German chemical industry sketches costly carbon-neutral path

Frankfurt am Main, Oct 9 (AFP/APP):The industry federation of Germany’s powerful chemical sector said Wednesday companies could achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, but at a massive cost in financial and energy terms.

A study showed reaching net zero output of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) by mid-century would cost 45 billion euros ($49.4 billion) in additional investment, said the VCI group, which brings together giants like BASF and Lanxess with hundreds of smaller firms.

“The necessary CO2-free processes to produce basic chemicals are known in principle, but have to be developed further for large-scale application,” it added, suggesting many could be ready “in the mid-2030s”.

But for the plans to make business sense, low electricity prices and a massive increase in renewable generation would be needed.

Switching to the new carbon-neutral processes and technologies would multiply the key industry’s electricity demand elevenfold, to 628 terawatt-hours per year, the VCI estimated — or as much as Germany generates annually today.

By comparison, a no-new-action scenario could bring a 27-percent reduction in CO2 output using only the seven billion euros already committed to greening chemical plants. Or a middle path with 15 billion of investments could slash emissions by 61 percent.

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