An investment of $759 billion by 2050 is needed to produce petrochemicals without carbon dioxide emissions or towards net zero, according to BloombergNEF‘s latest report. The strategic research provider estimated that with $759 billion invested in CO2 capture and electrification, HVC production could rise while reaching net-zero emissions at the same time.
High-value chemicals (HVCs) can be produced with fewer carbon emissions with the right investment and electrification and CO2 capture will have a critical role to play in that, BloombergNEF also stated. HVCs, which play an important role in building plastics, are responsible for 2% of the world’s emissions, which is as much as the aviation industry.
This investment is 1% of the total sum required to decarbonize the energy sector globally in the next three decades. To achieve this goal, the report states that all new petrochemical capacity and modernization should be built with a zero-emissions focus after 2030.
CO2 capture could bring hard-to-abate emissions down by 40%, 35% of which is covered by electrification. By 2050, bioplastics are expected to account for 2.5% only, as sustainable biomass is becoming scarcer.
One of the leading reasons for most refineries to close from 2030 is the increasing demand for electric vehicles and the subsequent drop in transport fuel requirements.
The BloombergNEF report warns that net zero petrochemicals – which are an important element in most supply chains – would result in increased product costs, which would eventually affect the final customers.
“Deploying these technologies will be expensive in the short term but it could set the sector on a lower cost decarbonization path,” said Ilhan Savut, lead author of the report. Those in the petrochemical industries should look for ways to fund net-zero projects soon or risk losing important technologies, he also said.
“Investments today will be key to managing longer-term costs and pay dividends post-2035,” Savut added.