Chemical Industry of Finland
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Climate neutral roadmap for the Finnish chemical sector
Chemical industry is a significant demand driver for energy. The Chemical Industry Federation of Finland creates a realistic but ambitious path for future emission reductions in their roadmap. The roadmap aims to cover all sources of emissions to map all the potential for emission reduction. Thus, the work focuses on direct process emissions, indirect energy emissions and raw materials emissions in the value chain. The roadmap includes multiple paths to a future chemical industry with separately examined energy needs, investment needs, primary technologies, and the resulting development of emission reductions. It is noted that there is no silver bullet and a combination of many technologies and feedstocks are needed to reduce the domestic carbon footprint and reach the climate neutrality by 2045 – which is the Finnish chemical industry’s own target.
Current and target state
The Finnish chemical industry used 26 TWh of energy in 2019: 19 TWh of heat and 7 TWh of electricity. The chemical industry used 24million tons of raw materials, of which around 13% is recycled and renewable materials. Its total direct emissions were 5.7 Mt CO2, and the indirect emissions from purchased energy 1.7 Mt CO2. Main products of the Finnish chemical industry at the time of analysis were oil products (38%), basic chemistry (23%), plastics and plastic products (11%) and pharmaceuticals (10%).
The Finnish chemical industry has competence, products, and solutions that make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.
To achieve major emission reductions, the key is to make it possible for chemical industry production to use zero-emission energy and utilise all side streams (energy, raw materials and heat) as efficiently as possible. According to the scenario analysis, the chemical industry needs to electrify its production in order to cut emissions. This will increase the use of electricity fivefold as well as reduce emissions from energy use. The energy sector integration is crucial in particular for large projects and plants.
Typically, the chemical industry processes require both high temperatures and pressure generated via incineration. This means that a fuel switch to low carbon and fossil free fuels is needed (e.g. natural gas, biogas, biomass and hydrogen). Power-to-x and CCS/U technologies will also be playing an important role. Some processes can also be adjusted and improved by using catalytic solutions. An accelerated circular economy of raw materials, chemical recycling, biotechnology and hydrogen economy are also necessary to implement the changes.
Meanwhile, estimated investment needs in new technology, innovation projects, pilots and demonstrations will increase annually by an average of 70%. Investments are also means to develop and accelerate new competence, attracting top talent while increasing national potential for exports.
Needs and requirements
The roadmap points out that policies that support the decarbonisation of energy production as well as innovative and flexible financing mechanisms for pilot and demonstration projects are needed. The role of public procurement in boosting the competitiveness of low-emission products and technologies is further highlighted. Moreover, the policies should support the creation of a market environment where low-carbon solutions can compete and thrive. Additionally, it is necessary that the legislation and policies support stable availability of cost competitive low carbon and carbon neutral electricity in the future.
Future and positive impacts
The Finnish chemical industry has a further strengthening role in providing solutions that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally through exports. The roadmap estimates that the future handprint impact could be up to five times bigger than the industry’s current carbon footprint.
Did you know that...?
• The turnover of the Finnish chemical industry is in proportion 10 % of Finland's GDP Since 1992 Finnish chemical industry has had a sustainability programme called Responsible Care. As a result, the energy consumption has been reduced by 21%, water consumption by 59% and greenhouse gas emissions by 27%
• In 2018 the Finnish chemical sector set a target of being Climate Neutral by 2045