“electrifying Industrial Processes: Reducing Carbon Footprint And Energy Costs” – US industries account for 30 percent of national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while the industrial sector globally accounts for 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. A switch to renewable energy only addresses a very small proportion of industrial emissions. However, there are technologies and methods that are ready to reduce emissions from industry, and innovations that could fully decarbonize the sector.

Since 1990, industrial processes have been one of the fastest growing global sources of greenhouse gas emissions, almost tripling over the past three decades. This increase was partly due to the increase in carbon dioxide emissions, but also the increased use of refrigeration and air conditioning systems which produce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases. Direct emissions from the industrial sector result from on-site fuel burning or process emissions from chemical reactions inherent to the industrial production itself.

“electrifying Industrial Processes: Reducing Carbon Footprint And Energy Costs”

Today, direct industrial emissions account for 23 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions, making it the highest emitting sector after transportation and electricity. Adding industrial electricity use brings the total contribution to 30 percent of US emissions. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects US demand for energy from the industrial sector to grow by about 36 percent by mid-century.

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The United States is one of over 60 countries to set a target for a net-zero economy by 2050. Reducing carbon emissions to around 45 percent below 2010 levels globally by 2030 will give the best chance to the world reach those goals. If we do not reach the 2030 goal, it is theoretically possible to “catch up” if the steps we take now enable us to accelerate reductions in emissions in the 20 years after that. Starting the research, development and demonstration (R&D) work required for many industrial decarbonisation solutions can enable those faster emissions.

The largest emitting industrial sectors in the United States — chemicals, refining, cement and steel — are a good place to start decarbonizing this sector.

The chemical sector is the largest emitter of US industrial greenhouse gases (although a much smaller share of global emissions) because chemicals are essential building blocks in making plastics, rubbers, foams, dyes, adhesives, soaps and detergents which contributes to the manufacture of clothing. , packaging, appliances and electronics, vehicles and machinery, office and industrial equipment, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, building materials, furniture and healthcare equipment.

Many chemicals are made by refining crude oil, just as oil and gas are. Most US transportation runs on gas and oil, but that is likely to change as electric vehicles become more common, reducing some demand for refinement. However, chemicals will still need refineries, so these facilities must be decarbonised. Switching to more sustainable fuels and using carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) can be part of the solution.

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Steelmaking accounts for 5 percent of industrial emissions in the United States. The use of green hydrogen, renewable energy and CCUS could offer decarbonisation opportunities in the long term and in the near term. Using hydrogen to produce steel virtually eliminates direct carbon emissions. Furthermore, new electrolytic steelmaking processes have the potential to significantly reduce steelmaking emissions. A low carbon product standard for steel in the US could stimulate the adoption of these technologies while keeping US steel competitive internationally.

The production of cement, the key ingredient in concrete, is responsible for just over 1 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions and 7 percent of global emissions. Decarbonisation of cement is challenging because the manufacturing process involves heating limestone at very high temperatures to produce lime, which emits carbon dioxide. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) and/or a fundamental change to the ingredients that make up cement will be required to reduce these process emissions. Some options for cement decarbonisation are not yet commercially available, are limited by available resources or rely on the use of specific inputs or equipment specific technologies. A tradable low carbon cement standard would provide a targeted approach to reducing the emission intensity of the cement sector.

While the diversity of businesses, products, facility sizes and configurations tends to prevent one-size-fits-all solutions for industrial emissions, there are several general challenges and cross-cutting solutions that apply across the sector.

Heavy industry requires high temperatures, which today are produced almost entirely by burning fossil fuels. For example, the production of some high-value chemicals requires temperatures close to 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit and blast furnaces that produce steel operate at temperatures even higher than 2,732F.

Electrification Is Not Enough For Decarbonization”

Electrifying these processes and switching to renewable resources can help reduce emissions in some processes. However, electrification, especially on a large scale, can be impractical and costly with current technologies. Only a few clean generation options can reach high enough temperatures.

CCUS and switching to clean hydrogen fuel to produce heat can eliminate most emissions. CCUS is particularly important to eliminate process emissions that would not be addressed by fuel switching. But in most cases, the industrial applications of these technologies are in their costly initial stages. Without decarbonisation policies to mandate and incentivize investment, there is no real market signal to adopt CCUS and switch fuels.

A price on carbon has been seen as the most efficient way to reduce emissions across the economy. But political opposition has led to a sector-by-sector approach to decarbonisation in the United States, and a reliance on incentives and sometimes standards instead of mandates. It is not yet known whether this will work on industrial emissions.

The US Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law November 15, provides $500 million for industrial emissions demonstration projects that test and validate emission reduction technologies in sectors such as cement, iron and steel. Other provisions in the law create programs to design, trial and demonstrate methods of permanently putting carbon captured from industrial facilities back into the ground. The Build Back Better Act, which cleared the House on November 19, also contains essential provisions to tackle industrial emissions. The bill would significantly extend and improve the tax credits for carbon sequestration and create a new credit for clean hydrogen production. It also includes $4 billion for the use of advanced technologies that can accelerate emissions reductions in industrial facilities. The investments in the Build Back Better Act, together with the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act, will put the 2030 emissions reduction target within reach.

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Incentives for carbon capture are greeted with skepticism by some climate advocates who fear it will lock up fossil fuel infrastructure and could contribute to continued dependence on fossil fuels at the expense of increasing the use of renewable energy. Local advocates fear the incentives could keep factories operating well beyond their intended life while failing to curb other pollutants that harm nearby communities. Others have a vision for a world less dependent on industry and involving less consumption in general, with manufacturing processes that are smaller, less polluting and more circular.

Industrial producers also face challenges from consumers who may be reluctant to embrace low carbon versions of their products. Construction companies may not be able to purchase concrete made from carbon-free cement as it is not yet included in building codes. These products are also currently at a disadvantage because they cost more.

The US-led First Movers Coalition, unveiled at the UN climate conference in Glasgow, included 25 founding member companies that pledged to support the innovation needed to achieve net-zero targets by buying early supplies of almost zero emissions, steel, cement, aluminum and chemicals. , among other innovations. Similarly, the Climate Group has launched buyers’ clubs committed to buying carbon-free steel and concrete. Meanwhile, a growing list of steel producers, including some of the world’s largest, have committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and the Portland Cement Associated has published a road map to carbon-neutral concrete.

Creating acceptance, and even demand, for low carbon industrial products across the supply chain will take education, changes to industry standards, procurement policies, financial incentives and low carbon product standards.

Solutions To Help Reduce Carbon Emissions From Industrial Clusters

The largest emitting industrial sectors in the United States — chemicals, refining, cement and steel — are a good place to start decarbonizing this sector. Stimulating industrial innovation

What needs to be done to decarbonise the industrial sector? Globally, companies are feeling the pressure to align their business models with a zero-net economy. Increasing numbers of companies have made commitments to become carbon neutral or reach a science-based target, but few industrial companies are on these lists. The Energy Transition Commission outlined a plan for the decarbonisation of heavy industry and found that it was possible, that the technologies existed or were within reach, and were affordable, costing less than 0.5 per cent of global GDP. But it won’t be easy. Policy makers, investors and businesses will have to take bold steps in the next decade to pursue decarbonisation.

The United States is beginning to offer incentives in the industrial sector through tax credits, financing tools and by investing significant dollars in research, development, demonstration and deployment (RDD&D) programs. Collaborations such as the Industrial Innovation Initiative bring together key industry actors and environmental groups to identify policies needed to foster this new low carbon industrial revolution. Their recommendations are designed to “promote technology demonstrations and use, infrastructure development, public and private procurement programs and initiatives, and other efforts to stimulate the adoption of low-carbon technologies and practices.”

Basically, consumers of these industrial products need to accept and demand carbon-free products, but we have a long way to go. Whether it’s just an objection

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