The chemical process industry is an energy intensive industry. The ICCA study  shows that the fuel consumption linked to the chemical industry amounts to 9 Exajoule in 2005. Here the fuel consumption for energy generation is considered, but not petroleum, coal or natural gas used as raw materials. The global energy consumption in 2005 was about 485 EJ (see Figure 5 in Section 3.1), that means the chemical industry consumes about 1.9% of the total global energy.
Figure 10 shows the breakdown of the fuel consumption for energy generation linked to the chemical industry by regions and fuels.
We see that on a global scale ('total') natural gas is the main energy source for the chemical industry and covers more than half of the consumption (58%). The significance of coal and oil is similar. Both cover less than a quarter of the energy requirements of the chemical industry in the world (21% each).
The picture changes if we look at the relevance of the energy sources in the regions. In Asia coal and oil are by far the most important energy sources, whereas gas dominates in Europe, America and Middle East. This asymmetric distribution of the energy sources is one of the reasons for the lower carbon intensity of the economies in Europe and America in comparison with Asia (see Section 3.1).
There is a very close correlation between the fuel consumption for the generation of energy used for the chemical industry in Figure 10 and the GHG emissions linked to the chemical industry in Figure 11.
On a global scale natural gas as the main energy source is also the main source of CO2 emissions. Because of the higher hydrogen content of natural gas in comparison to coal and petroleum the fraction is lower than for the energy consumption (47% of the total CO2 emission instead of 58% of the total energy consumption).
12 | Trends in Energy and C02 Reduction in the Chemical Process Industry 10-,-
■ Centrai 4 South Airerica
Figure 10 Fuel consumption for energy generation linked to the chemical industry (2005) (data from ).
□Europe ■Central 4 Soutn Amerfca
□Asia 4 Oceania or*rth America
Coal Gas Oil Total
Figure 11 CHG emissions linked to the chemical industry (2005) (data from ).
Coal has the highest C/H relation and therefore emits relatively much GHG (29%) in comparison to its 21% contribution to the energy supply.
By the analysis of data from the perspective of regions it follows that countries with a higher fraction of energy generation from natural gas contribute specifically less to C02 emissions than countries which base their energy generation on coal or petroleum. That leads for instance to the result that Asia's chemical industry (with a high energy generation from coal) emits 40% of the global GHG emissions although the energy consumption is only 33% of the global value.
These discussions show that the energy mix is one of the most important levers for the reduction of the climate impact of the industry. The increased use of natural gas for energy generation instead of coal or petroleum leads to the reduction of GHG emissions, although a shift from coal or oil to natural gas will not influence the energy costs dramatically. Costs will only be reduced by achieving enhanced energy efficiency.
Was this article helpful?