Avantium targets net-zero operations and shoots for fossil-free chemicals sector

Image: Avantium

Avantium has this week launched its ‘Chain Reaction 2030’ plan that revamps principles listed in a sustainability manifesto that the company published last year.

Chain Reaction 2030 commits the company to reach net-zero carbon emissions across its own operations in the next nine years. By 2025, Avantium will send zero non-hazardous waste to landfill or to be incinerated, and by 2023, all Avantium plants will have achieved ISO45001 certification.

Avantium’s chief executive Tom van Aken said: “Chain Reaction 2030 represents a deepening of our commitment to achieving a fossil-free chemical industry. It gives us a sense of urgency and guides our business to ultimately help transform our industry as a solution to the climate emergency.

“I look forward to working with parties interested in helping us achieve the vision of Chain Reaction, transforming the chemical industry for a world sustained by renewable technologies.”

The new plan also commits Avantium to ensure that its technologies deliver 1.5 million tonnes of carbon savings across the entire chemicals industry by 2030. That will be the same date that the company aims to become “fully circular” and procuring 100% of its feedstock for closed-loop polymers and chemistries from sustainable sources.

In addition, Avantium will ensure that all cases of advocacy and lobbying are aimed at creating a fossil-fuel-free and circular chemicals industry. As such, the company will work with students and the wider sector to try and deliver that aspiration by 2050 at the latest.

Chain reaction

The chemicals industry will need to become a key enabler if the world is to reach net-zero emissions. It has historically been one of the highest emitters in the UK, for example, with emissions reaching more than 18 million tonnes in recent years and accounting for more than 15% of UK industrial energy demand.

However, many chemical plants are located in key industrial clusters that the UK Government is aiming to decarbonise.

Equinor, for example, has unveiled plans to develop the world’s largest plant capable of converting natural gas to hydrogen in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCUS), as part of the zero-carbon industrial hub located in the Humber region.

The plan will enable industrial sector organisations located in the park to switch to hydrogen to reduce emissions. A power plant located in the chemicals park will also move to a 30% hydrogen to natural gas blend of source power. Emissions from the park are expected to be reduced by around 90,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

Elsewhere, businesses including Siemens and Tata Europe’s chemicals arm have agreed to back plans for a net-zero industrial cluster in North West England.

And at a supply level, the chemicals industry is involving itself with innovative projects to combat plastics pollution. Some companies are turning to chemical recycling for plastics, for example, while others are supplying major consumer goods firms with bio-based alternatives to products and materials.

Matt Mace

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