According to the Paris agreement in 2015, global warming should be limited by applying new innovative technologies in the industry in order to keep the global temperature 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Governmental organisations, institutes and manufacturing companies themselves are concerned about high emissions and all together are making efforts to find and apply more appropriate technologies to reduce GHG emissions. This research focuses on the chemical industry, from the perspective of the chemical industrial cluster, and presents a way to identify the most suitable technologies for decarbonisation. The concept of an industrial cluster has the view of interconnected companies located in industrial proximity and there is a perspective of cooperation in order to find a way to reduce emissions. This cooperation, however, creates complexity as the companies will have to cooperate on a financial, technical and social level.
In order to study the topic, a specific case study was chosen to study, which is the Port of Moerdijk industrial cluster. Using publicly available data, three are chemical manufacturing companies and the one is a glass packaging manufacturing company, which is taken into account. The cluster analysis, results that companies are already strongly interlinked by exchanging material streams and utilities, which is an example of existing industrial symbiosis. The main raw material is naphtha, while energy is produced mainly by burning natural gas. This explains the high emissions of the cluster, around 2.8 Mt CO2/y, while the biggest emitter is the steam cracker unit (55% of the total emissions). Based on the cluster analysis, various options for decarbonisation are studied, such as alternatives for feedstock, energy carriers and the alternative processes itself.
The proposed scenario for the cluster of Moerdijk is, investing in the partial substitution of fossil-based naphtha feedstock with 10% co-feed of bionaphtha and 10% co-feed of waste plastic oil. Implementation of the electrification of the steam cracker, the steam boilers and the glass production processes and finally, Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) technology is recommended. By implementing the recommended combination of decarbonisation options, it is estimated that by 2035 this will result in reduction of 45% of cluster emissions.
After the proposal of the final scenario for the case study, an attempt is made to generalise this analysis, and thus a way towards a decision framework is presented. Essentially, a list of actions is presented, which someone could follow to find the appropriate solution for another chemical industrial cluster. In this framework, all the social, environmental, economic and technical sectors are taken into account. This leads to a rather complex topic that should be solved or at least simplified. This study can be used by decision makers of a chemical manufacturing company, which is a part of an industrial cluster, as a tool in order to follow the right steps to conclude the most suitable option for decarbonisation. The advantage of studying this topic from an industrial cluster perspective is the decrease of individual investment costs by investing in a common solution with shared infrastructure.