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EU strategy places chemical industry at heart of future hydrogen economy

July 10/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The European Commissionís newly-unveiled strategy to scale up renewable hydrogen projects to help meet the EUís 2050 net-zero emissions goal places the chemical industry at the center of Europeís future hydrogen economy, according to Cefic director general Marco Mensink, said Chemweek.

ďAs one of the largest producers and consumers of hydrogen in Europe, it is a vital first step to see that these new strategies place our sector at the heart of Europeís future hydrogen economy," Mensink says, following the publication today of the EUís hydrogen and energy sector integration strategies. "Next to being an alternative fuel and energy carrier, hydrogen can become an important low-carbon building block for the chemical industryís production processes; using hydrogen as a feedstock is a viable option for our industry to reduce CO2 emissions further,Ē he says. The chemical sector supports the envisaged energy sector integration and is ready to share its knowledge of hydrogen production and consumption to help the commission and member states to implement the strategies, he adds.

"We agree that building up a hydrogen economy in Europe requires a full supply chain approach. The success of a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and that of renewable hydrogen will depend on the availability of reliable and affordable low-carbon electricity,Ē according to Mensink. Supporting investments into both hydrogen infrastructure and renewable electricity ďshould become an integral part of the recovery plan for Europe," he says.

Mensink last week urged the EU to get the Green Recovery package going as soon as possible to ďmake sure the trillions we are going to spend will benefit the EU industry, and we donít outsource production of climate-neutral solutions to the outside world."

The European Commissionís roadmap aims to boost green hydrogen use for decarbonization, using mainly wind and solar power, including its deployment in industrial sectors such as chemicals and steel. It also recognizes the need for a phased, gradual approach with blue hydrogen to play a transitional role.

In an initial phase from 2020-2024, the commission says it will support the installation of at least six gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers in the EU, producing up to one million metric tons of renewable hydrogen. A second phase envisages at least 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers would be installed, with up to 10 million metric tons of renewable hydrogen to be produced in the EU from 2025-2030. ďFrom 2030 to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale across all hard-to-decarbonize sectors,Ē it says.

"The new hydrogen economy can be a growth engine to help overcome the economic damage caused by COVID-19," says Frans Timmerman, executive vice president for the European Commissionís Green Deal.

The European Commission also says energy efficiency will be a priority, along with a greater use of electricity and promoting clean fuels, including renewable hydrogen and sustainable biofuels and biogas.

The commission also announced the launch today of the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, which will bring together national and regional governments, industry leaders, society, and the European Investment Bank to help scale up domestic production of green hydrogen. The alliance will ďdevelop a pipeline of concrete projects to support the decarbonization efforts of European energy-intensive industries such as steel and chemicals,Ē says Thierry Breton, European commissioner for the internal market. An industry blueprint estimates hydrogen investments of up to ą430 billion (USD485.5 billion) until 2030, according to the alliance.

As MRC informed before, global oil consumption cut by up to a third in Q1 2020. What happens next in the oil market depends on how quickly and completely the global economy emerges from lockdown, and whether the recessionary hit lingers through the rest of this year and into 2021.

Earlier this year, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40 per cent in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.

We remind that in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 595,170 tonnes in the first five month of 2020, up by 10% year on year. Deliveries of all ethylene polymers, except for linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), rose partially because of an increase in capacity utilisation at ZapSibNeftekhim. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market was 457,930 tonnes in January-May 2020 (calculated by the formula production minus export plus import). Deliveris of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:petroleum products, crude oil, PP, PE, ethylene, propylene, petrochemistry.
Category:General News
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