August 2021 Decarbonisati n Technolo gy Pow ring the Transition to Sustainable Fue s & Energy
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Towards 2030 Rene G Gonzalez Catalysts and adsorbents in the energy transition
17 Meritxell Vila MERYT Catalysts & Innovation First principles of energy transition – Part 1 Jean-Gael Le Floc’h, Mel Larson, Darren York and Robert Ohmes Becht Clean hydrogen energy from repurposed gasification plant Bhargav Sharma and Mark Schott Honeywell UOP Dan Williams Wabash Valley Resources 25 CCUS challenges and opportunities in Chile Jose Barriga Cabezón ENAP 29 Carbon capture policy development and the pathway forward Damilola Abe University of Houston 33 Strategies for decarbonising combustion processes Tim Tallon Ametek Process Instruments 37 Optimal energy and emissions management during energy transition Juan Ruiz and Carlos Ruiz KBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. 41 Zero-emission steam generation with electricity James Lewis Chromalox 45 Optimising green hydrogen production using system simulation Patrice Montaland Siemens Digital Industries 49 Reducing CO 2 emissions through process electrification Stephen B. Harrison sbh4 Consulting 53 CO 2 capture and natural gas savings in SMR process Marcelo Tagliabue Air Liquide Argentina S.A. 57 A novel approach to CO 2 removal from natural gas Mahin Rameshni and Stephen Santo Rameshni & Associates Technology & Engineering Priyanka Tiwari, Sachin Joshi, Kaaeid Lokhandwala and Daaniya Rahman Membrane Technology & Research 65 Evolution of marine fuels – move toward a sustainable future Oliver Schuller and Bambi Majumdar Sphera 69 Sustainable aviation fuel comes of age Arne Padt Neste 73 Fuel oil to liquefied natural gas Ankur Saini, Akhil Gobind and Rupam Mukherjee Engineers India Limited 77 Improve energy efficiency while reducing CO 2 emissions sustainably Avnish Kumar LivnSense Technologies PVT Limited 81 Decarbonisation through innovation 21
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E MAP, the publisher of PTQ / Digital Refining, welcomes you to the first issue of Decarbonisation Technology, a digital magazine that focuses on the strategies, legislation and technologies powering the transition to sustainable fuels and energy. Over the coming months, our global multi-platform media brand will expand to include a website, online Q&A and a weekly newsletter. This will be followed by a series of conferences worldwide. We aim to become a popular forum for conversation between renewable and conventional energy producers, government advisers and policymakers, and other decision-makers interested in the energy transition to a sustainable future. Each issue we will explore the global deployment of decarbonisation technologies, whether mature, at early adoption, under demonstration or still a prototype. In our first issue, we discover how a former gasification plant is set to become one of the largest carbon capture and clean hydrogen production facilities in the US to date. We also turn our attention to Chile, and the challenges and opportunities CCUS presents there. In the call for improved energy efficiency, reduced emissions and increased competitive advantage, we highlight numerous innovative solutions – from strategies for decarbonising combustion to a novel approach for CO 2 removal from natural gas. In addition, we identify the crucial role catalysts and adsorbents will play in the energy transition, and reveal how to optimise green hydrogen production using system simulation. We hope you will find this issue interesting and informative. Register HERE to receive your regular copy, and to contribute to future issues, please send any editorial suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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August 2021 Decarbonisati n Technolo gy Pow ring the Transition to Sustainable Fue s & Energy
Click here to learn about strategies for decarbonizing your combustion processes.
©2021. The entire content of this publication is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without the prior permission of the copyright owner. The opinions and views expressed by the authors in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher and while every care has been taken in the preparation of all material included the publisher cannot be held responsible for any statements, opinions or views or for any inaccuracies.
Source: IEA www.iea.org/fuels- and-technologies/carbon-capture-utilisation- and-storage. All rights reserved.
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Towards 2030 The oil and gas industry strives to balance fossil fuel market challenges during the transition to sustainable fuels and energy Rene G Gonzalez Consultant
T he 2015 Paris Agreement calls for keeping global average temperature increases less than 2°C (3.6˚F) above pre-industrial levels. Against this backdrop, oil and gas industry programmes to curtail greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are taking on more urgency. More capital is needed, but environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) focused investors are cautious about the industry’s ability to meet impending 2030 targets (let alone net-zero emissions by 2050). In this decade, moderate investments can deliver the capabilities needed to meet near-term improvements, such as upgrading refinery diesel hydrotreaters with reactor and catalyst technology for converting biomass into biofuels. Meanwhile, strategic reviews conducted by oil and gas companies emphasise the urgency to begin the multibillion-dollar transition into LNG, hydrogen, solar-PV, wind, and more. Double-digit pre-pandemic returns from hydrocarbon extraction and processing projects have sunken into the low single digits. Meanwhile, capital constraints make it
challenging to invest in the complexity necessary to ensure sustainable operations. The low returns are driving up the cost of capital for drillers, refiners, and so on, further complicating the transition to decarbonisation. Predictions The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2030 there could be over $1.2 trillion invested annually in global renewables, more than five times the investment in fossil fuels. Some companies are exiting their oil and gas role altogether to focus on clean areas of the energy system. Other oil and gas companies continue building their hydrocarbon value chain while making renewables just a fraction of their portfolio. Most population growth is occurring in non- OECD countries; their energy consumption will predicate ramping up oil production above 100 million bpd. Demand is also increasing from expanding petrochemical production. Just as concerning, some regions are meeting electrical demand by building new coal-fired power plants, which is why a global consensus is needed to move away from fossil fuels.
Scope Emission type
GHG emissions from operations owned or controlled by the reporting enterprise
Onsite energy use of facilities, buildings &
offices (e.g., heating, cooling)
Indirect emissions Indirect GHG emissions from generation
Purchased electricity, steam, heating & cooling (e.g, at hydrocarbon processing
of electricity, steam, and thermal load requirements at the reporting company All indirect upstream, midstream and downstream emissions (not included in Scope 2) of the reporting company
Upstream, midstream and downstream supply and distribution, and transportation
(rail, pipeline, barge, etc). Waste generated in operations
Table 1 Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions measure a company’s GHG emissions. Scope 1 and 2 are classified as mandatory to report, whereas Scope 3 is voluntary and the most complex to monitor on the road to decarbonisation Source: Anthesis
Financing Just as science and engineering know-how provide options for reducing GHG emissions, new sources of financing, such as private equity, are equally important. Novel financial strategies create value by driving transformation more efficiently across geographies and industry sectors. Money is flowing into ESG funds, with climate impact metrics (for example, global carbon pricing by 2030) as a high priority. Companies demonstrating stewardship on a range of ‘Paris-compliant’ strategies will have clearer access to financing. For example, achieving 100% net-zero emissions by 2050 may not seem achievable to many without access to a deep pool of capital needed for decarbonisation. Much of the technology needed to achieve 2030 emissions targets is already integrated into industry processes at varying degrees (see Table 1 ). To name just a few, decarbonisation technologies include carbon capture and storage (CCS) for enhanced oil recovery (i.e., CO 2 injection), hydrogen (H 2 ) generation from methane and third-generation biofuels. The real challenge is acquiring financing for these nascent technologies. United Nations data collected between 2013-2019 show that companies with consistently high ESG performance enjoyed 4.7 times higher operating margins and lower volatility than low ESG performers over the same period. Commitments Based on 2050 net-zero emissions targets, the need for carbon mitigation may be much more complex than estimated, often involving technology yet to be commercialised. In the
spirit of cooperation, members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) are involved in the development of low-carbon solutions. Often these companies build $30 to $50 per tonne of carbon into the cost of new projects. Global oil and gas companies like Repsol, Total, BP and Shell are part of OGCI and committed to sustainable ‘net-zero’ operations by 2050. This commitment requires exponential growth in environmental innovation. They could benefit from the input of innovators from other ESG-driven industries towards the elimination of emission sources (such as flaring) and selling hydrogen at scale by 2030. In the transition from a fossil fuel-based market to renewables, innovative technology suppliers are dually serving the ‘integration’ of the fossil fuel and renewable energy industry. For many operators and the markets they compete in, fossil fuels’ high energy-to-volume ratio cannot be overlooked, especially as much of the world struggles to find ways to recover from an unprecedented pandemic. The cost of renewable fuels and energy (such as wind and solar-PV) is becoming competitive with fossil fuels. However, end-users prefer energy sources that are continuous, not intermittent. Significant capital investment is going into electric vehicles, green hydrogen (currently just 0.1% of global H 2 production), and so on, but markets favour fossil fuels in the near term. When will this balance shift towards renewables? The rate at which renewables will replace fossil fuels to achieve decarbonisation goals varies among regions. For example, the goal in some
countries like Saudi Arabia is not to replace fossil fuels, but to create a balanced approach that will reduce the amount of oil burned domestically, safeguarding this important resource for generations to come. Safeguarding important resources requires increased complexity, such as investing in the ability to recover hydrogen from refinery fuel gas. In other cases, complexity can be avoided. For example, the World Economic Forum noted
Figure 1 Bringing extraordinary capabilities and people together on the road to decarbonisation Photo courtesy of Refining Community
Figure 2 Aerial view of a modular LNG liquefaction facility serving the Caribbean region’s maritime shipping industry in its transition to decarbonisation and IMO 2020 regulations that eliminate or severely reduce the use of heavy fuel oil Photo courtesy of Eagle LNG Partners LLC
and transport sectors are emerging. Otherwise, businesses could do poorly. Transition rate Recent studies demonstrate that a 100% renewable energy system, regardless of the transition rate, will be lower in cost than a continual reliance on fossil fuels. However, transforming the fossil fuel-based energy system to one that is decarbonised calls for the oil and gas industry to play an outsized role. While net-zero emissions may not seem achievable, a large per cent reduction by 2030 is in the works. Other industrial sectors ranging from steel and concrete could remain dependent on oil and gas well into the 21st century. Oil and gas companies can lead the transition to carbon management systems. By example, upstream oil and gas producers are first movers in the application of digital automation to integrate microgrids and distributed energy resources (DERs) towards improving in-the-field energy efficiency (see Figure 1 ). These bespoke strategies can be duplicated by other industries to alleviate dependency on centralised power grids based on coal-fired generation. Comparable in-the-field sustainable energy solutions are taking place in the agricultural and maritime shipping industries, where reliance on diesel and heavy fuel oil can be
that individual and community power generation would contribute to more than 50% of the energy mix in developed countries by 2030, up from less than 5% in 2016. Scale-up Green hydrogen’s ability to plug the intermittency of solar and wind while burning like natural gas and serving as feedstock in industrial chemical processes has captured the interest of businesses, government and investors. Half of Fortune 500 companies, many of which produce significant CO 2 emissions, have now made net-zero or carbon-reduction commitments. These commitments require scale-up of H 2 purification technology, expected to increase ten-fold by 2050 as companies accelerate investments in renewable power and technologies capable of meeting clean fuel standards. Driving development of lower-carbon products include hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) to produce renewable diesel (chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel). Meanwhile, GHG emissions disclosures will be required for many industry sectors, further increasing pressure to align investments along sustainable strategies. With the days of the internal combustion engine in doubt (GM will only sell zero-emission vehicles by 2035), transition scenarios to full sustainability in power, heat
CO capture unit
Direct contact cooler
Lean/rich heat exchanger
Flue gas after ue gas desulphurisation
Rich solvent pump
Lean solvent pump
Figure 3 Depending on the upstream process, the level of CO 2 concentration differs and this in turn defines the family of carbon capture technology that is deployed. Most of the ongoing carbon capture projects are post-combustion that can be retrofitted into an existing facility Courtesy of Emerson
replaced by LNG, renewable natural gas (RNG), synthetic methane, and so on (see Figure 2 ). Similarly, downstream process facilities, including refineries, are reducing their carbon footprint by replacing fossil fuel-fired furnaces with electric furnaces powered by renewable energy sources. Other industries are replacing gas-fired heaters in their factories with renewable fuels or electric heaters to offset emissions. Transnational cooperation can help accelerate this transition to sustainable energy. Transnational cooperation The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP), a global research initiative seeking realistic pathways for countries in the transition to a low-carbon economy involves research teams from over 16 countries, including some of the heaviest carbon emitters. However, there are significant outliers affecting progress to decarbonisation, including cybersecurity disruptions and market uncertainty. We are seeing international companies whose brand is well represented in the oil and gas industry, such as Occidental, transition altogether to ‘carbon management’ companies. Transnational
cooperation in the establishment of a global carbon price, for the right to emit a tonne of CO 2 into the atmosphere, will provide a powerful incentive to carbon management (see Figure 3 ). Accelerating these incentives are the declining costs of alternative energy such as solar energy. Solar energy costs have declined in some parts of the world to the extent that it is as cheap as ‘regular grid’ electricity. We can see that just as important as the ‘new’ technologies like battery storage and HVO-based biofuels are for decarbonisation, so too is capital favoured towards companies prioritising ESG. New energy policies, broader ESG measures and environmental cooperation among the energy and fuels producers and their end-user value chain must be part of the decarbonisation plan. The ultimate solution may be to bring extraordinary people together to formulate an agile business transformation while diverse industries in different regions are in various stages of decarbonisation.
Rene G Gonzalez firstname.lastname@example.org
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H 2 IS POWERING THECO 2 COUNTDOWN Low-carbon hydrogen is a market-driven path to decarbonisation
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Catalysts and adsorbents in the energy transition Catalysts and adsorbents play a crucial role in the energy transition, from the development of biofuels and the circular economy to green hydrogen production
Dr Meritxell Vila MERYT Catalysts & Innovation
E nergy transition means the shift from energy sources (oil, natural gas and coal), to energy systems based on renewable energy sources. Catalysts and adsorbents, used in around 90% of current industrial production processes, are therefore key players in the energy transition. They will be responsible for new processes, or must be improved or modified for current processes. Catalysts by themselves are essential in the energy management of chemical reactions. Thanks to them, we can perform reactions under lower temperature and pressure and in a current energy production systems, which are based mainly on non-renewable
reasonable time. In this sense, catalysts are the main energy savers of the industry. Therefore, their role in the energy transition is crucial, as we will see in this article. Together with the energy transition, there is a change in fuel demand compared with chemical derivatives. Environmental protection legislation and the increase in consumption of chemicals from developing countries could set the stage for a future world with lower demand for transportation fuels and higher demand for petrochemical feedstocks. 1 This demand is also favoured due to the higher margin of petrochemical products. As a consequence, refineries are switching to biofuels and crude oil to chemicals (COTC).
New COTC complex COTC retrot in existing renery
Full biofuels conversion Biofuels coprocessing
Figure 1 Current and announced refinery conversions to biofuels and crude oil to chemical refineries
Figure 1 shows detailed current and announced refinery conversions to biofuels and COTC. With these transformations, new technologies to produce green hydrogen will be critical to achieving the energy transition. Catalysts and adsorbents in crude oil to chemicals refineries The main objective of a COTC refinery is to convert oil to chemicals, from a traditional refinery conversion of 8-12% to more than 50%, even to 70-80%. 2 To achieve this ambitious modification, researchers, catalysts companies and licensors have been working hard for many years to develop different proposals. The best solution would be a unique multifunctional catalyst that could transform the oil into chemicals, crack, dehydrogenate, remove sulphur and all the desired reactions. Researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in partnership with Aramco, have recently designed a new catalyst based on zeolites, clay and silicon carbide to convert Arabian Light crude into light olefins, with yields per pass of over 30 wt% and minimum production of dry gas, in a single reactor system. In parallel to developing this unique multifunctional catalyst, the industry is tackling the COTC strategy in three different ways, as already pointed out in 2017 by Dr Avelino Corma: 4 ➊ Direct processing of crude oil in steam cracking This process requires preconditioning of the crude oil before being fed into the steam cracker to avoid too much coke formation. The
steam cracker requires a packing bed and a catalyst bed. This catalyst bed may be disposed of at the bottom of the vaporiser to enhance cracking, and will help to remove metals such as Ni, Fe, V and trap non-vapourisable material such as asphaltenes. Materials such as alumina, silica- alumina, molecular sieves and natural clays may be used. Industrial references for this technology come from ExxonMobil (Singapore refinery) and Shell. ➋ Integrated hydroprocessing/deasphalting and steam cracking Saudi Aramco has patented an integrated hydrotreating, steam pyrolysis and coker process for the direct processing of crude oil to produce olefinic and aromatic petrochemicals. In this scheme, the role of the hydrodemetalisation catalyst before the hydroprocessing catalyst is vital to protect it. 5 ➌ Processing of middle distillates and residues using new hydrocracking ebullated bed technology This scheme has been adopted by Hengli Petrochemical Ltd to produce diesel and naphtha range stream, which can later be processed to produce aromatic compounds. 6 In these new COTC schemes, the most affected processes produce naphtha, which is the source of olefins and aromatics, feeds to chemicals. These processes are fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) and hydrocracking. In hydrocracking, new developments present ebullated catalytic beds, as in Axens H-Oil process. 7 In this process, fresh catalyst is continuously added to the reactor, and the spent
catalyst is withdrawn to control the level of catalyst activity. This technology provides higher conversion and no limit on catalyst life compared to traditional fixed beds. Other hydrocracking technologies with moving catalytic beds are LC- fining, from CLG, VCC from KBR, EST from Eni, Uniflex from UOP and
The key role of Catalysts and Adsorbents in Energy Transition
Dr. Meritxell Vila
Catalysis and Chemical Science
Catalysis Webinar, 24-25 March 2021
Heavy oils and
fractions, vacuum residue, oil
fractions, and residua, and residua, and residua,
residua, asphaltic oil, blends of petroleum
asphaltic oil asphaltic oil
asphaltic oil asphaltic oil
of polymers and plastics
Density at 20°C, kg/m 3
Sulphur content, wt% max 3.4-3.8
Catalyst consumption, wt% of feed
0.0l-0.06 16.0-20.0 440-460
0.01-0.06 9.7-24.0 385-450
0.05-0.1 7.0-10.0 440-460
Pressure, MPa Temperature, °C
Yield, wt% Gas
7.0-10.0 10.0-12.0 40.0-45.0
Naphtha (IBP-200°C) Diesel (200-350°C)
14.0-15.5 15 0-27.0
14.0-16.0 12.0 6.5-7.5 14.0-20.0
34.0-36.0 36.0-39.0 15.0-45.0
47.0 26.0 <5.0
Heavy gas oil (350-520°C) 310-35.0
Residue conversion with
Total distillate yield, wt% Development stage
Industrialised Industrialised IndustriaIised A pilot plant
was built implementation
Table 1 Technologies for processing of heavy petroleum and residual feedstock by moving catalytic bed
ORH from TIPS RAS. In the last four technologies, the conversion reached of the residue with recycling is higher by 95% (see Table 1 ). 8 Regarding FCC trends, the selection of catalyst and optimal operation conditions are crucial to increasing the yield of propylene and naphtha. Characteristics that need to be improved in this type of catalyst are metal poisoning tolerance, hydrothermal stability, fluidisation properties, attrition resistance and accessibility. Increasing the addition of ZSM-5 helps to obtain more propylene, but only to a certain extent. For example, Honeywell UOP’s RxPro process has a catalyst optimised to maximise the propylene yield to more than 20 wt% of feed and an aromatic rich naphtha stream for BTX recovery. Light cycle oil can also be further upgraded to BTX aromatics using the company’s LCO-X process. 9 In future refineries, the CO 2 emitted will be
captured and profited to produce hydrocarbons. In this respect, numerous catalysts are being developed to carry out the reactions of conversion of CO 2 to hydrocarbons, via methanol or directly. 10 For the first route, via methanol, several catalysts are needed: a metal oxide to convert the CO 2 to methanol, a zeolite to convert the methanol to hydrocarbon, a noble metal with non-noble metal catalyst to convert the CO to methane, and an iron base catalyst to convert the CO to hydrocarbon ( Figure 2 ). For the direct conversion of CO 2 to hydrocarbon, many catalysts based on the reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction and the Fisher-Tropsch synthesis reaction (FTS) are currently under research and development. These catalysts include zeolitic imidazole frameworks (ZIFs), covalent organic frameworks (COFs) and metal organic frameworks (MOFs), among others. 11
biorefineries. Based on the feature of the platform that links feedstocks and final products, we can find several different biorefinery configurations: syngas, pyrolysis oil, sugars, oil, biogas, organic solutions, lignin, hydrogen, and power and heat. 12 In this refinery configuration, pretreatment of the feeds to protect catalysts is crucial, and in this sense the role of adsorbents is very important. Feeds that can be processed are vegetable oils and UCO (used cooking oil, animal fats, tall oil, and so on). In oils, we find phosphorus, metals, chlorine and other contaminants. Different adsorbents are used in different units in biorefineries, depending on the stream and the contaminant to be removed: resins, activated carbon, clays, silica gel and zeolites. 13 These refineries must also process pyrolysis oil feeds from plastic recycling. This oil contains various elements that were added to manufacture the plastic and must be now removed to protect the catalyst downstream. The challenge is to design catalysts that are resistant to all these contaminants.
CO + H
Noble and non-noble metals
Iron based catalysts
Figure 2 Conversion of CO 2 to hydrocarbons, different catalytic routes
O + H
Figure 3 Floating prototype equipped with the single-atom platinum catalysts for solar light-triggered hydrogen production directly from seawater
Production of green hydrogen
Production of biofuels and circular economy Another critical role for catalysts and adsorbents is producing biofuels, as many refineries are converting to biorefineries to adapt to new regulations and process not only biomass but also prepare to process recycled materials. IEA Bioenergy Task 42 has developed a classification scheme to describe different
Green hydrogen is produced by the electrolysis of water, meaning the breakdown of water molecules into the two individual elements, hydrogen and oxygen, and only electricity from renewable energies is used. Since electrocatalysts are needed, research in this field is enormous, especially as analysts estimate that clean hydrogen could meet 24% of the world energy demand by 2050. 14
Much research and development are being carried out on new catalysts for the production of green hydrogen. Swinburne University’s Centre for Translational Atomaterials (Australia) and Shaanxi Normal University (China) are developing a new catalyst based on platinum (but scalable and produced by a low-cost calcination method) that can produce green hydrogen from seawater. The prototype, called ‘Ocean-H2-Rig’, is a floating platform equipped with the single-atom platinum catalyst ( Figure 3 ). 15 Another exciting development is from the University of Delaware (UD), US, to produce hydrogen from water at ambient temperature and with a Cu-Ti catalyst at a rate twice as high as the conventional platinum catalyst. 16 With the same objective – to produce hydrogen – researchers from the Nayang Technological University (Singapore) have developed a catalyst based on spinel oxides made of cheap transition metals. These new oxides, comprising manganese and aluminum, were predicted to show superior catalytic activity, accelerating the electrolysis reaction. 17
Other promising research is being undertaken by researchers from The Helmholtz-Zentrum in Berlin (Germany), who have developed a catalyst based on amorphous molybdenum sulphide, which works at room temperature. Other catalysts under investigation are carbon- supported MoS 2 and ammonium thiomolybdate ((NH 4 ) 2 Mo 3 S 13 ). 18 These are some examples of research works currently under development, but for sure there are and will be many more. As can be seen, future years will be fantastic for the development of new catalysts and adsorbents, the new configuration of refineries and chemical plants, the production of biofuels, and the obtention of green hydrogen. Now, more than ever, catalysts and adsorbents will be crucial in helping industry and society to achieve the energy transition in the best possible way. VIEW REFERENCES Dr Meritxell Vila email@example.com
Demand for hydrogen is expected to increase up to ten-fold by 2050 when multiple industry reports predict 8-24% of the world’s final energy demand will be supplied by hydrogen. Hydrogen has a
unique ability to address ‘hard-to- decarbonize’ sectors and long-term power storage. To achieve this, it must be produced with significantly lower carbon intensity than is practiced today. Learn how customized and integrated carbon capture and hydrogen purification technology can offer: • The most cost-effective and proven routes to low carbon intensity hydrogen available today for both new and existing assets • CO 2 recovery rates of 99%+ • Tailored results to meet required H 2 and CO 2 purity requirements • Single unit separation and liquefaction • Solvent-free options with a smaller footprint
First principles of energy transition – Part 1
This two-part series will first focus on hydrogen, batteries, metals and electrical infrastructure to see the actual impacts of energy transition and decarbonisation
Jean-Gaël Le Floc’h, Mel Larson, Darren York and Robert Ohmes Becht
E nergy transition – what does it really mean? In the current lexicon of society, terms and concepts such as decarbonisation, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, carbon neutrality, and energy transition are becoming commonplace, not only within the energy industry but also with the common consumer. Events like the COVID-19 pandemic, shifts in virtual work
from a first principles perspective. Doing so will help provide focus and clarity on the challenges the
energy industry (i.e. utilities, transportation fuel providers, and petrochemical companies) faces and will allow both the consumer and producer to rationalise the choices and technical challenges that
must be addressed to meet these targets. This two-part series will first focus on various examples in hydrogen, batteries, metals, and electrical infrastructure to help illuminate the actual impacts of energy transition and decarbonisation. The second part will provide additional examples within hydrogen and energy optimisation and outline several considerations and options for the energy industry to apply to address this transition. The sheer magnitude of the change The current goal of the Paris Accord is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C by 2050. While the goal seems reasonable enough, competing forces put serious pressure on achieving the goal. Firstly, global energy use is strongly driven by total population and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth. The global population is projected to grow from about 7.8 illion people in 2020 to over 9.7 billion by 2050. This represents a ~25% growth over that period, and the bulk of that growth will occur in emerging markets, while at the same time postmodern regions will be flat or declining in population. Over that same time, total annual
and travel, and changes in regulatory requirements and economic incentives have dramatically accelerated shifts in the energy industry to produce cleaner and lower carbon intensity fuels and products. However, does the average consumer understand the extent of fossil- derived energy sources and products and the implications of these shifts and mandates away from fossil fuels on their daily lives and access to affordable fuels, products, and energy? How will refiners and petrochemical organisations respond to these changes in a dynamic marketplace that demands both profitability and environmental stewardship? Can the energy industry and front-line consumers achieve carbon neutrality by the target dates, and what changes are required to meet those targets? To answer these questions, we must first look at some of the fundamentals influencing these market changes and mandates. Our intent is not to pick ‘winners and losers’ or question the reality of climate change but to examine various examples
The Shear Magnitude f the Change The current goal of the Paris Accord is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C by 2050. While the goal seems reasonable enough, there are competing forces that put serious pressure on achieving the goal. First, global energy use is strongly driven by total population and GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth. Global population is projected to grow from about 7.8 billion people in 2020 to over 9.7 billion by 2050, which r presents a ~25% growth over that period, and the bulk of that growth will
with less”. In addition, the percentage of that energy pool that is petroleum and coal based must decrease by over 25%, as a minimum.
+40% Energy Demand
+ 1.9 Billion
-27% Oil + Coal
Hence, the energy we need to drive our economie , he t and c ol our homes and businesses, cook our meals, a d transport our p ople and goods must now largely come from renewable sources – wind, nuclear, solar, renewable hydrogen, and renewable electricity. Significant, technically sound, and market driven diversification of our energy sources nd providers, along with behavior change by consumers and treamli ed governmental mandates a d incentives, is needed to me t this challenge. No “silver bullet” exists to achieve this goal – it requires an “all of the above” strategy. Mitigating Unintended Consequences Moving to “green” renewable based energy sources has to consider the whole system, including the cycle of “harvesting”, production, processing, and use. For instance, what is to be done with the increased waste from wind turbines, lithium batteries, and PV solar panels, as most of these elements are not curre tly recyclable and have a 10 to 20 y ar useful life? What is the consequence t the environment from harvesting r w materials and then landfarming waste, given that recycling technologies are presently more carbon intensive than first generation production?
energy demand is expected to grow from ~ 635 quadrillion BTU to over 900 quadrillion BTU by 2050, which represents more than a 40% increase over that period. However, to meet the GHG reduction targets, the total energy per GDP (i.e. energy intensity) must decrease by around 35% on a global basis. In simple terms, to continue to drive GDP growth for an ever-growing population, we need the energy to do so, but now have to do ‘more with less’. In addition, the percentage of that energy pool that is petroleum and coal-based must decrease by over 25%, as a minimum. Hence, the energy we need to drive our economies, heat and cool our homes and businesses, cook our meals, and transport our people and goods must now come mainly from renewable sources – wind, nuclear, solar, renewable hydrogen, and renewable electricity. Significant, technically sound, and market- driven diversification of our energy sources and providers, along with behaviour change by consumers and streamlined governmental mandates and incentives, is needed to meet this challenge. No ‘silver bullet’ exists to achieve this goal – it requires an ‘all of the above’ strategy. Mitigating unintended consequences Moving to ‘green’ renewable-based energy sources has to consider the whole system, including the cycle of ‘harvesting’, production, processing, and use. For instance, what is to be done with the increased waste from wind turbines, lithium batteries, and PV solar panels, as most of these elements are not currently recyclable and have a 10- to 20-year useful life? What is the consequence to the environment from harvesting raw materials and then landfarming waste, given that recycling technologies are presently more carbon intensive than first-generation production? Using biosources for fuel such as soybean oil, palm oil, rapeseed (canola), ethanol (sugar cane or sugar beets), or other bio-sourced components pits land use for food to feed the world’s growing population against a more lucrative value of fuel
sources. Does it make sense to deforest land to plant seeds for fuel? While using used cooking oils (UCO) as a source for renewable fuels fits well with the recycling mantra, the application of virgin oils for renewable production will strain the tension between food vs fuel. One of the less-discussed aspects of ‘green’ is the water consumption necessary for both mineral harvesting and biosource production. Water is a scarce resource and, in many regions of the world, arid conditions require severe water conservation. Hence, the conversation on water use, re-use, and stewardship must be on a similar level as the shift in energy sources. Metals and battery balances While EV adoption rates remain low in the US and Japan, with Japan’s marginal power production coming from coal-powered plants with high CO 2 -eq emissions, the EV share in new car sales has shown an increasing trend in many other developed countries in Europe as well as China. This trend will continue to spread (x25 EV car sales in 2040 compared to 2020), and it is anticipated that the total battery demand annual growth rate will be around 38% (CAGR), or an x25 factor in 10 years. Within the battery sector, over 40% of batteries will be dedicated to stationary energy storage, while 60% will be used for passenger and commercial vehicles, as well as ships. Most battery raw material tonnage demand will follow the battery trend, around a 40% increase per year, from about 0.5 million tonnes in 2020 (cobalt + silicone + lithium + nickel + manganese + graphite) to 12 million tonnes in 2030. Taking lithium as an example, its extraction requires large amounts of water, and results in up to 15 tonnes of CO 2 emission per ton of lithium for hard rock mining. One of the foremost anticipated future constraints and risks is the high concentration in terms of players, not only in the mining industry but also in the processing/refining industry. The main metals under consideration are lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite (batteries),
heavier than aluminum, and about three to four times more expensive on a weight basis. Copper is typically used for subsea and underground
lines, while aluminum is preferred for overhead lines due to its lighter weight. From a cost perspective, aluminum is being considered for underground lines as well as regulation permits. Another mitigation measure to reduce the impact of increased electrification would be a scale-up in the use of high voltage direct current (HVDC) to complement the traditional alternating current (HVAC) systems currently in place. HVDC only requires two cables vs three with HVAC, which would reduce the need for mining and metals. Therefore, HVDC cables are usually cheaper than HVAC and have minimal losses. However, the costs and losses of DC converters are significantly higher than AC transformers, and the break-even distance between the two systems still need to be reduced to promote HVDC further. What is next? In part one, we have reviewed how metals, batteries, and electrical infrastructure must change substantially in the coming years to meet the shift to an electrical power-based economy and reduce fossil fuel usage to meet the targets of the Paris Accord. This shift in energy sources must also occur during a period of continued population and economic growth and will require new levels of energy efficiency. In part two, we will examine hydrogen as a potential solution, define what Scope 1, 2, and 3 emission reductions really mean, and provide context for energy providers to consider as they work through this transition.
and the situation is very similar for rare earth elements (wind turbines and electric vehicle motors), as well as for copper, silicon, silver (solar PV), and aluminum (electricity networks). Supply chain assurance will be required to mitigate risks of disruption for various reasons such as political instability or trade restrictions. Battery recycling will help mitigate the risk of supply disruption, but it is anticipated that the recycling of spent lithium-ion batteries will only account for about 8% of the demand. Current recycling technologies are energy intensive, partly because batteries are not designed with future end-of-life recycling in mind. Advances in battery recycling are critical to ensure that we are not simply trading the extraction of oil for he extraction of metals. Other mitigation measures should include a diversification of the supply partners, with an increased collaboration of all the supply chain stakeholders, supported by higher transparency, and a consistent set of social and environmental standards. Expansion in electrical infrastructure Electricity networks are a key element of reliable power systems and will play a decisive role in the growth of renewable power adoption. Most power line’s length (90%) is made up of the distribution systems, serving to deliver power to the end users. The transmission systems connecting the heavy power production centres (power plants, solar and wind power production facilities) to the load centres make up the remaining 10%. The electrification wave coming from the energy transition will require building new lines and refurbishing existing ones for increased resilience to more extreme weather events. The anticipated increase in terms of power lines due to energy transition is estimated to increase by a factor of five between 2020 and 2050. The traditional metals used in power cables are copper and aluminum. Copper’s electrical and thermal conductivity are both about 60% higher than aluminum’s. However, copper is three times
One of the main anticipated future constraints and risks is the high concentration in terms of players, not only in the mining industry, but also in the proce sing/refining industry. Th main metals under consideration are Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese and Graphite (batteries), and the situation is very similar for rare earth elements (wind turbines and electric vehicle motors), as well as for Copper, Silicon, Silver (solar PV), and Aluminum (electricity networks). Supply chain assurance will be required in order to mitigate risks of di ruption for various reasons such as political instability or trade restrictions. Battery recycling w ll help mitigate the risk of supply disruption, but it is anticipated that the recycling of spent Lithium-ion batteries will only account for about 8% of the demand. Current recycling technologies are energy intensive, partly due to the fact that batteries are not designed with future end-of-life recycling in mind. Advances in battery recycling are critical to ensu e that we ar not simply tr ding extractio of oil for extraction of metals. Other mitigation measures should include a diversification of the supply partners, with an increased collaboration of all the supply chain stakeholders, supported by a higher transparency, and a consistent set of Electricity networks are a key element of reliable power systems, and will play a decisive role in the growth of renewable power adoption. Most power line’s length (90%) is made up of the distribution systems, serving to deliver power to the end users. The transmission systems, co necting the h avy power production centers (power plants, solar and wind power production facilities) to the load centers, make up the remaining 10%. social and environmental standards. Expansion in Electrical Infrastructure
Robert Ohmes firstname.lastname@example.org Darren York email@example.com Mel Larson firstname.lastname@example.org Jean-Gaël Le Floc’h email@example.com
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