Decarbonization Day is coming up on Friday, November 11th at the 27th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27), and the day will be packed with sessions on what leaders are doing to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. While it is certainly a hot topic — what exactly does decarbonization mean? The term decarbonization refers to the reduction of carbon through the use of low carbon power sources, which equals less greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. While it sounds somewhat simple, there are key things to keep in mind addressing the complexity. Here are three things to consider when thinking about decarbonization and what it means.
#1 Renewables Play an Important Role
One aspect of decarbonization is centered around reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In order to accomplish this, we must work to prevent emissions through zero-carbon renewables such as wind, solar, hydropower as well as energy recovery systems. For example, Sapphire Technologies’ FreeSpin® In-line Turboexpander (FIT) uses advanced magnetic technologies that provide a way to capture the energy lost in pressure reduction.
Renewables are an important part of the decarbonization puzzle, but reaching net zero is harder than it sounds. There are many different industries contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Making processes more green varies significantly depending on the specific application.
#2 Decarbonization Varies by Industries
How each industry addresses decarbonization will vary depending on the processes and key materials in each industry. For example, the steel industry will need to rethink its production processes and leverage hydrogen or other clean fuels in order to move forward in producing fully decarbonized steel. This approach will be entirely different from say the cement industry. The good news? The Inflation Reduction Act will provide significant investments in critical manufacturing industries in an effort to support decarbonization efforts.
When it comes to decarbonization, there is no one size fits all solution. Leaders across industries should start thinking through their current processes and how each could be improved. As stated in the Inflation Reduction Act, there are financial resources available for many industries. Additionally, new technology is also helping lead the way to net zero.
#3 Technology & Innovation
There is a lot of discussion right now on businesses rethinking their business models specifically when it comes to how they can implement technology and innovation to reduce environmental footprints. For some, this means implementing circular business models that involve reducing, reusing and recycling existing materials and products.
While hydrogen and natural gas are still being used by many — thinking through how to make the process more green is key. Sapphire’s FreeSpin® turboexpander is an innovative and economically viable solution to increase the energy efficiency of a natural gas processing plant or distribution facility. This also allows customers to scale up their power generation capacity.
Reaching net zero by 2050 will take collaboration from business leaders across industries as well as governments across the globe. While we are making progress with decarbonization, we must do more to account for the immediate threats of climate change.