Providing data for integral infrastructure outlook 2030–2050 using unique CIMS model

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Chemelot, alongside the other five industrial clusters in the Netherlands, has been asked to provide data for the Integral Infrastructure Outlook 2030–2050 (II3050) about what infrastructure is required in order to achieve the climate objectives. A highly complex question that was able to be answered with satisfaction using Brightsite’s unique CIMS model. In this article, John Kerkhoven from the Kalavasta research agency explains II3050 and the challenges of modelling to predict climate-neutral energy supply in 2050.

The Integral Infrastructure Outlook 2030–2050 is being conducted by the Dutch network operators, in consultation with all sectors in Dutch society, within the framework of the National Climate Agreement and the aim of reducing emissions to zero by 2050. Research agencies Berenschot and Kalavasta are conducting scenario studies for II3050 which outline four possible future scenarios for a climate-neutral energy supply in 2050 with the different pathways to 2050, in particular the intermediate years 2030, 2035 and 2040. These studies not only consider the energy sources of gas and electricity, but also look at heat, hydrogen, green gas and CO2. The objective of II3050 is to provide a broad-based, long-term perspective for such a system with associated energy networks. This vision of the future must provide guidance for government policy and investment decisions. “An overview of how the energy transition may proceed and which infrastructures need to be adapted or even developed from scratch is not only important for the network operators, but for all parties involved in the implementation of the Climate Agreement and the realisation of the 2050 climate objectives. So the whole of society in fact”, says John Kerkhoven, partner and co-founder of Kalavasta.

René Slaghek, Technology Manager at Brightsite: “The request from II3050 came at the right time. Thanks to our optimisation model, the ‘Chemelot Integrated Model System’ (CIMS), we were able to provide valuable data.”

CIMS makes it possible to supply data

René Slaghek, Technology Manager at Brightsite: “The request from II3050 came at the right time for us. We were already investigating future scenarios and the fact that we are an integrated site may also make it a little easier. In recent years, we have developed an optimisation model, ‘Chemelot Integrated Model System’ (CIMS), and thanks to this model we were able to provide the data. The model can calculate and compare scenarios and transition pathways for the implementation of climate-oriented innovations at Chemelot. Nevertheless, it was a difficult question. We tried to show in as much detail and as persuasively as possible how Chemelot can develop up to 2050 within the four scenarios”. You can read more about CIMS in the article “CIMS: a unique model for validating sustainability options for Chemelot”.

Asking chemicals clusters for input

“In the first phase, we began by developing four climate-neutral energy scenarios for the Netherlands in 2050. The basic principle is that energy supply and demand are matched at any given time. Each scenario differs in terms of who has the main control. The four scenarios are: regional control, national control, European CO2control and international control. We then discussed these scenarios with the fourteen industrial companies with the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands in 2019 and asked them for input. Two of them, OCI and SABIC, are located at Chemelot. The next step was to look at the six industrial clusters. In parallel, we also included smaller companies working on innovations related to recycled, biogenic and synthetic (non-fossil) molecules. We asked the fourteen companies and the six clusters to complete the four scenarios for 2050 and provide the information for the intervening years 2030, 2035 and 2040, in which the scope 1 emissions (emissions from the site itself) and scope 2 emissions (indirect emissions due, for example, to purchased electricity and hydrogen) should be close to zero by 2050. How do you reach that position as a company or as a cluster? That is, of course, a difficult question. The problem for many of the clusters is that they do not have the necessary data or are not allowed to share it. Chemelot cooperated well, which was great”, says Kerkhoven.

René Slaghek, Technology Manager at Brightsite: “The request from II3050 came at the right time. Thanks to our optimisation model, the ‘Chemelot Integrated Model System’ (CIMS), we were able to provide valuable data.”

First hint of the study outcomes

Kalavasta does not yet have the results of the study into the clusters. “We are waiting for the last clusters so that the final analysis can be carried out this autumn. What we are already seeing is that clusters often come up against a problem of definition: which companies belong to a particular cluster and which do not. At Chemelot, this is much less of a problem. Apart from the clusters, the aggregated results of the fourteen companies have already produced an interesting picture. In 2019, these companies consumed 98% of the oil, 96% of the coal, 58% of the natural gas and 27% of the electricity within Dutch industry. They are therefore responsible for a large percentage of the fossil input at present. Scope 1 emissions appear to have good potential for reduction, particularly in the period up to 2035–2040. If companies have their say, the biggest blow will be dealt in the next 13 to 18 years. The government needs to pick up on this message, the companies are ready for it. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the technology that will achieve the greatest reduction in scope 1 emissions by 2030.

Following on from this, electrification and the use of hydrogen will dominate towards 2040. When we look at the various energy sources, we see that with the exception of coal, they do not disappear entirely. The overall use of natural gas among these fourteen companies will not decrease before 2030. Thirteen companies are reducing their gas consumption, however, Tata Steel is taking a first step from coal to natural gas as we approach 2030, and will then have to wait until there is sufficient hydrogen for the next step. The use of green electricity and green and blue hydrogen is increasing sharply, however, the biggest increase will not be until after 2030. In this respect, the companies all assume that the situation in the energy markets will return to some degree of normalcy towards 2030. The industrial transition also raises social questions: How do we get the biomass, hydrogen and green energy that these companies require? In some scenarios, we run up against the limits of what the Netherlands can produce; in other scenarios we see an imbalance, such as a shortage of carbon atoms or pyrolysis oil, Kerkhoven emphasises.

About Kalavasta

Kalavasta is a strategy consultancy which aims to uncover and advance transitions to sustainable equilibria. It works both to mitigate climate change through contributions to the energy transition and to the upcoming transition in agricultural, food and nature systems. Clients value Kalavasta for its sharp strategic analyses, which are always supported by transparent quantitative calculation models. These calculation models are shared as much as possible and are available free of charge for anyone who is interested. In this way, the calculations can be verified and others are given the opportunity to carry out their own analyses by being able to adjust the assumptions for the calculations themselves.

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