Low carbon economy – World Engineers Summit 2017

Ispahan Managing Director and IChemE in Singapore Chairman, Joe Eades moderated the Low Carbon Economy Track organised by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Energy Centre held as part of the World Engineers Summit on Climate Change held in Singapore on the 19th July 2017.

Key findings during the track session included.

Singapore has pledged that by 2040 it will reduce emissions by 36% from 2005 levels, under the Paris Agreement. The strategy to achieve this target was presented by Lead Technologist of Singapore’s Climate Change Secretariat, Ho Hiang Kwee. Singapore is one of the lowest global emitters of CO2/$GDP, but the process industries account for the majority of this footprint– particularly in power, transport and industry. Kwee confirmed that Singapore would introduce a carbon tax of S$10-20/Tonne CO2 in 2019, to encourage the use of low carbon technologies.

By 2040 the energy demand in South East Asia will have increased by 80%, with a larger population and economy. David Hooper pointed out this would also impact on the volume of solid waste generated in Asia. Currently 14% of waste is recycled, 30% ends up in water courses and 40% in poorly designed landfill sites causing huge public health challenges.  Hooper argued that waste-to-energy plants can typically destroy 400-2000 tonnes of waste a day generating 10- 60 MW electricity,  using pyrolysis gasification and able to handle moisture levels up to 60% common in the tropics.

The discussion concluded with an audience Q&A with the expert panel. It revealed strong support for the carbon tax, and opened up debate for a circular economy in Asia. A number of audience members stressed the need for Asian nations to become less reliable on imports, and for more sustainable product lifecycles to be adopted.

The workshop was chaired by IChemE Singapore Board Chair and Ispahan Managing Director, Joe Eades. He said:

“Decision-makers, governments and political figures must ensure we can deliver a low carbon future for the future generations. For a long time, economists have been listened to on issues of meeting energy targets – today the IChemE Energy Centre has shown that chemical engineers can provide the technical solutions and evidence-based recommendations for policy.

“We cannot consider things in isolation and must take a look at the bigger picture – the supply chain, the process and the product end-of-life. We must consider the impact of waste on people and the environment, and encourage policy-makers to take a broad, long-term view.”

The World Engineers Summit was held 18-21 July 2017 at Suntec in Singapore. The conference is held biennially to champion engineering-led discussions on sustainable development. The IChemE Energy workshop was held on Wednesday 19 July.