Global chemical industry sales exceeded 5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2017 and are expected to double by 2030.(1) The chemical industry is among the most energy intensive industrial sectors and has greenhouse gas emissions totaling roughly a third of the greenhouse gas emissions of the transportation sector.(2) Raw materials for the chemical industry along with the energy required for their extraction and further processing are predominantly derived from fossil sources. Without transitioning to more sustainable technologies and raw materials, the required expansion of the global chemicals enterprise will exacerbate sustainability challenges. However, expansion of the industry also presents a significant opportunity to promote sustainability and a circular economy. Further, the accelerated increase in global environmental and safety regulations for new and existing chemicals and materials is also driving governmental actions aimed at technologies that are inherently safer and sustainable.(3,4) Despite the COVID-19-induced shrinkage of industrial production in 2020, the global chemical industry could be poised to invest in sustainable chemical manufacturing.(5) New technologies based on renewable sources of energy and raw materials, that are less resource intensive, are urgently needed to minimize harm to the environment and human health.
|Journal||ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering|