Advanced Manufacturing Progress: Process Technologies Are Key to Industrial Decarbonization | AIChE

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Advanced Manufacturing Progress: Process Technologies Are Key to Industrial Decarbonization

Advanced Manufacturing Progress

In early 2017, the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Institute was established as a public-private partnership between the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and AIChE. RAPID was formed to develop and promote technologies and workforce training to transform the chemical process industries (CPI) by lowering energy requirements, capital expenses, and emissions. Now, in 2023, as national and industrial priorities shift focus to industrial decarbonization and net-zero goals, RAPID’s mission has also shifted to enabling industrial decarbonization of the CPI toward the nation’s goals of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, after reaching 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2035.

In the fall of 2022, the DOE released the “Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap” to highlight needs and opportunities for decarbonizing industry. The roadmap highlights five industrial sectors that are both critical and difficult to decarbonize due to their energy-intensive nature: iron and steel, chemicals, food and beverage, petroleum refining, and cement. Chemicals and refining are the two largest CO2-emitting industrial sectors, accounting for roughly 37% of CO2 emissions from all industrial manufacturing.

Decarbonization encompasses the reduction of overall GHG emissions (typically measured as CO2 equivalent, and thus carbon) throughout the lifecycle of products and processes. In this context, decarbonization does not address the carbon content of any products or the origin of the carbon (i.e., biobased vs. fossil), but rather the actual lifecycle emissions from cradle to grave, including any end-of-life burdens. Recycled carbon solutions are beneficial for minimizing end-of-life effects and their contribution to overall emissions...

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