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Amer-sil is a 100% Luxembourg manufacturer and produces two essential components for lead-acid batteries: separators and gauntlets, with operations extending across the globe.

The company’s roots date back to 1970 when it began its operations in Luxembourg. Over the years, it has evolved, embracing change and innovation to remain competitive and relevant in an ever-changing industrial battery market.

One of its main priorities is to find more environmentally friendly and cost-effective solutions for its rather energy-intensive production process that consumes gas to produce heat. To reduce its energy bill and adapt its industrial facilities to today’s environmental challenges, Amer-Sil has been able to benefit from an environmental study subsidised by the Ministry of the Economy in 2021-2022.

This study, carried out by external consultants, aimed to identify the main sources of energy savings in Amer-Sil’s production process, and to compare technical solutions from the point of view of their environmental, economic and production impact, with a view to choosing the optimum solution for reducing the activity’s carbon footprint.

Without this early analysis, we might have spent too much or too little.

Optimising operations and future spending

Conducting the environmental study allowed Amer-Sil to identify areas for improvement and to optimise existing processes. The CEO, Alain Cattiaux, states that the reason for the environmental study was two-fold. “The first reason, as we are a 53-year-old firm, is that we want to work on the company’s sustainability, which means being eco-friendly in order to comply with all European and Luxembourg regulations, especially in terms of CO2 emissions. Secondly, we also needed to control our production costs. Fortunately, We started this study before the energy crisis,” he explains.

He adds that the study was also instrumental to make informed decisions about future investments. “We might say we’re replacing our furnace, but it still works, so the goal is to optimise and have an investment that’s well-calibrated to our needs. And without this early analysis, we might have spent too much or too little.”

We want to work on the company’s sustainability, which means being eco-friendly in order to comply with all European and Luxembourg regulations.

Identifying new technologies to drive sustainability

Product Development and Innovation Manager, Ihsan Goksu, highlights some of the key results of the study.

“In a bid to modernise, we didn’t really know what technology to use, and this study enabled us to identify them. We collaborated with a company in Lyon called Cetiat – Centre Technique des Industries Aérauliques et Thermiques, which helped us analyse procedures and processes, so that we could use the most appropriate technologies to develop them. A dozen or so proposals were made, and from these we chose the ones with the greatest economic and ecological impact,” he says.

Partnerships with companies in Switzerland, France and Luxembourg to implement some of the actions described by the study have been identified and will be deployed later this year. “Not only did we have the actions that were proposed by the study, but we also included our own initiatives following the insights that this study provided,” states M. Goksu.

I don’t believe any company has ever regretted having an energy audit performed as it yields a wealth of information that is very useful and allows you to optimise your CapEx.

RDI and environmental investments

Amer-sil regularly develops new products. These developments are the result of research and development (R&D) activities carried out by Amer-Sil’s teams, for which other R&D and innovation grants have been applied for, again with the support of Luxinnovation.

It also recently applied for environmental investment aid, with the help of  Luxinnovation, in accordance with Article 6 of the environmental aid law, to purchase and install the technologies identified in the study and to reduce its gas consumption.

In addition to the national innovation agency, Amer-Sil’s CEO also highlights the support of several other ecosystem players such as Energieagence and Fedil.

Energieagence has carried out energy audits for the company. “I don’t believe any company has ever regretted having an energy audit performed as it yields a wealth of information that is very useful and allows you to optimise your CapEx,” he adds.

The goal is to optimise and have an investment that’s well-calibrated to our needs.

Pioneering energy storage

Beyond conventional battery technologies, the company is actively exploring renewable energy storage solutions to further reduce dependence on fossil fuels. “In terms of future development, we want to be a player in new types of batteries for energy storage, which is neither lead nor lithium. Demand is growing strongly for the storage of electricity produced by renewable but intermittent sources (solar, wind) and this is Amer-Sil’s next phase of development,” concludes Mr Cattiaux.

Photo credit: Amer-sil

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