In 2019, Rotterdam’s industrial sector lowered its carbon emissions for the third year in a row. The main contributor to this reduction was the shift from coal-fired to gas-fired plants in electric power production. The refineries sector on the other hand showed an increase in 2019.
This is due to two factors. On the one hand, in the preceding years, several refineries had powered down a share of their capacity for maintenance. On the other hand, there was an increase in the production of cleaner fuels. While cleaner fuels ultimately lead to better air quality, their production actually requires more power than conventional fuels.
Rotterdam’s peak year in terms of carbon emissions was 2016. That’s when a number of new coal-fired plants were taken into use, while existing examples remained operational. Emission levels have been cut by 17.3% since 2016. The reduction in 2019 totalled 3.8%.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority is working step by step towards a carbon-neutral port and industrial sector by 2050. To this end, it has joined strengths with the private sector and government in a series of projects. Examples include the utilisation of residual heat for homes and greenhouses, CCUS (the capture, transport and storage of carbon in the seabed of the North Sea – known as the Porthos project), the generation of green electricity, the production of blue and green hydrogen and circular production processes like chemical recycling (waste-to-chemicals, pyrolysis).