The chemical industry’s immense volume of production makes it one of the largest energy-consumers. But there may be a solution to reduce both the power required for manufacturing and subsequent greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a report by the International Energy Agency and its global partners.
The proposal, entitled “Technology Roadmap: Energy and GHG Reductions in the Chemical Industry via Catalytic Processes” (PDF) contends that one of the best means of increasing efficiency is through advancements in catalysis, which can increase the rate and selectivity of chemical reactions. Given that the majority of chemical processes use catalysts, the report recommends government officials, financial institutions, higher education and industry work cooperatively to improve catalytic practices.
The report calls on policymakers to start developing and implementing policies that bestow greater reward for energy efficiency investments and remove barriers for new investments. A long-term policy framework should be created that encourages investments to reinvigorate catalyst and process improvement and R&D for high-energy consuming processes. Energy subsidies that thwart use of energy efficient technology should be stopped, the report recommends.
The report urges better link-up between financial institutions and chemical industries to meet the pressing need for funding during the transition to and upon reaching a lower-carbon business model. The roadmap outlines a clear need for global and regional co-operation on reducing energy and related emissions via industry associations.
One of the competencies at MATRIC | Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center is working with chemical companies to develop and scale-up use of heterogeneous and homogenous catalysts in production processes; therefore we found this technology roadmap to be noteworthy.
The report was featured by the IEA and the American Chemistry Council during a July event in Washington, D.C.