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Orica selects Cognizant for bespoke nitric acid GHG reporting platform

© Shutterstock / T. SchneiderPost Thumbnail

Cognizant will implement a digital platform designed to help Australia’s Orica monitor and forecast emissions in real-time, and help develop its new ESG data strategy, reporting and governance model.

  • Orica plays a central role in the production and supply of explosives, blasting systems, mining chemicals and geotechnical monitoring in the mining sector.
  • Nitrous oxide is a significant output from Orica’s manufacturing processes, a GHG more than 300x more damaging than CO2.
  • Explosives manufacturer Orica says that despite only tackling Scope 1 and 2 emissions, decarbonisation at its nitric acid plant will cut emissions equivalent to 1% of Australia’s overall emissions footprint.

Orica (ASX:ORI) is the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction markets, a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling.

Cognizant has said it will build on its existing relationship with Orica to deliver an ESG data strategy as well as a digital reporting platform.

The platform will provide real-time reporting and forecasting of scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project is a key component of Orica’s Net Zero strategy, specifically its AU$37 million Kooragang Island Decarbonization Project.

Growing numbers of customers, investors, regulators, and governmental bodies now expect corporations to make measurable progress toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. While this is a solid step forward on a decarbonisation pathway, the failure to include Scope 3 emissions rather undercuts its position as a leader. There is no doubt however that an important step lies in understanding the full implications of emissions within a plant.

Jonathan Smith, Sustainability Lead, ANZ, Cognizant said: “Companies will need to transform their product and technology strategies, supply chains, logistics models, and more. Data is a crucial factor that allows companies to analyze their current emissions and measure against ESG goals over time, and we are incredibly proud of having been appointed as the data, AI and analytics partner for Orica to be able to measure Orica’s ESG efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.”

Could Orica’s decarbonisation plans really equate to 1% of Australia’s footprint?

Orica has installed catalyst abatement technology at its nitric acid production facility at Kooragang Island, forecasting a significant reduction in GHG emissions, specifically nitrous oxide. Typical N2O concentrations at the average absorber outlet are between 300-1,500 ppm and a typical nitric acid plant emits 6-9 kg of N2O per tonne of HNO3 produced. This corresponds to around 1.7-2.9 tonnes of CO2 equivalents.

According to the Sixth Annual Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 2020, the concentration of N2O in the atmosphere has increased by 23 % since pre-industrial times, and N2O is the third largest contributor to climate change.

The Kooragang Island decarbonisation initiative is expected to provide cumulative emission reductions of 4.7 million tonnes of CO2e by 2030. According to Nitric Acid Action, “N2O emissions from adipic and nitric acid production contribute to about 0.2% of global emissions (roughly 100 MtCO2eq), which is equivalent to 24% of non-CO2 GHG emissions from key industrial processes. Besides, N2O is the most important ozone-depleting substance not covered by the Montreal Protocol.”.

The expected cumulative reduction of this project has been calculated to be equivalent to 1% of Australia’s annual carbon footprint, or, on an annual basis, avoiding GHG emissions produced by the equivalent of 35,000-50,000 Australian homes.

How will Cognizant develop its platform?

As part of the agreement, Cognizant will leverage Orica’s existing technology investments, specifically its Microsoft Azure data lake, and provide Orica with a single ESG data platform.

This platform is expected to capture and curate Orica’s GHG emissions data, including structured, unstructured and real-time data, with the goal of enabling Orica to monitor, report and forecast its GHG emissions reductions and track the origination of Australian Carbon Credit Units.

“There is a growing market-driven need for large organizations in the resources industry to understand, report on and reduce their carbon footprint. As a major supplier to mining and construction companies, Orica also has an important role to play in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions,” said Chris Crozier, Chief Information Officer, Orica.

He continued: “As such, we needed a trusted partner with a similar focus on ESG goals and sustainability and one with an expertise in data analysis, AI, design and IoT. We look forward to working with Cognizant to help us achieve our own sustainability objectives, while we look for ways to support our customers meeting their own goals.”

Orica had previously engaged Cognizant to move its IT infrastructure to the cloud to enable Orica to achieve higher levels of efficiency, agility and business impact and optimise operating costs. There are continuing gains in adopting the platform as a service (PaaS) model, especially if the data centres engaged are powered by renewable energy.

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