Steve Slome & Ryan Perry are speaking at the AIChE spring meeting & 19th global congress
Steve Slome & Ryan Perry are speaking at the AIChE spring meeting & 19th global congress on process safety, taking place this March 12th to 16th in Houston.
The abstract to Steve's presentation is below:
Sustainability has become increasingly important in the chemical and energy industries in recent years. Now, due to pledges of carbon neutrality (many by 2050), the chemical industry is searching for options to reduce the carbon intensity of their products (primarily committed to as neutrality based upon scope 1 and 2 emissions, i.e., those directly emitted and those indirectly emitted for utilities), and this need is further supported by the increased chance of expanding carbon taxes and cross border adjustment mechanisms for carbon intensity into key markets. Ethylene is especially important as it is both responsible for a significant fraction of global emissions from the chemical industry as well as being an important feedstock for further chemistry (e.g., MEG, EO, PE., etc.). Because of this, ethylene as well as methanol and ammonia are currently under increased pressure to decarbonize and are seeing an increase in activity focused on sustainability in these sectors (methanol and ammonia are the other “big two” from an emissions perspective: combined these two are, according to IEA estimates, responsible for almost 75 percent of direct emissions from the chemical industry).
Methanol decarbonization is especially interesting as it is a potential feedstock for ethylene as well. NexantECA will discuss the different options for ethylene carbon intensity reduction from a cost and carbon intensity perspective, with insights and data coming from NexantECA’s recently published multi-subscriber report Low Carbon Intensity Ethylene: A Technoeconomic and Carbon Intensity Study. Current approaches for decarbonization with high interest include cracker focused approaches such as, alternative cracker feedstocks, carbon capture, changes to the cracker (e.g., electrification and/or hydrogen co-firing), using decarbonized methanol (including very low CI e-methanol) as a feedstock for MTO, as well as alternative chemistries (e.g., ethanol to ethylene).
There are also some very early stage developments and recent announcements of technologies that may hold promise such as CO2 to ethylene, however these are far from commercial and have significant hurdles to overcome to be considered commercially viable. The reality of achieving global net zero emissions for ethylene will likely be an uphill battle and require a combination of multiple approaches with the likelihood high currently that we will fall short by the deadline—but should it ultimately fall to zero by 2050 or some later date, it is most probably that the death of the carbon footprint of ethylene will not be one swift blow by shutdown economics of a superior technology, rather it will be one of a thousand paper cuts by incremental improvements and the confluence many small steps.
The abstract to Ryan's presentation is below:
Ammonia is one of the largest chemical markets by volume and its impact on the environment has therefore entered the spotlight as the global community looks to mitigate climate change by limiting emissions. There are two broad routes to make ammonia production ‘greener’ and more sustainable:
- Green ammonia involves using renewable power to produce hydrogen via the electrolysis of water. This can then be reacted via conventional ammonia synthesis to produce ammonia
- Blue ammonia involves capturing the emissions from a conventional ammonia facility before sequestering them
The improved environmental impact of green ammonia and policy targeting climate change are driving project announcements and interest in its adoption for fuel applications. This adoption faces many challenges such as technology scale up, policy developments, and market pressure. The number of variables and the emerging status of green ammonia leads to a large uncertainty in market forecasting and as a result, NexantECA has developed scenarios based on varying assumptions for adoption.
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