Podcast

The many pathways to decarbonizing chemicals

Chemicals manufacturing will be the biggest source of growth for oil by midcentury. How do we reverse that trend?

Chemicals might be the most daunting industrial sector to decarbonize. Unlike concrete and steel, where the end products are largely uniform, refineries spit out thousands of different chemicals through a dizzyingly complex set of processes. These end products are, in turn, used in everything from plastics to fertilizers to pharmaceuticals to clothing. 

The International Energy Agency predicts that chemicals will be the largest source of demand growth for oil through 2050

A wide range of approaches could transform the sector. To talk through them, Shayle turned to industrial emissions guru Rebecca Dell, the program director for industry at ClimateWorks Foundation. 

She breaks down this enigmatic sector. Which chemicals are we talking about? Where are they made? And where do the associated emissions come from? 

Shayle and Rebecca also talk about the feedstock problem: Decarbonizing heat and electricity in the industry is a difficult but straightforward challenge. But how do we replace the versatile fossil fuels used as feedstocks?

Plus, Rebecca has a bone to pick with anyone who thinks we should store captured carbon in plastics. 

Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you’re a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that’s creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit anten​na​group​.com to learn more.

Catalyst is supported by Nextracker. Nextracker’s technology platform has delivered more than 50 gigawatts of zero-emission solar power plants across the globe. Nextracker is developing a data-driven framework to become the most sustainable solar tracker company in the world — with a focus on a truly transparent supply chain. Visit nex​track​er​.com/​s​u​s​t​a​i​n​a​b​ility to learn more.