Energy, Environmental, and Food Security Implications of a Net-zero CO2 Emissions Chemical Industry

11:00am - 12:00pm
Room 1409 (Lifts 25-26), HKUST

To limit global warming below 1.5°C, all anthropogenic activities will have to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century. The chemical industry is responsible for about 5% of global CO2 emissions and is key to achieving net-zero targets. Decarbonizing this industry, nevertheless, faces a special challenge in that a large fraction of chemical products contain carbon. Yet, multiple technology routes are now available for producing chemicals with net-zero CO2 emissions based on biomass, recycling, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage. However, the extent to which these routes are viable with respect to the local availability of energy and natural resources remains unclear. In this seminar, I compare net-zero routes by quantifying their energy, land, and water requirements and the corresponding induced resource scarcity at the country-level, and further discuss the technical and environmental viability of a net-zero chemical industry. Furthermore, I dive into ammonia and fertilizers production to investigate the energy and food security implications of net-zero nitrogen fertilizers.

Event Format
Speakers / Performers:
Dr. Paolo Gabrielli
Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich

Paolo Gabrielli is a Senior Scientist at ETH Zurich, within the Institute of Energy and Process Engineering, and currently a Visiting Investigator at Carnegie Science at Stanford University. He studies the transition to net-zero energy systems, with a focus on the optimization and assessment of distributed energy systems, energy storage, hydrogen, and carbon supply chains. He also investigates strategies to achieve net-zero emissions in hard-to-abate sectors, with a focus on the chemical industry. Paolo Gabrielli holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc., both in Energy and Nuclear Engineering, from the University of Bologna, and a Ph.D. from ETH Zurich, for which he was awarded the Hilti Prize 2021. He performed his M.Sc. program at UCLA with an Overseas Scholarship and his M.Sc. thesis at DTU with an Excellence Scholarship, both granted by the University of Bologna. Before joining ETH Zurich, he worked in the R&D division of General Electric Aviation and in the Renewable Energy Services practice of South Pole.

Recommended For
Faculty and staff
PG students
UG students
Division of Environment and Sustainability
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