APIC ’16: Coal-to-chemicals plants are ‘massive CO2 machines’ – exec

Joseph Chang

20-May-2016

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Coal-to-chemicals plants are “massive CO2 machines” that are not environmentally sustainable, a Shell Chemicals senior executive said on Friday.

“Coal-to-chemicals plants produce 6-10 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of chemicals. These are massive CO2 machines that make chemicals as a sidestream,” said Olivier Thorel, vice president of global intermediates and ventures at Shell Chemicals.

“When we are dealing with climate change, this has to be taken into account,” he added.

Chemical companies in China are building coal-to-olefins (CTO) plants in the interior of the country where there are stranded and cheap coal resources.

Thorel addressed delegates at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC) 2016 being held on 19-20 May.

Kurt Aerts, vice president of global specialty elastomers and butyl business at ExxonMobil Chemical, called coal-to-chemicals a “very capital intensive route”.

ExxonMobil’s Aerts also addressed delegates in a panel discussion with Shell’s Thorel.

“It has its place where there is a feedstock advantage but has a significant environmental impact,” said Aerts.

“It all comes back to sustainability drivers in the industry. Eventually there will be a cost of carbon and penalties. Looking into the future, it’s at least something to consider for those embarking on the sustainability journey,” he added.

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