Chlor-Alkali Industry Review 2021-2022
EURO CHLOR ON ITS OWN TRANSITION PATHWAY
Euro Chlor Manager
I am proud of how much Euro Chlor has achieved this past year. We have been addressing the hugely ambitious EU regulatory agenda,…
Euro Chlor Manager
Executive Director Halogens Industry Sector
Tracing our own Transition Pathway
I am proud of how much Euro Chlor has achieved this past year. We have been addressing the hugely ambitious EU regulatory agenda, while at the same time transitioning back to the office after the Covid-19 pandemic and dealing with the new situation caused by the war in the Ukraine. As you can read throughout this Industry Review, much is in flux and intense collaboration has been carried out in partnership with Cefic on our different files, especially energy, hydrogen and the chlorine benchmark. Our Committees and Working Groups have held numerous meetings, we have new Chairs for some of these and are working to maximise the participation of our busy members in the most relevant regulatory dossiers. A huge thanks to everyone involved.
Importantly, as Wouter mentions in his introduction, the Euro Chlor Management Committee held two strategic meetings to identify which key areas of our Mid-Century Strategy for a Sustainable Chlor-Alkali Industry (MCS) should be prioritised due to the current various challenges facing our industry in Europe. Whilst DG GROW is developing transition pathways for many sectors to achieve the twin green and digital transition, we shape our own pathway into the future.
We have also held two successful events over the past 12 months; the hybrid Euro Chlor 2021 Annual General Assembly last November and the face-to-face Euro Chlor 11th International Chlorine Technology Conference and Exhibition in May this year. We launched new publications, most notably our ‘cradle-to-gate’ Eco-profile study, which is both valuable for our downstream stakeholders and helps provide a data-rich baseline for our ongoing MCS and sustainability activities.
Following the launch of our third 10-year Sustainability Programme (for 2021-2030) at the above-mentioned Annual General Assembly, we have successfully integrated nine new Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) into this year’s Industry Review, which focus on priorities identified in the MCS. These essential new KPIs, including transport incidents, production capacity serving as grid balancing and carbon footprint of our production, will help us remain safe and competitive while transitioning towards climate neutrality and full circularity.
CHAIRMAN OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Over the past two years as Chair, I have enjoyed working with the Euro Chlor membership to follow up on all the areas of the MCS, including my twin priorities…
Chairman of the Management Committee
…while building on our progress and handing over the baton
Over the past two years as Chair, I have enjoyed working with the Euro Chlor membership to follow up on all the areas of the MCS, including my twin priorities of safety and hydrogen. Much has been achieved already, and I am confident to hand over the leadership in good shape to our new Chair, Johan Van Den Broeck.
Euro Chlor has stepped up a gear over the past year, especially since the Management Committee defined and developed some key priority trends to focus on. Already covered in our MCS elements, these relate to the increasing energy price differences between the EU and other regions, renewable energy challenges and investigations into important products for and from our industry. This work aims at keeping pace with the current economic, environmental and regulatory changes in the EU whilst enhancing our way of working by building on our strengths. The relevant Euro Chlor Committees and Working Groups are now quickly developing action plans to address them. I wish Johan all the best in following up on their progress.
Johan Van Den Broeck
VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
Thanks to Wouter for his dedicated and sustained support to Euro Chlor over the past two years, in particular his championing of the…
Johan Van Den Broeck
Vice-Chairman of the Management Committee
I hope to continue this legacy
Thanks to Wouter for his dedicated and sustained support to Euro Chlor over the past two years, in particular his championing of the Safe Loading and Unloading Commitment. He has been regularly advising the Euro Chlor team on key topics, and I hope to continue this legacy.
I will also closely monitor the process that the Euro Chlor Regulatory Affairs Committee, Energy and Hydrogen Task Forces, in particular, are following to reinforce their priorities with dynamic new Chairs and more interactive members to cope with the busy EU agenda. We expect to see various industry transition pathways in the next 12 months, which may also require our attention.
In parallel, the REACH restriction agenda will continue to be addressed throughout our value chain. With all of the above, I look forward to taking over the intense collaboration with the Euro Chlor team and the entire membership.
The content from this year’s Industry Review (covering September 2021-August 2022) reflects the four main elements of our Mid-Century Strategy (MCS). Out of 16 key parameters, seven have been reported in our Sustainability Programme since 2001 and are marked with an icon so they can be compared with previous editions.
We are delighted to announce that this year’s contribution from our members (to the 2021 Euro Chlor Sustainability Questionnaire) was almost complete, covering 98.6% of Euro Chlor member’s capacity in 2021. The Euro Chlor team will continue its efforts to keep this high participation rate. Under the EU’s REPowerEU acceleration of the Green Deal, our commitment to sustainability and also climate neutrality becomes even more crucial. On this chart, you can see how our members have contributed to the Sustainability Programme over the last 21 years.
Management Committee scenarios developed to keep us steady during the transition
The Euro Chlor Management Committee held a special session at the end of April 2022 to identify several priority trends that could impact our sector, most notably:
- Energy prices remaining at the same high level as they are now or increasing even further, until a ‘delta’ is reached that would make companies stop their EU activities and/or move outside the EU;
- Increased demand for flexibility and renewable energy, as well as high expectations for hydrogen;
- Challenges and opportunities related to increasing restrictions of certain chemicals and increased recycling.
The first is being picked up by the Euro Chlor Energy and Hydrogen Task Forces, who discussed it in a face-to-face workshop, which has led to studies to be carried out on energy price differences and Energy Market Design, continued hydrogen advocacy and a focus on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).
The second one is a combined effort of the Energy and Hydrogen TFs and the General Technical Committee (GTC). The first two groups will look into the regulatory and market implications and options and the GTC will focus on the technical capability to increase flexible operations of the production installations, including the effects for upstream, downstream, storage and product quality.
The third trend will be covered by the Regulatory Affairs Committee, who are discussing how to potentially support up- and downstream associations in their advocacy work.
Other topics that may also impact our sector include the effects of globalisation, and the EU’s plans for the sustainable finance taxonomy and aspects of the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS).
Meanwhile, work on all other MCS priorities continue unabated, as detailed under the four elements (Safety Leader, Competitive Supplier, Climate Neutral Player and Circularity Champion).
Successful hybrid Annual General Assembly
Chair Wouter Bleukx opened the Annual General Assembly meeting on 26 November 2021 by launching Euro Chlor’s third 10-year sustainability programme and giving highlights from the past year. An update was also provided on the MCS, focusing on the progress already made under the four elements that had been featured in the 2020-2021 Industry Review (and are now followed up on this website).
Two engaging external energy-focused speakers also presented; Dr Willem Huisman (Cefic) talked about the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, whilst Philip Cole of Wind Europe gave an overview of the association’s activities. The event also elected Johan Van Den Broeck from Vynova as the new Management Committee Vice-Chair.
Overview of 11th International Chlorine Technology Conference and Exhibition
Following two consecutive years of postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 280 delegates from 26 nationalities were present in Warsaw, Poland on 3-5 May 2022 at the Euro Chlor 11th International Chlorine Technology Conference and Exhibition. Marleen Pauwels kicked off the event and introduced Wouter Bleukx, who set out the progress of the Euro Chlor MCS, whilst Ton Manders gave some results of the Euro Chlor third 10-year Sustainability Programme.
Henry Warren of IHS Markit talked about the industries that drive chlorine demand and gave an overview of the European chlorine market. Two more technical sessions followed, highlighting the MCS elements of Safety Leader and Climate Neutral Player. These sessions were a mix of presentations by Euro Chlor members and staff on key topics and partners on their technological developments.
Feedback received was very positive and everyone is looking forward to the next event in 2025 at the latest.
Our publications launched
Euro Chlor launches 2022 Eco-profile study
The 2022 Euro Chlor Eco-profile, published in February 2022, sets out the environmental impacts along the production chain from ‘cradle-to-gate’. Since the last report was issued in 2013, we are proud to announce that:
- Mercury technology has been phased out;
- The Global Warming Potential (GWP) for chlorine, sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite has decreased by around 20–25% due to changes in grid electricity GWP and less electricity use for electrolysis due to the mercury phase out;
- For hydrogen, an improvement of 44% was noted, because vented hydrogen is no longer considered as a greenhouse gas;
- Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) decreased by about 50% for all products.
…and two new animations illustrate membrane and diaphragm cell processes
In Europe there are two key ways to make chlor-alkali chemistry; via membrane and diaphragm technologies. In April 2022, Euro Chlor published two new animations to illustrate these processes.
TECHNICAL AND SAFETY DIRECTOR
The Safety Leader priorities have progressed over this past year in line with the positive indicators.
Chairman of the Management Committee
Chlorine production recovered after the COVID-19 crisis and intense efforts continue to safeguard access to cost-competitive energy.
Climate Neutral Player
Regulatory Affairs Manager
REPowerEU impacts our industry; we are working hard to help Europe meet its goals.
Euro Chlor has started to measure the waste from our production processes and to investigate PFAS in our value chain.
Halogens Industry Sector News
The Halogens Industry Sector Board nicely feeds into the synergy between our Sector Groups and the Cefic policy departments.
Collaboration & Outreach
We continued to reach out to our members, partners and key downstream user associations.