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Carbon Reduction Technologies Still Distant

Posted on 22 July 2021

South Korean industries are paying close attention to the ruling party's and government's move for greenhouse gas reduction. The ruling party recently proposed a reduction target of 42.5 percent with a target year of 2030 and the government is agreeing to it.

The problem is that new techniques and technologies for any substantial carbon reduction will be made available around 2050 at the earliest. This fact is already affecting carbon-heavy industries, including steel, semiconductor, oil refining and chemical. "The government's goal is harder to reach than 2050 carbon neutrality, and we cannot but lower our capacity utilization in order to reach it,” they point out.

South Korea's total carbon emissions were 727.6 million tons in 2018. According to the government's plan, this figure has to be cut by 309.23 million tons by 2030. The government's previous reduction target was 24.4 percent, the change in target led to 131.69 million tons in extra reduction, and this extra responsibility is supposed to be shared by industries, power generators, transporters, etc.

Specifically, industries’ responsibility is estimated at 47.41 million tons. This goal could be met if major steelmakers’ processes went substantially carbon-free in that POSCO and Hyundai Steel emitted 81.48 million tons and 22.24 million tons of carbon in 2019, respectively. Unfortunately though, hydrogen reduction steelmaking as a carbon-free process technology is expected to be commercialized in 2050 at the earliest.

This means more pressure will be put on industries such as oil refining, cement and semiconductor. The thing is, these sectors also lack such techniques and technologies. Although carbon capture and utilization is being frequently mentioned, it is still unclear when it will become commercially available.

Source : Business Korea