Mapping Global Flows of Chemicals: From Fossil Fuel Feedstocks to Chemical Products.
Chemical products are ubiquitous in modern society. The chemical sector is the largest industrial energy consumer and the third largest industrial emitter of carbon dioxide. The current portfolio of mitigation options for the chemical sector emphasizes upstream "supply side" solutions, whereas downstream mitigation options, such as material efficiency, are given comparatively short shrift. Key reasons for this are the scarcity of data on the sector's material flows, and the highly intertwined nature of its complex supply chains. We provide the most up to date, comprehensive and transparent data set available publicly, on virgin production routes in the chemical sector: from fossil fuel feedstocks to chemical products. We map global mass flows for the year 2013 through a complex network of transformation processes, and by taking account of secondary reactants and by-products, we maintain a full mass balance throughout. The resulting data set partially addresses the dearth of publicly available information on the chemical sector's supply chain, and can be used to prioritise downstream mitigation options.
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