Our Scientific Advisory Committee member André Bardow is among the co-authors of the paper titled “Net-zero Emissions Chemical Industry in a World of Limited Resources.”
The chemical industry plays a vital role in our economy, but it also contributes to approximately 5% of global CO₂ emissions. As we strive towards achieving net-zero targets, defossilising this industry becomes crucial. However, it poses unique challenges due to its reliance on carbon-rich raw materials, high-temperature heat requirements, and complex global value chains.
Today, we have multiple technology routes available for producing chemicals with net-zero CO₂ emissions. These routes include Carbon Capture and Utilisation (CCU), biomass utilisation and recycling. While promising, it’s important to assess their viability considering the availability of local energy and natural resources.
This study presents an analysis of the quantified energy, land, and water requirements of different net-zero routes, evaluating their potential impact on resource scarcity at the country level. Furthermore, it delves into the technical and environmental feasibility of achieving a net-zero chemical industry.
The authors indicate that a successful transition to a net-zero chemical industry requires location-specific integrated solutions. These solutions would combine net-zero routes with circular approaches and demand-side measures. Moreover, this transformation may result in a reshaping of the global chemicals trade.
Addressing the environmental footprint of the chemical industry is a complex task, but it presents significant opportunities for innovation and sustainable growth. By collaborating across sectors and leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we can foster a thriving industry that aligns with our net-zero aspirations.
Find the paper here.
More on our Scientific Advisory Committee here.