Net Zero news: From Scope 3 to VPPs

Aug. 30, 2022

While the upstream and downstream supply chain of chemical companies contributes on average 81% of overall emissions by the industry, the poor availability and consistency of primary data, or detailed secondary sources, makes it hard to assess emissions and set effective reduction targets. Enter Carbon Minds, a specialist in environmental impact modeling for chemicals and plastics, which has partnered with Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS) to launch Supplier Carbon Footprints. The new offering is intended to help companies measure, manage and identify opportunities to reduce global supply chain emissions associated with the production of 71 bulk chemicals and plastics by supplier, plant and product. “With Supplier Carbon Footprints, organizations will be able to clearly see the climate impact of their supply chains and accurately measure and compare suppliers’ carbon footprints,” explains Alison Jones, ICIS strategy director. “Changing just one supplier could make an immediate and significant difference to Scope 3 emissions.”

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Annette Clayton, CEO of Schneider Electric North America, articulated three approaches that together will prove critical to climate change progress: electrification, digitalized energy efficiency and zero-carbon energy. Together, this trio of existing, scalable technologies can reduce energy demand, while replacing imported fossil fuels with zero-carbon energy. 

“Electricity is the most efficient form of energy, and we should electrify every process we can,” she said. “Digital intelligence makes massive amounts of invisible energy waste visible. It’s the same principle as improving performance via a fitness tracker that visualizes your heart rate and calories burned. With AI, digital twins and other software, it’s possible to create IoT-enabled ‘fitness trackers’ for homes, office buildings, data centers, factories and infrastructure.” And wherever the sun shines and the wind blows, zero-carbon energy can be captured for widespread distribution. “Although there are no overnight fixes for the energy and climate crises we face today, there's a technologically viable fix for both: electrification, digitalized energy efficiency and zero-carbon energy,” she said. “But we have to act immediately. It’s no longer a question of destination, but of speed and scale.”

In a new whitepaper, Moxa’s Charles Chen discusses the importance of Industrial IoT technologies in creating “virtual power plants” (VPP) that will allow electrical grids to respond more quickly and resiliently to the power fluctuations attendant with renewable energy. “By matching supply with demand, VPPs also play a crucial part in reducing wasted energy,” Chen writes. The most common instance of energy waste is discarding excess renewable energy generated for a local area. In a VPP setting, this can be avoided. For example, if the supply of wind-powered energy exceeds the demand of the grid for a particular area, power usage can be stimulated through a time-price mechanism, solving the problem.”

Albioma, a French independent energy provider, has selected Emerson to help transition its coal-fired Bois Rouge plant to 100% renewable energy. As part of Albioma’s wider mission to transition all of its existing fossil fuel plants to renewable energy, Emerson’s automation systems and software will enable the coal-fired power station to convert to biomass feedstock. The power plant, one of three that Albioma operates on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, will be converted to use 100% biomass wood pellets. The overhaul of the 108-megawatt facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 640,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, an 84% decrease in direct emissions compared to current operating levels.