Humoud Al-Utaibi | ETMA Chairman
I would like to send you all warm greetings, with hopes that you and your families are well and in the best of health. The COVID-19 pandemic has created disruptions for all of us on a personal, national, regional and global level. To overcome this global crisis requires collaboration, experience sharing, partnerships and effective coordination.
Our association, ETMA, in alignment with Saudi Vision 2030, has a mandate for collaboration and knowledge- sharing to address environmental issues, some of which also relate to health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic. ETMA continues to serve and deliver on its mandate through your participation and, specifically, by way of its bi-annual PetroEnvironment Symposium, workshops, technical dinner meetings, and newsletters. The theme of this newsletter is the Circular Carbon
Economy (CCE), a pivotal framework to address resource and environmental issues holistically and comprehensively. In the right place, carbon is a resource and tool; and therefore can be recognized as an asset rather than a toxin. As such, CCE is an important step towards changing the perception about carbon where terms such as “low carbon” and “zero carbon” are widely used. The successful implementation of the CCE framework requires not only current scientific and economic knowledge, but also the creation of new language, knowledge and its wise application. It also requires well informed citizens who, by their daily actions, practice the principles of CCE.
I am excited to share with you this newsletter, a newsletter containing rich contributions from highly respected, national and international leaders in CCE.
The Circular Carbon Economy: Concept & Applications
Axel Meisen, C.M., Ph.D., P.Eng, EurIng, FCAE firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past decade, the ‘Circular Economy Concept’ has been increasingly invoked in the media, corporate reports, and governmental policies. But what is this concept? Fundamentally, the concept suggests that any material (or product) should be designed and used in such a way that it draws sparingly on natural resources and can, at the end of its functional life, be efficiently reused for its original purpose or used for another purpose. The concept is intended to maximize sustainability and to minimize wastes, including wastes destined for landfills. The concept is often depicted by a notional ‘circle’, as shown in FIGURE 11. ‘Reduce’ refers to the sparing use of starting materials or extracted resources.
There is no universally accepted definition of ‘circular economy’, but numerous definitions are discussed, for example, by Sillanpää and Ncibi2 and Gosh3.
The Circular Economy is distinct from the traditional and still prevalent ‘Linear Economy’. The latter is based on natural resources used for the manufacture of products, which generally become wastes at the end of their functional lives. Recycling and repurposing also occur in the Linear Economy, but they are usually not key objectives.
The ‘Circular Carbon Economy’ is a special case of the Circular Economy since its focus is on carbon-containing products, ranging from elemental carbon (like coal and activated carbon) to natural products (like wood and paper), hydrocarbons (like gasoline and diesel) and petrochemicals, including plastics (or polymers). For Saudi Arabia and many other countries, products based on oil and natural gas are of great importance. Hydrocarbon fuels generate greenhouse gases upon combustion. World-wide efforts are underway to store and/or utilize these gases, thereby aiming to meet the intent of the Circular Economy Concept. Plastics are typically designed to be long-lasting and pose a major waste problem, especially when they are improperly disposed. Plastic pollution of the oceans has become a well-publicized issue, but its prevention and mitigation remain to be fully resolved.