Challenges to Realize Carbon Neutrality
Basic ideas and policies
Climate change phenomena are occurring frequently and on a global scale. According to the science, greenhouse gases are considered to be a major factor for such phenomena. Under the Paris Agreement, a leading international initiative to tackle this issue, a goal was set to keep the rise in mean global temperature to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (“two degree target”), and efforts to address this challenge are expected to be accelerated over the coming years.
In order to support such efforts, the Resonac Group will take up new challenges aimed at carbon neutrality, setting goals for 2050. This is one of our key approaches to becoming a “company that contributes to a sustainable global society,” the ideal state defined in our Long-term Vision.
- Up to 2030, promote initiatives for rigorous streamlining, increased efficiency, energy conservation, conversion to gas fuels (high-efficiency co-generation system)
- Promote technology development for new GHG capture and utilization processes and sustainable plastic chemical recycling
- From 2030 to 2050, promote in earnest initiatives for fuel conversion/mixed-combustion using ammonia and hydrogen, and electrification of production processes
- Promote utilization of private hydroelectric power and shift to renewable energy power for use in production
- Aiming to achieve carbon neutrality, promote the development of innovative GHG capture/utilization technologies, utilization of recycled GHG as chemical materials, and implementation of sustainable plastic chemical recycling technologies
Path to Carbon Neutrality Centered on Petrochemicals and Other Chemicals
The Chemicals segment provides products that are indispensable to society. At the same time, however, it emits more greenhouse gases during its production processes than other segments. For this reason, petrochemical and other chemical operations will be a central focus of our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. Up until 2030, our pursuit of carbon neutrality will involve building upon existing technologies centered on those for conserving energy and switching to new energy sources. R&D efforts looking toward 2050, meanwhile, will include the low-concentration CO2 separation system employing an innovative separation agent that was adopted by NEDO under its Green Innovation Fund.
Initiatives for carbon neutrality
High-efficiency co-generation system
The Resonac Group has installed in-house thermal power generation systems with the boiler and the steam turbine designed so as to ensure the efficient supply of electricity and heat (steam) energy sourced from fossil fuels. This is to allow the energy to be used effectively for each of the different production processes, such as heating and distillation, at chemical plants. Also, this off-grid power supply function represents an essential BCP item at chemical plants in preparation for the contingency of a power outage.
We will upgrade the above in-house thermal power generation systems so as to serve our carbon neutrality initiatives. The plan consists of two steps. In the first step, we will introduce a state-of-the-art high-efficiency gas turbine co-generation system, among others, to improve overall energy efficiency, and then switch to fuels with lower CO2 emissions per calorie in an effort to promote lower-emission operations. These measures involve conversion from solid to liquid fuels, which will effect a significant reduction of CO2 emissions, thereby contributing to environmental conservation.
The second step is the planned adoption of co-firing systems based on carbon-free ammonia and other fuels as well as of carbon capture utilization (CCU) and other carbon recycling processes, aiming for carbon neutrality.
Promotion/expansion of chemical recycling
In order to facilitate carbon neutrality in the chemicals industry, it is imperative, along with increasing energy use efficiency, to reduce the use of fossil resources, a leading raw material for many chemical products, as exemplified by plastics. In Japan, a reported 70% of used plastics are incinerated, resulting in CO2 emissions, including for the purpose of heat recovery.
Among a number of proposed solutions to this issue, chemical recycling—referring to the reuse of plastic waste as a raw material for chemical products—is drawing broad attention.
The Resonac Group is already engaged in plastic chemical recycling for ammonia and hydrogen manufacturing. Based on the practical knowledge on plastic waste utilization that has been cultivated through past operations, we are ramping up R&D activities to expand the application of chemical recycling capabilities. Specific plans are discussed for adopting recycled plastics to manufacture ethylene, propylene and other substances used as raw materials for plastics and many other types of organic chemical products in place of petroleum naphtha, a primary conventional option.
We are striving to raise the chemical recycling rate to the extent possible, overcoming limitations related to dirt and impurities, with the aim of achieving fossil-free chemicals production, which represents a significant stride toward a carbon neutral society. We will accelerate our efforts to introduce the results of the above activities to the market as early as possible to broaden the range of applicable products that support a recycling-oriented, carbon neutral society, thus fulfilling our social responsibility as a chemicals manufacturer.