The Planet Positive Chemicals report by Systemiq and the Centre for Global Commons at the University of Tokyo has suggested the surge in hydrogen demand, could see the industry play a ‘pivotal’ role in driving the scale-up for electrolyser production.
As part of the required energy transition, the report recognises that the energy system will need to build renewable energy sources to produce up to 12,000TWh for the chemical system by the mid-century, primarily to power green hydrogen production.
It stated, “The majority of energy will be for green hydrogen feedstock production and represent almost 50% of total global green hydrogen demand in 2050. Therefore, the chemical (and particularly the ammonia) industry will be pivotal in driving the scale-up of electrolyser production for the green hydrogen industry.”
The report has estimated that if the chemical industry does not move away from fossil feedstocks, up to 640 million tonnes of carbon capture and storage (CCS) would be required every year by 2050 and warned that no action could see four degrees of global warming attributed to the industry.
According to the report, to enable a sustainable global economy, chemical production would need to double by 2050, with a 440% growth of ammonia production, mainly to be used as a sustainable shipping fuel, and 330% for methanol for sustainable plastic production.
It read, “Up to 234 million tonnes per annum of green hydrogen may also be required, predominantly (99%) as feedstock for ammonia and methanol to enable use of alternative carbon feedstocks for chemical production. “
Commenting on the report, Guido Schmidt-Traub, Managing Partner of Systemiq, said, “The chemical industry underpins every modern economy, but it must change profoundly across its entire value chain to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Importantly, these changes are eminently feasible using proven technologies outlined in this report.
“The recommendations for policymakers, the industry, and the investment community are practical and actionable. Systemiq and our partners stand ready to support discussions about how the chemical industry can become a driver of a Net Zero and nature-positive economy.”
Naoko Ishii, Executive Vice-President and Director of the Centre of Global Commons at the University of Tokyo, added, “To avoid the collapse of the complex and interdependent Earth systems on which humanity, including our economic prosperity depends, we need to transform our social and economic systems and our lifestyles.
“The chemical industry has an outsized role to play, with its products used across many sectors and ubiquitous in modern life. The opportunity is clear: to bring the system back within the planetary boundaries, including Net Zero GHG and become a contributor to the Global Commons. We hope this report will open the debate about how the chemical industry can transform itself to grasp that opportunity.”
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