Petrochemicals are found in most, if not all our daily commodities. They’re a cost-effective solution to a growing demand for everyday necessities including food, however their production comes at an environmental cost.
The production of petrochemicals contributes to soil, water, and air contamination. This has global implications as well as the potential to affect smaller systems such as individual ecosystems. Meanwhile, the petrochemical industry has taken on the challenge of sustainability and increased production efficiency significantly while steadily reducing energy use. In this article we’ll be looking further into sustainability in the petrochemical industry.
Is the petrochemical industry sustainable?
Petrochemicals are petrochemical substances made from crude oil (petroleum) and natural gases. They’re produced in petrochemical plants where the outcome of their production provides numerous derivatives including ethylene, propylene and benzene which are used as raw materials to produce a variety of other materials such as plastics, cosmetics, and pesticides.
Producing petrochemicals comes at a certain level of environmental damage as the practice of petrochemistry produces toxic wastewater and part of the production cycle of petrochemicals begins with petroleum also being a non-environmentally friendly practice.
What are the sustainability issues with the petrochemical industry?
During the production of petrochemicals, greenhouse gases are released which can influence the global climate. Petrochemical production causes water pollution both above ground and groundwater ad below ground in lakes, ponds, and streams.
The manufacturing of petrochemicals produces wastewater that contains sulfides, ammonia, and other chemicals. Wastewater from some plants is injected underground through wells, contaminating the aquifers and groundwater from which people previously drank.
Petrochemical industry’s environmental impact
The petrochemical industry has a significant impact on the environment. As per the Financial Times, it represents 18% of the worldwide all out of carbon dioxide emanations. Compared to steel and cement, which mostly rely on coal, this is a sizable portion.
It generates a lot of waste, including a lot of plastic that is thrown away. Water use in the production of petrochemicals is also significant, which contributes to both increased demand and water shortages in some regions of the world.
Petrochemicals and climate change from a global perspective
Petrochemicals are produced in codependent processes in enormous integrated clusters and used across numerous complexes, and interconnected value chains, making their impact on the environment difficult to map.
It is reported that in 2020, greenhouse gas discharges from the petrochemical industry added up to 1.8 GtCO2 eq, comparable to 4% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, emissions have risen rapidly over the past 25 years and are likely to continue rising if the anticipated growth occurs.
What are the sustainability practices in the chemical industry?
To meet society’s needs, the chemical industry has always been at the forefront of developing new or improved materials. This has been historically demonstrated by providing goods with the appropriate chemical or physical goods with the appropriate chemical or physical properties. The focus is presently on providing materials and products that have less of an impact on the environment, including but not limited to lower carbon footprints. Chemicals will play a crucial role in achieving net-zero emissions as more and more industries switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources.
Industrial companies like Anchorage Investments are also part of the sustainability challenge in the chemical industry. The company is thoroughly prepared to embrace an all-encompassing turn of events and the executives’ approach that uses state-of-the-art innovation to create harmless to the ecosystem, energy-productive designs that are receptive to individuals’ material and otherworldly requirements, as well as being delicate toward the local culture and heritage.
Sustainable petroleum geology
Petroleum, also known as crude oil, is a non-renewable energy source. Petroleum is formed from the remains of ancient marine organisms like plants, algae, and bacteria, just like coal and natural gas.
The study of the origin, distribution, exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas resources is the focus of the subfield of geoscience known as petroleum geology. Being a fossil fuel, petroleum combustion contributes to polluting emissions, especially carbon dioxide, one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases. Geologists consider the Earth an open system of gases, liquids, and solids. Sustainability is a key pillar in geology.
With both practices of petroleum engineering and geology colliding to sustainably explore sources of petroleum, the related fields are continuously looking to diversify into low-carbon energy to reduce carbon emissions.
To conclude, the petrochemical industry is vital as industries and economies rely on it globally to produce our everyday necessities, however, it poses environmental threats due to the toxic waste it emits.
Despite the environmental damages, industry players such as Anchorage Investments demonstrate eco-friendly business operations as a chemical-producing company through advanced innovations limiting negative environmental impact.