New Report Evaluates Key Pathways for Emissions Reduction in the Chemical Sector

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2024 11:00 am ET

New Report Evaluates Key Pathways for Emissions Reduction in the Chemical Sector

Accenture Development Partnerships Report Prepared for the Renewable Thermal Collaborative and World Wildlife Fund Identifies Key Recommendations for Decarbonizing Three Emissions-Intensive Processes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 25, 2024 –Decarbonization of the chemical sector is both possible and necessary according to a new Chemical Sector Assessment produced by Accenture Development Partnerships and World Wildlife Fund for the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC). According to the report, the chemical sector is responsible for approximately 20% of U.S. industrial emissions and two-thirds of these emissions are attributed to basic chemicals, which are the building blocks of other chemicals and consumer products used by millions of people every day. The report, released today and discussed in a webinar featuring report authors and RTC staff, identifies three key processes for the production of basic chemicals and how they can be decarbonized.

“Decarbonizing vitally important chemical production is a priority for supporting overall emissions reduction goals,” declared Blaine Collison, RTC Executive Director. “Fortunately, we know how to address a significant percentage of the most emissions-intensive processes for producing basic chemicals. We hope this report will be a valuable resource for all industry, advocacy and related stakeholders in determining specific next steps forward to help decarbonize the industry.”

The Chemical Sector Assessment identifies three key processes for the production of basic chemicals as: 1) steam methane reforming (SMR) and Haber Bosch to produce ammonia; 2) Steam Cracking to produce high-value chemicals; and 3) SMR or steam reforming to produce methanol. Demand from each of these processes is expected to grow significantly by 2050, necessitating urgent and comprehensive changes to manufacturing to reduce emissions. These changes include prioritizing low-carbon feedstock such as clean hydrogen and biobased feedstock as well as electrification, carbon capture utilization and storage, and thermal storage solutions. When applied to production of ammonia, high-value chemicals and methanol, these solutions can reduce emissions from these production processes by more than 60% by 2050.

“One of this report’s main conclusions is that companies need to act today to make the necessary investment decisions to support the long-term solutions required to set themselves on a path to net zero,” stated Cihang Yuan, WWF Climate and Renewable Energy Senior Program Officer and lead author of the report. “Chemical companies need to invest in a two-pronged approach to decarbonize emissions from both fuel and chemical feedstock by prioritizing low-carbon feedstocks—like clean hydrogen and biobased feedstock—and utilizing complementary technologies, such as electrification, thermal storage, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).””

The Chemical Sector Assessment identifies priority, high-value opportunities for three key groups of stakeholders to help accelerate chemical sector decarbonization: chemical sector companies, companies that have significant value chain emissions in the chemical sector, and policymakers. Specific actions outlined in the report include:

  • Chemical sector companies: To support long-term solutions for achieving net zero, chemical companies must act now and make investment decisions in facility modification and infrastructure.
  • Companies that have significant value chain emissions in the chemical sector: Companies that have substantial value chain emissions in the chemical sector should leverage the knowledge from this report to: 1) map their chemical sector footprint and hotspots; 2) work with their high-impact chemical suppliers on targeted decarbonization solutions; and 3) join other corporate consumers to leverage their collective buying power to accelerate the decarbonization of the chemical sector.
  • Policymakers: Policymakers need to: 1) create enabling financial incentives to facilitate upgrades and infrastructure; 2) streamline permitting processes to support project deployment; and 3) establish and expand targeted policy demand-side policy support for clean hydrogen and other low-carbon and renewable feedstocks.

Download the Chemical Sector Assessment at https://www.renewablethermal.org/chemical-sector-assessment.

Media Contacts

Ben Finzel (for RTC)

+1-202-277-6286

ben@renewpr.com

 

Matt McFarland (for WWF)

  +1 703-801-9274 

matt.mcfarland@wwfus.org 

About the Chemical Sector Assessment Partners

Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) is a global coalition of companies, institutions, and governments committed to helping reach midcentury climate goals by scaling up renewable heating and cooling technologies at their facilities to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions. The RTC collaborates with its members and sponsors to accelerate industrial decarbonization by addressing and identifying ways to overcome the technology, policy, and market challenges that large thermal energy users face. Visit www.renewablethermal.org to learn more.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
WWF is an independent conservation organization, with over 30 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for the latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.

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