Industrial decarbonization picks up steam

The industrial sector is the backbone of the economy, producing the materials that build everything from cities to phones. It’s also a significant contributor to the climate crisis: Industrial processes — from the creation of raw materials to chemicals — are responsible for more emissions than any other sector, making up a third of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

Increasingly, the stars are aligning for industrial emissions to take center stage, for three key reasons: demand for clean solutions is growing; technologies are maturing; and the conditions for policy solutions are ripe.

The emissions associated with manufacturing and other heavy industries could broadly be divided into three categories: indirect energy (from purchased electricity and heat, responsible for about 44 percent of emissions); industrial processes (such as the use of chemicals that release greenhouse gases, 19 percent); and onsite combustion (37 percent, usually for heat processing).

All three are in urgent need of innovations and deployments, but the last of those three — combustion — has, until now, received the least attention.

Climate-conscious companies that depend on thermal processing — used to produce everything from food to ferrous metals — seek better solutions. Historically, these have been inadequate or unaffordable, but a new generation of technologies is promising to change that. Read more…

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