We propose Renewable Carbon as a term that includes all carbon sources that avoid or replace additional fossil carbon from the geosphere. Renewable Carbon can come from the atmosphere, biosphere or technosphere – but not from the geosphere. Renewable Carbon circulates between atmosphere, biosphere and technosphere. The chemical and plastics industry may only develop into a sustainable sector once it bids farewell to fossil raw materials such as crude oil, natural gas and coal for good and uses nothing but renewable carbon as a raw material in organic chemistry.
The equivalent to decarbonisation in the energy sector is a transition to renewable carbon in the chemical and plastics industries.
Our own calculation shows that for the production of 20 PWh solar energy, only 0.9% of the Sahara region is needed for PV. The PV yield in the Sahara is typically about 250 GWh/km2/y (Breyer 2019, LUT University). That means: To produce 20 PWh from PV an area of 80,000 km2 is needed. Compared to the total area of the Sahara of 9,200,000 km2 this is only 0.9% of the Sahara region.
The energy won from this area could cover the global non-energetic carbon demand of the chemical and plastics industry as it was in 2018 when applying it to carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) processes.
Michael Carus, CEO of nova-Institut Germany, recently presented the “Renewable Carbon Strategy“ at several events about the future of the chemical and plastic industry in the last months. The response to the strategy has been very positive throughout and the excitement is great about which steps will follow next year. In order to involve a large number of experts in the discussion, we have decided to make the publication of the presentation freely available. You can download the presentation at www.bio-based.eu/markets/#RCPresentation201912
Source: nova-Institut GmbH, 2019-12-13.