Michael Carus: How has the environment for the Renewable Carbon Economy evolved during the Corona pandemic, climate change and GreenDeal and the Ukraine war? (in terms of demand and investment)
Søren Kristiansen: Renewable Carbon opens for more local sourcing, either from biomass, waste gasses, or waste in general. Both the Corona pandemic and the Ukraine war has shown how dependent the industry is on global supply chains. Every company must ensure resilience in supply of feedstock and energy, and renewable carbon is an upcoming alternative to fossil carbon/energy. The GreenDeal and visible signs of climate changes are also pushing towards renewable carbon solutions. The industry has so for been able to compensate for lack of supply (e.g. how cold weather in Texas could bring a stop for production of essential chemicals), but the combination of several factors can lead to increased investments in production of pyrolysis oils, PtX and CCU.
Michael Carus: Are there market preferences for any of the three sources of renewable carbon? Biomass first and second generation, biogenic waste, utilisation of CO2 from biogenic and fossil sources and direct air capture or mechanical and chemical recycling?
Søren Kristiansen: The short answer: There is a preference for low energy pathways and using unproblematic feedstock. Mechanical recycling of plastics is preferred, but a challenge due to degradation and impurities. Food based carbon is not preferred but can be considered as a transition towards second generation biomass/biogenic waste. Most waste fractions are preferred including point sources of CO2. Chemical recycling is a very broad topic. ‘Mild processes’ are preferred, such as depolymerization or dissolution. Pyrolysis must be considered case by case, with special focus on energy consumption and emissions.
Michael Carus: What would be the most important measures and policy instruments to accelerate the transformation from fossil to renewable carbon?
Søren Kristiansen: This is a minefield, because there is always a prize to pay, -by someone. Probably standardization of products/materials and requirements for waste handling could be the way to ensure renewable carbon feedstock to the industry. There will be an almost infinite demand for renewable energy to make circular carbon solutions possible. Ensuring access to sustainable energy will be an instrument to accelerate the transition.
Michael Carus: Thank you very much for these great insights, Søren.
Meet Søren Kristiansen at the Renewable Materials Conference (RMC), 10 – 12 May 2022, Cologne, Germany and look forward to his presentation “The LEGO Group’s Renewable Material Strategy” on the 3rd conference day!
More information: https://renewable-materials.eu