Nylon is about to become less climate intensive
New offset protocol opens opportunities for greenhouse gas emissions reductions during the manufacture of adipic acid, a key compound used in the manufacture of nylon
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors adopted the Adipic Acid Production Protocol (AAPP) Version 1.0 today, opening the opportunity for significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions from the manufacture of products that people use in their lives every day. Adipic acid is among the top 50 synthetic chemicals produced in the United States each year. The largest use for adipic acid is in the manufacture of nylon, which is used in carpets, tire cord, safety air bags, apparel, upholstery, auto parts, and in hundreds of other applications that impact our life in many ways.
The offset protocol creates new financial incentives for the installation and use of emission control technology to reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions as a byproduct of adipic acid production. N2O is an unavoidable byproduct that is emitted in the production of adipic acid. It is a potent greenhouse gas with 298 times the global warming potential (GWP) of carbon dioxide . For every molecule of adipic acid produced, a molecule of N2O is produced as a byproduct. In 2018, adipic acid plants were responsible for a reported 10.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. In the absence of an offset system or a regulatory reason to reduce GHG emissions, facilities have no incentive to make a capital investment to adjust their operations.
“Climate change is here. Its impacts are being felt across the nation, from coast to coast, as we deal with wildfires, heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes, and flooding. We need to seize upon every opportunity to meet the climate challenge, and this protocol is a great tool for accelerating climate solutions in the industrial sector.” said Linda Adams, Chair of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors. “The manufacturing process for the materials we use and rely on in our daily lives, including nylon and other synthetic products, generates N2O as a byproduct of production. While N2O is commonly known as laughing gas, it isn’t a laughing matter in regard to our environment. It’s a harmful, potent greenhouse gas.”
Adipic acid plants that destroy or recycle N2O by installing and operating new N2O abatement technology or implementing a capital investment expenditure to improve the abatement efficiency of an existing control technology are eligible under the protocol. Both new installations and enhancement of adipic acid projects face financial barriers to project implementation. The sizeable investment commitment required to implement technological upgrades meets the protocol’s performance threshold to ensure the additionality of the project, meaning the project would not have happened without the incentive of the carbon offset market. Eligibility is limited to projects at existing, relocated, or upgraded adipic acid plants in the United States, thereby precluding the possibility of incentivizing new adipic acid plants. Projects may receive credits for up to two ten-year crediting periods, or until the date the project activity is required by law.