plant (150,000 p.e.), an AD plant for biogas production, an existing waste management site, and a recycling and waste management plant. The total investment is €3.4 M. 

Energy and Environmental Centre in Sobacken, Sweden

rendering of energy and environmental center in sobacken, sweden. source: boras energi och miljö

Since 2011, WSP engineers, specialists and project managers have been providing consultancy and expertise across multiple engineering disciplines for the EMC project, and now hold several key positions in the multidisciplinary project organization. In the early stages of the project, WSP provided visionary and strategic planning, and identified possible synergies using process integration to optimize energy efficiency between the different plants and facilities. Additionally, we developed technical descriptions for the environmental permit application, carried out the pre-engineering of the CHP plant and detailed design of the transmission conduits for water, raw sewage or untreated wastewater, and district heating, as well as conducted geotechnical and ground assessment and construction design services.

Global Market Demands Require Effective Decision-Making and Process Energy Skills 

Evolving energy demands and market conditions call for strategic thinking and decision-making, and specialist process energy competencies. We can provide clients with solutions to their business problems, help identify opportunities, make key decisions, and select the right investments that deliver the greatest impact toward sustainability improvements. We can also build on client collaborations and partnerships throughout the project process — from early conceptual studies to permitting and environmental impact assessments and all the way through to the solution or basic and detailed design of the plant, including an array of disciplines such as process consulting, automation, and electrical, mechanical and structural engineering.
As a global multidisciplinary engineering professional services consulting firm, our project management skills and advanced technical and environmental expertise enables us to contribute to your projects, no matter their size or location.

If you represent a company within the process industry or energy sectors and need specific solutions for your business, we invite you to contact our specialists to see how we can help.