On October 26, the State Council issued the “Action Plan for Carbon Peak by 2030” (hereinafter referred to as the plan), focusing on the target of carbon peak by 2030 and making the overall arrangements for promotion of carbon peak.

On October 24, the Central Committee of CCP and the State Council issued the “Opinions on Completely, Accurately and Comprehensively Implementing the New Development Concept and Doing a Good Job for Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutralization”.

On October 21, the five departments (National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Ecological Environment, etc.) jointly issued the “Several Opinions on Strict Energy Efficiency Constraints to Promote the Energy Conservation and Carbon Reduction in Key Areas”, and specifically issued the “Action Plan for Strict Energy Efficiency Constraints to Promote the Energy Conservation and Carbon Reduction in Key Petrochemical Industries (2021-2025)” for petrochemical and chemical industry.

Recently, there are many policies related to carbon peak, carbon neutralization and carbon reduction, which represents China’s determination to put efforts on the “30-60 double carbon” target.

In order to achieve the emission reduction target, many governments and relevant regulators in the world will introduce the related policies and measures, which will affect the production and operation activity, bringing significant pressure to those companies with high emission and high energy consumption. During the process of low-carbon transformation, the companies also face the uncertainty brought by technological changes. If they can master the key technologies, they can significantly enhance the competitive advantage and improve their leading position in the industry. On the contrary, they might be eliminated.

According to the statistics from the International Energy Agency, in 2019, the direct emission of carbon dioxide from the production and consumption of chemicals and waste treatment totaled 1.6 billion MT, with an indirect emission of 600 million MT, accounting for 6% of the total global emissions.

Globally, the proportion of carbon emissions from the chemical industry is not high. However, it is difficult to reduce the emissions as it directly involves the basic energy such as coal, oil and natural gas. Meanwhile, it is also difficult to calculate the carbon emissions generated from chemical reaction. Among the industries, it is relatively more difficult to reduce the emissions in the coal industry. China’s coal consumption accounts for 58% of total energy consumption, and the emission of coal chemical products such as formaldehyde, synthetic ammonia and coal to oil is very strong with high carbon concentration during the production process. Thus, the carbon emission in the coal industry shall be the emphasis of the current work.

For the “30-60” target, there will be great challenge covering the entire life cycle from carbon source, carbon application to carbon emission and carbon trading. In terms of the carbon source, the coal power companies will face great risk of stressed renewable energy, unstable operation of renewable energy or certain operation risk to the power grid, and the application of hydrogen energy and energy storage is not as expected as well. In terms of the carbon emission, the capture technology of carbon dioxide needs large amount of R&D funds. The key path for the promotion and application of carbon capture in various segments is still in the early stage, and the technology development might not be as expected in the future. In terms of carbon application, some high-carbon industries will suffer the capacity compression in the short term under the pressure of short-term emission reduction. The higher carbon price will increase the operating cost of high-carbon emission companies and the investment of terminal electrification transformation companies. In terms of carbon trading, the trading mechanism initially established needs to be further developed towards systematization, platformization and marketization.

Among the actions of carbon peak, those involving the petrochemical industry mainly include energy green and low-carbon transformation action, energy conservation and carbon reduction efficiency action, carbon peak action in the industrial segment, circular economy for carbon reduction action and green and low-carbon science and technology innovation action. Among them, the energy conservation and carbon reduction efficiency action proposed to strictly control the intensity of energy consumption, reasonably control the energy amount, implement the energy budget management, and strengthen the energy-saving review for fixed investment projects. The carbon peak action in the industrial segment proposed to strictly enforce the project access, steadily and orderly develop the modern coal chemical industry, promote the lightweight of petrochemical and chemical raw materials, encourage the companies to save the energy and carry out the upgrade and transform, as well as to promote the clean energy utilization and material recycling. The green and low-carbon scientific and technological innovation actions include large-scale utilization of renewable energy. Energy conservation, hydrogen energy, energy storage, power battery, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUs) are the key directions in the future.

Source: China Chemical Industry News

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