Decarbonisation Technology - May 2023 Issue

Integrated decarbonisation value chains Figure 2 shows that, to decarbonise, there are numerous renewable and circular feedstocks (left-hand side) from which numerous desirable products (right-hand side) can be made. Furthermore, as shown in the centre, there are multiple potential pathways from left to right. Because it is a complex pathway from left to right, breaking it down into five separate value chains can be very useful, especially because they all have different levels of maturity and drivers and, in some cases, are applicable to different industries. These value chains are renewable fuels, plastic circularity, hydrogen, CCS, and syngas production and utilisation, each of which is discussed below. Renewable fuels value chain In the renewable fuels space, we are seeing strong drivers and legislation that offer clear direction on how companies can generate value. The EU, for example, has the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), and the US has the Renewable

Fuel Standard and the Blender’s Tax Credit, plus the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in California and some other states. In the Asia Pacific region and China, this legislation is regarded as an opportunity to generate carbon credits through the export of renewable fuel feedstocks. As shown in Figure 2, there are several ways in which renewable feedstocks, such as vegetable oils and animal fats, can be processed into renewable fuels. One option is co-processing and another is to use a dedicated hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) unit, such as the Shell Renewable Refining Process. However, the feeds are already in short supply, and this is expected to get more severe with time as, for example, lignocellulosic biomass and municipal solid waste will potentially be mandated in the future. Consequently, it can be important to consider future-proofing assets. One way to do this is through a phased investment that begins with co-processing, a low-capital option, and then investing in a full HVO unit before adapting it for the more challenging feedstocks of the future.

Renewable fuels

Plastic circularity



Syngas products

Renewable naphtha/SAF/ renewable diesel

Shell R enewable R efining P rocess

Vegetable oil /animal fat



HTL/ pyrolysis oil

Shell R ecovered P lastic U pgrader

HTL/pyrolysis oil

Low carbon intensity diesel

Steam cracker

Plastic primary conversion


Upgraded plastic

HTL/pyrolysis oil

HTL/ pyrolysis oil


Shell G asification P rocess

Ethanol to SAF

Municipal solid waste

Renewable base oils


Upgraded biomass

Ligno- cellulosic biomass

HTL/pyrolysis oil

Biomass primary conversion

‘Shell biomass upgrader’

Cellulosic- ethanol

Upgraded biomass

Shell Fi b er C onversion T echnology

Distillers corn oil



Shell reverse water-gas shift

C ansolv CO or ADIP U ltra


Fischer – Tropsch

Chemical intermediates


Industrial syngas Residues

Multiple residues from a variety of processes

Decarbonised ammonia

Shell Blue H ydrogen P rocess

Natural gas

Decarbonised hydrogen

Established pathway

Likely future pathway

Figure 2 Shell’s integrated value chains


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