Energy: the courageous transition
From one of the largest engineering, process and energy groups (Italian), operating in about 45 countries and controlling about 50 operating companies, the message of President and CEO: no bans, rather innovative solutions for sustainable development that takes into account the resources (all) and uses them adequately, safeguarding the balance on the planet.
NextChem, energy transition oriented.
by Enzo Argante (article published on the magazine Formiche in October 2019)
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the worst enemy of them all? If we talk about the environment, global warming, sustainability, etc. It’s the carbon of course! With the plastic in the awkward role of its prophet. It is nothing to be sarcastic about, but perhaps the metaphor conveys the right idea: beware radicalism, the concept of sustainability should go hand in hand with development if you don't want to simply turn off the switches ... You need to find new, decisive balances. Let's try.
Let's start with what Fabrizio Di Amato and Pierroberto Folgiero stressed in Evolve, the Maire Tecnimont magazine: "...without carbon, man could never have started producing metal, since the dawn of civilization, and later on steel, which gave rise to the second industrial revolution (since 1870). Subsequently, it became the engine for the development of industrial organic chemistry, in particular, the chemical industry".
So, the development of the petrochemical industry is a key element of global industrialization and in opening up new frontiers to global mobility that now is shaping the geopolitical destinies of the world. This is how the story began, but many think that it cannot continue this way... "... 85% of a barrel of oil was used as fuel (petrol, diesel fuel, fuel) and the remaining 15% as a raw material for the petrochemical industry (ethane, propane, butane, naphtha). Burning precious hydrocarbons formed millions of years ago just to operate very low-efficiency internal combustion engines is not one of the best choices for our society. In addition to wasting such a precious source for the chemical industry it generates an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere changing its composition after millions of years and causing global warming due to the greenhouse effect".
Shall we just cross it all out? Thanks to the growth of energy production from renewable sources, to new materials, to the dematerialization caused by the development of digital technology, electric mobility and the concept of sharing, we could venture on a progressive path of decarbonization. It’s not an item on the agenda for everyone: 4% oil demand growth, driven by the increase in population and by the improvement of standards of living, is expected in some parts of the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. This means that in the next 20 years the oil demand will double, opening the door to the new golden age in the sector: "... the major national and international oil companies are announcing massive projects to increase production on the existing plants and to build new mega-plants to meet the expected demand ... petrochemical plants are always strategic for industrialization processes (i.e. employment and socio-technological development) in the developing countries rich in hydrocarbons. This is the case of Europe and North America in the past, the Middle East and North Africa twenty years ago, and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa today”.
So? Oil and water do mix after all? Di Amato and Folgiero ask themselves: "... how can the world ideologically combat greenhouse gases and plastics, and at the same time make large investments in petrochemical infrastructure to cope with an incessant demand, driven by the demography and middle-class lifestyle? How can this apparent schizophrenia be reconciled?" And here is an answer/proposal from Maire Tecnimont's top management: "...engineers must work on a mature vision of a new industrial economy, guided by an action plan on energy transition, developed by the best minds on the planet ... a Future Energy Mix that is both environmentally sustainable and economically and technologically feasible ... it's time for energy engineers to mobilize themselves to limit or remove the CO2 and other greenhouse gases released by existing plants, to put the logic of the circular economy to use, thus avoiding environmental impacts, and to develop the application of biofuels and biomass bioplastics on an industrial scale".
And that is where NextChem enters the battlefield: "We believe in a bold transition to new energy, rethought for the good of the planet. But we don't believe in a world free from plastic. Rather, we believe that a revolution must take place based on its responsible use, starting from Disposables and Invisibles. Plastic, correctly reused and recycled, will always be an integral part of our lives and will remain the best molecule in which the precious "C" will be trapped and used in the most lasting way possible (not burned and wasted as diesel fuels). Conferring in this way unique characteristics to a material that represents one of the best discoveries of the modern world".
Meanwhile, we prepare weapons and baggage for the hydrogen era.
Fabrizio Di Amato
Chairman and Founder of the Maire Tecnimont Group
Degree in Political Science from Rome Sapienza University and an honorary degree in Chemical Engineering from the Milan Polytechnical University. He started his business career when he was nineteen. He has built the Maire Tecnimont Group in over three decades. In 2004 it acquires Fiat Engineering, in 2005 Tecnimont and in 2007 it goes public on the Milan Stock Exchange. Growth continues by the incorporation of the Indian subsidiary Tecnimont Pvt Ltd, the Dutch Stamicarbon and the Italian KT Kinetics Technology, positioning Maire Tecnimont among the major European engineering players. He is Vice President of Assolombarda in charge of Energy, Supply Chains and R&D. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Assonime. In 2016 he was awarded Cavaliere del Lavoro (Order of Merit for Labor).
CEO and General Director of
Maire Tecnimont Group
Degree in Economics from the LUISS University in Rome (and now a member of its Advisory Board), ExEd INSEAD. He is a Chartered Accountant and a registered member of the Auditors Association. He began his career in Agip Petroli, then EY and PWC. In 2000 he joined Wind Telecomunicazioni, in 2008 he became CFO and GD of Tirrenia. In 2010 he joined the Maire Tecnimont Group as CFO of KT Kinetics Technology, becoming its CEO in 2011. In 2012 he was appointed CEO of Tecnimont and GD of Maire Tecnimont, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the parent company. CEO of Maire Tecnimont since 2013. Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Stamicarbon since 2019. Finally, since 2019 CEO of NextChem, a Group company that operates in the field of energy transition and green chemistry.