Comparative lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and their reduction potential for typical petrochemical enterprises in China

Qingbin Song , Shujie Zhao , Dongfeng Zhao


Received February 07, 2021,Revised , Accepted May 21, 2021, Available online January 11, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 125-138

Petrochemical enterprises have become a major source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Yet, due to the unavailability of basic data, there is still a lack of case studies to quantify GHG emissions and provide petrochemical enterprises with guidelines for implementing energy conservation and emission reduction strategies. Therefore, this study conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) analysis to estimate the GHG emissions of four typical petrochemical enterprises in China, using first-hand data, to determine possible emission reduction measures. The analytical data revealed that Dushanzi Petrochemical (DSP) has the highest GHG emission intensity (1.17 tons CO2e/ton), followed by Urumqi Petrochemical (UP) (1.08 tons CO2e/ton), Dalian Petrochemical (DLP) (average 0.58 tons CO2e/ton) and Karamay Petrochemical (KP) (average 0.50 tons CO2e/ton) over the whole life cycle. At the same time, GHG emissions during fossil fuel combustion were the largest contributor to the whole life cycle, accounting for about 77.31%–94.27% of the total emissions. In the fossil-fuel combustion phase, DSP had the highest unit GHG emissions (1.20 tons CO2e), followed by UP (0.89 tons CO2e). In the industrial production phase, DLP had the highest unit GHG emissions (average 0.13 tons CO2e/ton), followed by UP (0.10 tons CO2e/ton). During the torch burning phase, torch burning under accident conditions was the main source of GHG emissions. It is worth noting that the CO2 recovery stage has "negative value," indicating that it will bring some environmental benefits. Further scenario analysis shows that effective policies and advanced technologies can further reduce GHG emissions.

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