The chemical industry plays a vital role in the fight against climate change and reducing plastic waste. But it’s a challenge. In addition to improving its own carbon footprint the industry is also striving to promote sustainable solutions across all customer industries.
A chemical company leading the way with its sustainability action plan is Dow. The company announced it will obtain 750 MW of its power demand from renewable sources by 2025. Dow has reduced its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 15% in the past 15 years.
Dow’s sustainability action plan has two main areas of focus: ensuring the products it sells to customers continue to be more sustainable than any alternative; advancing its manufacturing operations and therefore decarbonizing production processes. Dow is looking at sustainability from both a facility standpoint and a technology standpoint with the goal of manufacturing products using less resources and encouraging circularity.
Reducing the carbon footprint of packaging
Dow has partnered with UPM Biofuels, a producer of advanced biofuels, to manufacture plastic made from a bio-based renewable feedstock, UPM BioVerno naptha. It is 100% bio-based with identical physical properties to fossil-based naphtha. It is made from crude tall oil, a residue of the pulp production process, from sustainably managed forests. They have joined forces with Elopak, an international supplier of carton packaging for food and beverages, to manufacture an 100% wood-based, recyclable carton with a low CO2 footprint for production and use.
10% of the energy Dow purchases is from renewable sources. Dow Packaging partners with Performance Plastics, a stockist and distributor of polymer granules and bespoke compounds to the UK’s plastics processing industry, to manufacture a renewable energy-made polyethylene. It has 13.8% fewer GHG emissions per pound of product than the industry average polyethylene.
In 2021, Dow announced plans to build the world’s first net-zero carbon emissions, ethylene and derivatives complex at the Fort Saskatchewan site in Alberta, US. Dow plan to retrofit the entire site so that it has net-zero scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide emissions. The site would decarbonize around 20% of Dow’s global ethylene capacity while growing polyethylene supply by around 15% and supporting approximately $1bn of EBITDA growth by 2030. The site is expected to deliver about 15% lower capital intensity vs. Dow’s TX-9 cracker and derivatives. Dow’s Texas 9 cracker is an ethylene production facility in Freeport – it currently has the lowest carbon intensity of its fleet, producing 60% less carbon dioxide (CO2) per ton of production than average.
Sustainability targets 2030-2035
It’s clear that Dow is making real progress towards achieving its sustainability targets: ‘Protecting the Climate’ – reducing net annual carbon emissions by 5m metric tons versus it’s 2020 baseline by 2030; ‘Stopping the Waste’ – 1m metric tons of plastic will be reused or recycled through direct actions and partnerships by 2030; and ‘Closing the Loop’ – 100% of products sold into packaging applications will be reusable or recyclable by 2035.
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Source: Transport Intelligence, 11th October 2022
Author: Julia Swales