The last few years have been quite challenging for the chemical industry in Asia. Vibration of oil prices, regulatory pressures, global climate plans and competition, and changing demographics have a huge impact on chemical industry. In the last years chemical industry companies are working on two major production concepts to further improve their production of chemicals, materials or bio-technology products: cyclic economy and modularized production. The general goal of these activities is to produce faster, with a higher quality and in a less wasteful manner. The chemical industry is facing an increasing demand from fast growing and vibrant markets in Asia and a trend to customized specialty and fine chemicals. Asian chemical companies face different challenge from those in US, Europe and Middle East, such as energy-deficiency, high cost of energy and raw materials, strengthening environmental regulations, increasing labor-cost, etc.
The circular economy in developing countries can increase productivity and economic growth, improving the quality and quantity of employment, and save lives, by reducing environmental impacts such as water and air pollution. For most Asian countries there is huge potential to improve productivity by using resources more efficiently. However, many chemical plants in East Asia are old and need renovate to achieve new standard. With efficient technologies, there are huge business opportunities for companies.
The demand for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) is expected to increase dramatically in the next decades because of the growing EV market. As a result, a large volume of batteries will reach their end-of-primary-life in the near future. However, the spent battery may still retain their capacity, which could be serviceable in its second-life, e.g. for the stationary energy system, or remanufactured to be used again in EVs. The LIB supply chain might benefit from reducing raw material consumption, if LIBs are reused through refurbishing, remanufacturing, or recycled. The reuse and recycle of LIB will also facilitate waste management by the recovery of all valued battery components to contribute to a circular economy. To devise a circular economy strategy for the LIB system, the material flows and the environmental impacts associated with their life cycle including manufacturing, use, and end-of-life phases should be assessed. Although numerous studies on the environmental impact of LIB production are available, the existing primary life cycle inventory data is often difficult to trace back, which is inflexible to discuss the different properties of LIB and energy demand related to the manufacturing process. The different LIB chemistries that have different combinations of metals, will make the material and energy consumption in production process vary. In this study, a bottom-up inventory model of LIB production, which enables to estimate the material requirements, energy demands and the associated environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, is developed. Here, we demonstrate that with this modeling approach, it becomes possible to assist devising a circular economy strategy from environmental impact perspective, reflecting envisioned future circumstances e.g. decarbonization of electricity generation, by coupling with a material flow analysis model.
MgO@ZIF-8 catalysts with various MgO loadings (10-50 wt%) were prepared through a wet-impregnation and calcination process. The physicochemical properties of MgO@ZIF-8 catalysts were characterized using atomic absorption spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, , nitrogen sorption isotherms, field-emission transmission electron microscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis. It is found that MgO nanoparticles could deposit onto the ZIF-8 surface with high atom efficiency and little influence on the ZIF-8 structure. It is suggested that the surface sites and microporosity of ZIF-8 support facilitate the deposition of Mg precursor and subsequent formation of MgO nanoparticles. MgO@ZIF-8 catalysts were tested for catalytic transesterification of glycerol and dimethyl carbonate. It is found that the 50 wt% MgO@ZIF-8 catalyst display an improved catalytic activity on glycerol carbonate production than those of MgO and ZIF-8. Furthermore, the MgO@ZIF-8 catalysts showed higher catalytic activities than their physically-mixed counterparts. These results suggest a synergistic effect between MgO and ZIF-8, which is explained by an acid-base bifunctional catalysis mechanism.