Leão, Susana; Escamilla, Marta
The chemical industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors representing around 7% of EU industrial production and is a key enabler of other sectors. It produces most of their base chemicals from fossil fuels in processes where a significant amount of CO2 emissions is released to the atmosphere. The EU has committed to very challenging climate change targets to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030 and to further increase the reduction to 80-95% CO2 emission by 2050. These targets cannot be achieved by current technologies – the adoption of disruptive solutions is the only plausible approach. FlowPhotoChem (FPC) project aims to design, develop, and translate to market new materials (photoabsorbers, catalysts, membranes) and flow reactors which can use solar energy, H2O and CO2 to produce a variety of fuels and chemicals, such as hydrogen, ethylene, syngas, acrylic acid, propionic acid and alcohols. Since 80% of all environmental effects associated with a product or process are determined during the design stage, a special emphasis is placed to this early development stage. In this context, the sustainability profile (including the environmental, social, and economic dimensions) of the candidate materials composing the individual FPC flow reactors, and their different configurations will be analysed, and preliminary results will be presented. For this purpose, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Social-Life Cycle Life Assessment (S-LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) methodologies will be used. As FPC project is developing an emerging technology, to better understand the environmental impact this technology may have at a later point in time, an attempt will be made to address the sustainability assessment with a prospective life-cycle approach. A comparison with the evolved incumbent technology at an industrial scale will be done. Scaling-up issues (from lab to industrial scale), data estimations/simulations, availability and quality will be discussed.