Advancing low-carbon technologies together

Article by Amanda Jasi

LED by the World Economic Forum (WEF), chemical companies are to collaborate to reduce the chemical industry’s CO2 emissions with the aim of accelerating progress on climate protection.

Demand for chemicals and materials is to quadruple by 2050 due to global population growth and expansion of the middle class. To achieve the goals set forth by the Paris agreement the chemicals industry has to significantly reduce emissions by adopting new low carbon emitting technologies.

The WEF’s initiative aims to accelerate the development and upscaling of low-carbon technologies to help achieve a marked reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the chemical industry. To achieve this, a series of low-carbon technologies will be identified and prioritised for implementation. Parallel project teams will address technology, regulatory, funding, market and collaboration challenges to accelerate deployment.

The initiative is expected to consolidate alliances for the collaborative implementation of the prioritised technologies, which may be structured as joint ventures, startups, alliances, or others.

Representatives from 20 international chemical engineering companies met to discuss innovative CO2 reduction technologies and new collaborative approaches

On 18 July representatives from 20 international chemical companies, including scientific experts and chief technology officers, met to discuss innovative CO2 reduction technologies and new collaborative approaches. Participants attended the meeting, held at BASF in Ludwigshafen, at the joint invitation of BASF CEO Martin Brudermüller and the WEF. BASF is a partner in the initiative.

Martin Brudermüller, also Chief Technology Officer at BASF, said in his opening remarks: “We all want to further significantly reduce CO2 emissions at our plants. To do this, we have to develop and implement ground-breaking technologies. This process can be very time-consuming, and we no longer have that much time. The Forum and BASF are hosting the industry to think about how they cooperate and explore ways to accelerate technology development.”

According to the WEF, several technological challenges, such as hydrogen production in low-carbon processes use of CO2 and biomass as a feedstock, and overall electrification of chemical operations could be more efficiently addressed in collaboration. It adds that the design of new collaborative models, such as joint IP schemes, should be carried out in parallel. “In such collaborations partners could benefit from sharing risks and lowering uncertainty while accelerating technology developments and jointly profiting from the results.”

The initiative is led by the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Governors Community at the WEF. In addition to BASF, the partners include: Air Liquide; BP; Clariant; Covestro; Dow Chemical Company; Eni; Henkel; LANXESS; Occidental Petroleum; Repsol; Royal DSM; SABIC; Sibur; Solvay; and Total.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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