ERTC 2023 Conference Newspaper

Official newspaper published by PTQ / Digital Refining

CCS and hydrogen for decarbonisation


Reduce, reuse, and repurpose: Minor changes for major results 3 Predictive model for maximum feedstock flexibility 5 Reduce maintenance and calibration intervals with accurate instruments and analysis systems 7 8 ReNewFine for renewable diesel and SAF: Results of a 20-year partnership in 100% HVO 11 Transforming a refinery unit into a key component of end-of-life plastic circularity 13 Thoughts about leadership in the energy transition times


In the pursuit of global climate ambitions outlined in the Paris Agreement, the role of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen technologies has gained para- mount significance in decarbonising car- bon-intense industries, such as the refining and petrochemical industries. ways to decarbonise the downstream industry u CCS : Carbon capture from the larg- est emission points in a refinery can be a technologically straightforward solution to reduce emissions significantly. It can be implemented at any emission point, and economy of scale plays a crucial role: the larger the emission point, the better the business case for CCS. Equinor has been successfully implementing CCS since the mid-1990s, demonstrating that it is a safe and reliable way of reducing emissions into the atmosphere. The Sleipner field has operated with CCS since 1996, while the Hammerfest facility has used it since 2008. Equinor has also operated the world’s largest carbon cap- ture test centre since 2012, located next to its refinery at Mongstad. We have extensive experience with CCS and aim to expand its scope to help third parties store their CO₂. There is a pressing need to decarbonise the refining and pet- rochemical industry. We believe there are

Mongstad refinery

sions from several small emission points. Determining the best solution to decar- bonise – hydrogen or CCS – depends on various factors, including the industry, facility, and geopolitical dependencies. The availability of infrastructure through- out the value chain of CCS and large-scale hydrogen will also affect which solution to use. Equinor will delve into this topic in its presentation titled ‘CCS and Low Carbon Hydrogen for Downstream industry’. If you have any questions about low-car- bon solutions, feel free to book a meeting with one of our representatives – Carine Strand, René Højklint, or Ole Tobias Frich – for more information.

significant opportunities for CO₂ storage in Northern Europe, and we are committed to helping the industry meet its climate goals. v Hydrogen : Low-carbon hydrogen is essentially conventionally produced hydro- gen, known as grey hydrogen, combined with CCS. It can be used instead of the hydrogen currently utilised in the refining and petrochemical industry, thereby reduc- ing emissions throughout the value chain. What is even more noteworthy is that hydrogen can be used to replace conven- tional fuels, removing CO₂ from the fuel before entering the relevant facilities. This allows the economy of scale to be in the pro- duction of hydrogen instead of capturing CO₂ from a single-source emission point in a facility. Preparing a facility to use hydrogen may be cheaper than collecting CO₂ emis-

REFuelEU has set the rules for SAF in the EU: Refineries now need a game plan for success 14 Which future? Using scenario analysis to explore national pathways to decarbonisation 17

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Balancing act of managing a refinery: New technology vs increasing revenu e Conversion to a green refinery configuration: Assessing options, risks, and viability Recycling PVC production byproducts can unlock financial and environmental savings


CO storages


CO transport ship




Precious metal catalyst sampling: Not a trivial pursuit 25 Reducing environmental impact of FCCs with wet gas scrubbers by using SOx additives 26


CO pipeline

H pipeline



Axens Sulzer Topsoe Veolia Becht Ketjen Sabin Moxba Shell Evonik ERTC

2 4 6 8 9

CO pipeline



H2M Eemshaven


10 12 15 16 18 21 22 24 27 28

W. R. Grace Endress

H2BE Ghent




General Atomics



H2GE Rostock



Equinor’s planned hydrogen projects and CO₂ infrastructure in Northwest Europe


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ERTC 2023

Reduce, reuse, and repurpose: Minor changes for major results

Matthew Clingerman Sulzer Chemtech

An industry evolution Transformational change within a refinery can be challenging to navigate. New policies that incentivise sustainability also require significant investment. Concurrently, high asset utilisation in a challenged process environment leads to a question of ongoing profitability. Greenfield investments can yield sizeable returns, but a focus solely on grassroots units ignores the possibilities found in revamping existing assets. The right decarbonisation-related revamps can also increase profitabil- ity. However, revamps often come with challenges such as feedstock compat- ibility, safety, and operational efficiency. For example, waste plastics pyrolysis oils or biomass-based feeds raise concerns about mechanical reliability and long-term operability of the redesigned unit. Successfully navigating these chal- lenges requires enhancing margins and improving unit and operational flexibility to shift as markets change. Reconsider core assets Some process units, such as off-gas treat- ing and hydrotreaters, have become core operations that ensure refineries meet modern clean air and clean fuel regu- lations. Other units, such as aromatic extraction, improve margins and produce valuable petrochemicals. Revamps of these units have been viewed through the lens of optimisation and profitability. The goal has been to extract maximum value from a barrel of oil. However, taking a sec- ond look at all units throughout the refin- ery can uncover revamp opportunities that also offer another step towards achieving decarbonisation goals. With these objectives in mind, Sulzer Chemtech partnered with refineries to dis- cover new ways to reduce carbon emis- sions, increase production of high octane gasoline, and enable the switch to renew- able fuels. Mitigate carbon emissions in gas processing Inefficient gas treating operations are a significant source of CO₂ emissions. LPG from mixed fuel gas streams is difficult to recover and typically requires a multi-col- umn approach. This high Capex arrange- ment also has higher utility consumption. Alternatively, GT-LPG Max TM (see Figure 1 ) provides a cost-effective solution for recovering the LPG product using the con- cept of absorption plus distillation within the same fractionating vessel. This pro- cess separates lights, intermediates, and heavies in a single column with the top dividing wall, which divides the top of the column into absorption and frac- tionation sections. Feed is supplied to the absorption section, where a heavy liquid recovers the C₃ and C₄ components, and non-condensables are sent overhead. The fractionation side concentrates and col- lects the C₃.

Produce high-octane gasoline GT-BTX PluS™ is an extractive distillation process that enhances the volatility of non-aromatic compounds in a mixture also containing aromatics. The process con- sists of only two major columns: an extrac- tive distillation column (EDC) and a solvent recovery column (SRC) (see Figure 2 ). The solvent, a proprietary blend from Sulzer called TECHTIV TM , recirculates between the two columns to extract the aromatics and sulphur components while rejecting the non-aromatics, including olefins, to be the raffinate. GT-BTX PluS is especially helpful in an FCC gasoline hydrotreater. Mercaptans and olefins are the dominant species in the lighter fraction, and thiophenes and aro- matics are dominant in the heavier cuts. The heaviest fraction has few olefins spe- cies to impact the desulphurisation (HDS) unit. However, the heavy naphtha stream in a gasoline hydrotreater also contains mid- dle-boiling components that are primarily olefins and thiophenic hydrocarbons. This mid-cut naphtha is most susceptible to olefin saturation in the HDS units and, con- sequently, octane loss. An example of a revamp with GT-BTX PluS is highlighted in Figure 3 . Here, heavy naphtha is routed to a new splitter, from which the olefin-rich mid-cut is sent to a new GT-BTX PluS unit. A benzene concentrate stream will be co-processed in the new unit as well. The raffinate from GT-BTX PluS, containing the olefins, goes directly to the gasoline product. The extract, containing the sulphur and aro- matic molecules, is mixed with the heavy naphtha and then treated in the existing HDS unit. A second new column is added to recover high-purity benzene. With GT-BTX PluS, the final treated gas- oline product has retained most of the ole- fins, which leads to a reduction in RON of only 0.4 instead of 3.0. Hydrogen consump- tion is reduced by more than half, as the HDS unit now operates more efficiently and at lower capacity with the MCN removed. In this example, additional revenue is gained from the new benzene stream and expan- sion of the gasoline pool. In a revamped unit using GT-BTX PluS, the gasoline hydro- treater could produce cleaner-burning gas- oline while at the same time reducing utility consumption and, ultimately, a reduction in Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Switch to sustainable Aviation Fuel SAF produced via hydrotreating of fats, oils, and greases can reduce lifecycle CO₂ emissions from the aviation sec- tor compared to petroleum fuels. BioFlux technology, developed to offer superior hydrotreating performance, is a versa- tile process to maximise the yield of SAF from biomass-based feeds. The process operates with a liquid full reactor, where all hydrogen necessary for the reactions is dissolved into the feed at the reactor inlet.

O - gas

taking a second look at units throughout the refinery can uncover revamp opportunities that offer another step towards achieving decarbonisation goals

Top liquid product


Bottom product is the absorbing medium

Figure 1 A GT-LPG Max top dividing wall column





HC feed

Rich solvent

Lean TECHTIV solvent

Figure 2 Schematic of the GT-BTX PluS extractive distillation and solvent recovery columns unit

a portion of the off-gases which had been fed to one of two fuel gas treating units. The unit was severely bottlenecked, so C₃ and C₄ were being sent to the flare, which reduced product revenue and increased CO₂ emissions. Using GT-LPG Max technology, this plant accomplished three goals: reduce carbon emissions, debottleneck the unit, and produce a C₃ stream suitable as steam cracker feedstock.

In addition to reduced capital and oper- ating expenses, benefits of using a single dividing wall column include higher recov- ery of valuable components, lower emis- sions through reduced energy usage, and the potential to debottleneck downstream units or shift to increased petrochemical production. A major petrochemical plant in Asia recently commissioned and now oper- ates a GT-LPG Max unit. The unit treats

Benzene concentrate from reformate

Of f- gas

Naphtha splitter




New GT- BTX Plus

FCC naphtha






BZ column


MCN splitter


Treated FCC gasoline

Figure 3 Existing gasoline hydrotreater (grey) that has been retrofitted with GT-BTX


BioFlux ® Technology for sustainable aviation fuel Sulzer Chemtech, a global leader in supplying state-of-the-art process technology and equipment, is using expertise to deliver world-class performance to renewable fuels producers worldwide. BioFlux ® Pretreatment technology is a low-CAPEX, low-OPEX solution for removing contaminants from bio-based materials that increases yield and significantly lowers hydrogen consumption. The process offers superior operational stability for extended catalyst life and is suitable for grassroots, revamps, or co-processing units. To learn more about the BioFlux ® pretreatment technology and to receive a preliminary assessment of your feedstock, please contact us at .

BioFlux ® is a registered trademark of Duke Technologies LLC.

ERTC 2023

nologies in renewable hydrotreating appli- cations. This is achieved through higher yield, lower utility consumption, and utili- sation of gas and naphtha product streams for hydrogen generation. Your partner in sustainability At Sulzer, our objectives are to enable a low-carbon society and build a more sus- tainable future. With decarbonisation at our core, we provide technologies that optimise production capacity and reduce operating cost while minimising environ- mental impact. Our unique offerings are ideal for helping refiners reduce their car- bon footprint and achieve their decarboni- sation goals.

A portion of the reactor effluent is recycled to be premixed with the feed (see Figure 4 ), which provides both a diluent for carry- ing more hydrogen and a heat sink for con- trolling the reaction exotherm. The reactor design maximises volumetric flux, and the proprietary reactor internals ensure that the feed and hydrogen are completely mixed and evenly distributed for complete catalyst wetting. Additional advantages of BioFlux also include: ● Higher liquid yield by eliminating over- cracking to undesirable products ● Efficient hydrogen and thermal management ● Lower capital and operating expense by using liquid only instead of a gas recycle. BioFlux technology also has the lowest carbon intensity compared to other tech-


Pretreated feed

O - gas


Contact :

Figure 4 BioFlux renewable diesel process diagram

Predictive model for maximum feedstock flexibility

Marc verschoren Veolia

challenge of crude oil variability Current market conditions are driving refineries towards a permanent diversi- fication in crudes. Crude oil is a complex mixture containing many compounds with a variety of structures. Asphaltenes, high molecular weight cyclical polar compounds, are usu- ally not soluble in crude at a molecular level. They exist as micelles in solution. Resins, having a highly polar end with an alkane tail, are adsorbed onto the asphal- tene micelles, creating a stable colloidal solution. Changes in pressure, temperature, and composition may affect the asphal- tene-to-resin ratio of a crude blend, depleting the compounds that help keep asphaltenes dispersed. Precipitation of asphaltenes and high molecular weight aliphatics from these phenomena is com- monly referred to as ‘incompatibility’. It can increase the stability of emulsions at the desalter, as well as contribute to downstream fouling. What is CrudePLUS? The CrudePLUS Service is a refinery sus- tainable service to grow profitability, increase reliability, improve safety, and enhance environmental compliance. From the time crudes are purchased through their processing in a refinery, CrudePLUS provides actionable insights to improve successful crude processing. The CrudePLUS Service provides pro- cessing insights that traditional crude assays or typical traditional titrating sta- bility tests can not. It utilises the power of advanced in-the-field rapid-response ana- lytical testing via an Oil Fingerprinting & Solids Testing System coupled with propri- etary predictive modelling software (see Figure 1 ).

With CrudePLUS, Measure–Simulate–Predict–Manage

did you know? From the time crudes are purchased through their processing in a refinery, CrudePLUS provides actionable insights to improve successful crude processing


Chemical injection dosage range (stabiliser and antifoulant) Antifoulant chemistry type Root cause analysis Manage Blends using previous tests, blends or assays Constrained optimisation of simulated blends Simulate

Blends being processed Blends in tanks Individual components (crudes, slops, etc....)


Sensitivity to quality variations from ngerprint database statistics Forecast for one or several proposed blends (e.g. crude schedule) Improve performance models by including blend quality as inputs

Figure 1 Benefits of CrudePlus Service


1 purchasing decision enhancement tool Rate and discriminate crudes based on complete Strategic CrudePLUS is used as a crude CrudePLUS assessment Power to drive discounts


Proactive Use CrudePLUS as simulation tool Blending plan is simulated and optimised before scheduling Drive antifoulant and crude stabiliser injections

1 Reactive Use CrudePLUS as monitoring tool

quantifies fluid fouling potential and clas- sifies it Into one of five severity regions.

Value Generation While the paths, phases, and strategies to ultimately mitigate and capture maximum value from all identified opportunities will vary from refinery to refinery, there are three possible, not mutually exclusive sce- narios under which a refiner may decide to use CrudePLUS to maximise value genera- tion (see Figure 2 ). Working towards and attaining the point of maximum value requires the engage- ment and support from other refinery groups beyond operations and process engineering, such as economics planning and scheduling and crude purchasing.

Figure 2 Possible scenarios for using CrudePLUS to maximise value generation

key parameter that quantifies the potential capacity of a fluid to self-destabilise or to destabilise other fluids in a blend (incom- patibility) relative to a stable and propri- etary benchmark. It classifies the tested fluid into severity regions ● Crude Precipitant Index (CPI) : CPI pro- vides a measure of the relative potential precipitant amount upon destabilisation of asphaltenes and other related colloids in the fluid. CPI is a function of RIX and the level of available precipitants (asphaltenes and other colloids) ● Blending order : The order in which two or more fluids are blended has a direct impact on the actual degree of incompat- ibility and precipitant amount. ● Fouling Potential Index (FPX) : FPX

Within minutes, important information on crude and crude blends can be attained, providing operations with the feed-for- ward information necessary to reduce the risk of downstream upsets, to con- trol desalter interface build-up, mitigate the risk of desalter effluent contaminants impacting the wastewater plant, and mini- mise energy demand by reducing fouling of heat exchange equipment. The system accurately and reliably pre- dicts the instability/incompatibility and fouling potential of crude oils, slop oils, other refinery fluids and their blends. CrudePLUS Core Characteristics The major elements of CrudePLUS are: ● Relative Instability Index (RIX) : RIX is a

CrudePLUS is a trademark of Veolia and may be registered in one or more countries.




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ERTC 2023

Reduce maintenance and calibration intervals with accurate instruments and analysis systems

Sophia Asal Endress+Hauser

European refiners are grappling with com- plex challenges related to environmental regulations, changing market dynamics, and global competition. To remain com- petitive and sustainable in the face of upcoming investment in emission-reduc- ing technologies, plant uptime, efficiency, process safety, and cost optimisation have never been more important. Introduction The efficient operation of refineries involves an intricate set of processes and chal- lenges: meeting stringent product qual- ity standards and specifications to comply with regulations and customer expecta- tions, securing a reliable and cost-effective source of feedstock, and managing energy consumption – to name just a few. Moreover, the refining process itself is highly complex, and its various unit opera- tions, like distillation, cracking, reforming, and blending, require continuous optimi- sation for efficiency and product quality: an ever-ongoing operational challenge. With high uptime and availability as well as safe and reliable operation being of utmost importance, downtime for maintenance is costly, so scheduling and executing mainte- nance activities efficiently is crucial. The importance of accurate measurement Reliable process measurement equipment is vital for the plant’s safe operation: it ensures product quality, safety, and operational effi- ciency by closely monitoring key variables like temperature, pressure, and composition. Measurement devices help optimise pro- cesses, improve energy efficiency, and ensure compliance with environmental reg- ulations. Additionally, they enable predictive maintenance, resource management, and data-driven decision-making, enhancing over- all plant performance and cost-effectiveness. To effectively address operational chal- lenges and ensure optimal uptime, it is essential to collaborate with an experi- enced partner. The process measurement device manufacturer of your choice should have in-depth industrial know-how, a deep understanding of your process require- ments, and a well-established global net- work of trained personnel. Liquid analysis competence for Gas-to- Liquid plants When it comes to gas-to-liquid (GTL) plants, the requirements to be considered are simi- lar to those of traditional refineries but also comprise challenges related to the specific GTL conversion processes. Liquid analy- sis plays a pivotal role in GTL plants during and after the conversion of gases into liquid hydrocarbons. This crucial process involves continuous monitoring and analysis of various liquid com- ponents and parameters to ensure the pro- duction of high-quality synthetic fuels and specialty chemicals by meticulously tracking product purity, composition, viscosity, and

Refineries must meet standards and specifications along with complying with regulations

Measurement devices optimise processes

reduce calibration intervals significantly by installing reliable, robust components and enhancing process insights. benefits of Device Type Managers A DTM is a crucial software component in industrial automation and process con- trol systems, facilitating the interaction with field devices using digital communica-

density. Moreover, liquid analysis sensors and instruments enable real-time monitoring of chemical reactions, aiding in reaction optimi- sation and catalyst management. Detecting and quantifying impurities and contaminants, optimising process conditions, and maintaining environmen- tal compliance are all key functions of liq- uid analysis. It also contributes to safety by promptly identifying hazardous conditions, and its data logging and automation inte- gration features enhance operational con- trol and decision-making. Curbing maintenance intervals For a major project in a GTL plant, Endress+Hauser was chosen to retrofit the existing large analyser base with Liquiline CM42 transmitters for accurate pH/ORP, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen meas- urement. The Liquiline CM42 transmitter is ideally suitable for demanding environments. Its intuitive operating concept simplifies commissioning, handling, and maintenance, saving operators time every day. It allows for easy switching of parameters and seamless system integration to facilitate the flexibility to adapt it to the specific meas- uring task. Another project assignment was the development of a Maintenance Device Type Manager (DTM) covering system con- figuration, diagnostics, performance calcula- tions, and calibration information in addition to the regular health check. The goal was to

perform calibration, and retrieve diagnos- tic data while providing a user-friendly graphical interface for operators. DTMs are device-specific, ensuring compatibility, and often incorporate security features to safe- guard against unauthorised access. DTMs provide a centralised remote access point for horizontal and vertical data flow, allowing for a safer work environment by reducing the number of trips to the field and lowering start-up and commissioning costs. By streamlining device management and enhancing reliability, DTMs play a key role in optimising industrial processes. Effective cost reduction During the assessment and the DTM design phase, all involved parties worked together in close collaboration. Customer require- ments for the DTM comprised, among oth- ers, the calculation and visualisation of key performance indicators, such as mean time before failure (MTBF), mean time to repair (MTTR), mean time between calibration (MTBC), and the resulting availability. The Memosens 2.0 platform of digital sensors, in combination with the visuali- sation of the key performance parameters via the DTM, gives the operators full trans- parency and reliable, accurate process insights. By trending the calibration results of the Liquiline CM42 transmitters through visualisation by means of the DTM on the plant’s existing DCS system, a possible extension of the calibration intervals from four to eight weeks was feasible. The benefits and value for the customer include the highest availability of installed Liquiline CM42 analysers, safe calculation of operational costs, clear and simple visu- alisation of key information for the opera- tors in the PLC room, less time in the field and, therefore, more personnel safety, pro- longed calibration intervals due to pre- dictive maintenance functionalities with access to a history of adjustments, higher reliability of the measured values, and neat documentation. All in all, extending the cal- ibration cycle by four weeks can reduce maintenance costs by 50% per year.

did you know? Reliable process measurement equipment is vital for the plant’s

tion protocols like HART or FOUNDATION Fieldbus. DTMs serve as the interface between the control system software and field devices, enabling configuration, real- time monitoring, diagnostics, and asset management. They allow engineers to set parameters, safe operation: it ensures product quality, safety, and operational efficiency


Process insights help to reduce calibration intervals


ERTC 2023

Thoughts about leadership in the energy transition times

Ignazio Arces ENI

and an empathetic engagement, shapes a vision of a sustainable energy future. In a world where envi- ronmental responsibility interweaves with societal welfare, this holistic ethos becomes a potent driving force. The resonance of humanistic lead- ership amplifies within the context of the energy transition. A realm marked by rapid changes and multifaceted challenges, it necessitates leaders who are not only proficient naviga- tors but also empathetic architects of change. These leaders rise beyond the role of mere decision-makers; they become champions of collaboration, agents of innovation, and custodians of effective decision-making. ‘Speed of Trust’ principle Crucially, the ‘Speed of Trust’ principle emerges as a cornerstone augmenting the fabric of leadership within the energy tran- sition. Rooted in transparency, account- ability, and credibility, it reverberates as a transformative force propelling effec-

Amidst the dynamic canvas of the energy transition, the beacon of effective leader- ship shines ever brighter, illuminating the path through challenges toward sustain- able transformation. Within this intricate landscape, we embark on a journey that intertwines the harmonious interplay of Humanistic Management, the transforma- tive force of the ‘Speed of Trust’ concept by Stephen M.R. Covey, and the profound insights drawn from Aeneas’ transforma- tive odyssey, immortalised within Andrea Marcolongo’s literary tapestry, The Art of Resilience: The Lessons of Aeneas . At the heart of this expansive framework lies the understanding that leadership, though defined through myriad lenses, fundamentally revolves around the art of influencing and motivating others toward a common endeavour. humanistic leadership: an essential paradigm In the words of Peter G Northouse, a distinguished authority in the realm of leadership, it is ‘a process whereby an indi- vidual influences a group (…) to achieve a common goal’ ( Leadership: Theory and

Practice, 2001, p3). The stewardship of delineating a shared purpose, coupled with the sagacity to discern optimal actions within each context and galvanise collec- tive participation, embodies the essence of management. However, the energy transi- tion unfurls as a clarion call for a leadership paradigm that transcends traditional norms. As a result, humanis- tic leadership emerges as an essential paradigm, depart-

their followers. It thrives on the leader’s genuine concern for the growth and aspira- tions of their followers, intertwined with an acute awareness of the collective needs. In this organic symbiosis, leaders illu- minate a path that harmonises individ- ual development with the collective good. As we navigate the intricate terrain of the energy transition, the virtues of humanistic leadership emerge as indispensable guides. The ethical compass that it provides, coupled with transparent collaborations

ing from both the antiquated top-down models that exert dominance and the paternalistic approaches that erode the autonomy of collaborators. These traditional models disregard the core of human existence – the innate con- sciousness and freedom that define us – and inadvertently belittle human dig- nity. In stark contrast, humanistic leader- ship unfurls as a tapestry woven with the threads of interactive dialogue and nur- turing relationships between leaders and

CrudePLUS* Saving Energy Reducing CO 2

The CrudePLUS Service is a refinery sustainability service to grow profitability, increase reliability, improve safety, and enhance environmental compliance. From the time crudes are purchased through their processing in a refinery, CrudePLUS provides actionable insights to improve successful crude processing.

*trademark of Veolia; may be registered in one or more countries


ERTC 2023

The urgency of addressing climate change, akin to Aeneas’ relentless determination, underscores the leaders’ call to mobilise stakeholders, imbuing a sense of hope by articulating the myriad benefits of sustainable solutions. Inclusivity remains the North Star of energy transition leadership, echoing Aeneas’ journey of unity amid diver- sity. Just as he led a diverse array of companions through uncharted realms, today’s leaders must orchestrate col- laboration among governments, industries, communities, and marginalised groups. In harmony with the ‘just transi- tion’ imperative: because ‘survival is not enough’. Last but not least, leadership is a language: During their meetings, leaders involved in the energy transition should avoid talking only about EBIT, to walk it like they talk it!

tive collaborations. As the energy transition narrative unfolds, this principle assumes paramount importance, underscoring the significance of trust in nurturing part- nerships that catalyse innovation and drive sustain- able change. The application of the ‘Speed of Trust’ principles to energy transition leadership yields mani- fold benefits. It accentuates the pivotal role of trust in both personal and professional relationships – a facet of critical importance in steering the complex and urgent energy transition journey. Trust manifests as the bed- rock of collaboration and co-operation, vital elements that unite diverse stakeholders – governments, indus- tries, communities, and environmental groups – in col- lective action. Trust, in turn, emboldens individuals to share audacious ideas, thereby fostering innova- tion, an imperative in developing the novel technolo- gies, processes, and policies that underpin sustainable change. It thrives on transparency, channelling leaders’ intentions, decisions, and communication toward cred- ibility, a quality that nurtures trust among teams and stakeholders. Particularly in energy transition leadership, trans- parency holds the key to addressing concerns regard- ing resource allocation, environmental impact, and long-term strategies. Navigating the energy transition landscape, rife with technological advancements, reg- ulatory shifts, and market dynamics, underscores the pertinence of trust. Trust empowers leaders to steer teams through uncertainty, embrace novel challenges, and make informed decisions that anchor long-term sustainabil- ity. It engenders accountability, prompting individu- als to embrace ownership of their commitments when nurtured by the trust of their leaders and peers. This sense of trust extends beyond individuals to stake- holder networks, facilitating effective communication, understanding, and collaboration. Trust embodies a commitment to long-term outcomes rather than fleet- ing gains, aligning seamlessly with the overarching mission of the energy transition – the creation of a sus- tainable future for generations yet unborn. As humanistic leadership principles intersect with the tenets of the ‘Speed of Trust’, a potent formula emerges for ushering societies and industries toward a cleaner and more sustainable energy future. Transparent communication bridges gaps between governments, industries, and communities, while trust becomes the cornerstone that bolsters partnerships, expediting the transition to renewable energy sources. Moreover, the resonance between Covey’s trust framework and Enea’s transformative journey, as cap- tured in Andrea Marcolongo’s The Art of Resilience: The Lessons of Aeneas , magnifies the relevance of these principles in the energy transition. Aeneas’ journey: navigating the transition with courage Aeneas’ voyage, brimming with resilience and hope, emerges as an invaluable trove of insights for energy transition leadership. His audacity to confront fear and triumph over uncertainties mirrors the challenges faced by leaders navigating the intricate tapestry of technological and societal transformations. Aeneas’ leadership style, marked by inclusivity and guidance of diverse companions, echoes the imperative of engag- ing stakeholders across the spectrum. Just as Aeneas’ inclusive journey led him to guide not only his peers but also those marginalised, energy transition leaders must similarly bridge divides, work- ing with governments, industries, communities, and underrepresented groups. This inclusive approach mir- rors the spirit of the ‘just transition’, assuring that pro- gress leaves no one behind. As we traverse the energy transition landscape, the initiation of change amidst uncertainties emerges as a central tenet of leadership. Aeneas’ audacious endeavours post-devastation parallel the leader’s res- olute commitment to sustainable energy systems. As Aeneas’ journey embarked on uncharted paths, energy transition leaders, too, must navigate the unknown with courage, spearheading a holistic transformation toward a greener horizon. In this intricate mosaic, geopolitical conflicts cast

their shadows across the energy landscape, disrupting global oil markets and amplifying price volatility. The insights of the 2023 IEA reports resonate with the profound interplay between supply and demand dynam- ics. Geopolitical conflicts impact supply chains and refinery operations, sending shockwaves through the energy sector, influencing investments, and underscoring the leadership’s role in navigating turbulence. In this tapestry of complexity, the principles of humanistic leadership remain unwavering. Learning from mistakes and adapting strategies mirror the essence of leadership in the energy transition. Enea’s journey of resilience and learning serves as a poignant reminder of the significance of adaptability. Much like the fluctuations in oil supply and demand described in the IEA reports, the energy transition’s journey is marked by evolution.




Mechanical Integrity (RBI/IOW/CCD/etc.) Fitness-For-Service & Repair Design

Process Troubleshooting Fired Heater Management Root Cause Failure Analysis Bad Actor Elimination Equipment Health Monitoring

STRATEGIC IMPROVEMENT Energy Transition (Biofuels, H2, CCU) Project Feasibility Studies Value Chain Optimization LP & Kinetic Model Shepherding Margin Improvement Due Diligence Energy & Carbon Optimization


(Capital Projects & Turnarounds) Project Technical Oversight & Assurance Field/Shop Supervision Owner’s Engineering Turnaround/Outage Support




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ERTC 2023

ReNewFine for renewable diesel and SAF: Results of a 20-year partnership in 100% HVO


reduction while minimising the production of naphtha via unwanted cracking reac- tions. By adjusting the operating T, the degree of isomerisation and, thereby, the degree of cloud point reduction and the for- mation of SAF can be tailored. The effect of operating T of the ReNewFine hydroisom- erisation catalyst on cloud point reduction is illustrated by data from commercial oper- ation in Figure 3 . The impressive cycle length of the hydroi- somerisation catalyst can only be achieved by perfect control of the HDO process, min- imising the number of contaminants that reach the hydroisomerisation catalyst. The basis of this continuous improve- ment is a partnership between Neste as the process inventor and operator and Ketjen as the catalyst supplier delivering the required functionality. With the advent of ReNewFine’s commer- cial availability, all Ketjen clients will now be able to apply ReNewFine catalyst technol- ogy for the production of renewable diesel and SAF via the 100% HVO route. This will allow our customers to maximise the profitability of their operation, whether via maximising throughput, processing of more challenging raw materials, or maxim- ising the yield of SAF. Summary The challenges of the clean energy transition are complex, requiring equally complex solu- tions to chart the path forward. Just as we partnered with Neste to develop ReNewFine catalysts for 100% HVO, Ketjen will partner with our customers to help navigate seam- lessly through these challenges

Ketjen, a wholly owned subsidiary of Albemarle, launched in January of this year from its headquarters in Houston, Texas. Our solutions support clean energy, fluid catalytic cracking, hydroprocessing, orga- nometallics, and curatives. We partner with industry leaders to increase resilience through tailored, highly effective catalyst solutions. ReNewFine for Renewable Diesel and SAF For many years, Ketjen’s ReNewFine cata- lysts have enabled refiners to co-process renewable feedstocks in their existing hydroprocessing units. This year, our ReNewFine portfolio became commercially available for the first time for hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) processing for renew- able diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production. The story of ReNewFine’s commercial availability for 100% HVO began 20 years ago when Neste asked us to help realise its technology to convert triglycerides into transportation fuels with custom catalysts. This NExBTL process was fully imple- mented in 2005 when Ketjen started to supply HVO catalyst solutions for Neste’s NExBTL units. This technology has since helped Neste to become the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and SAF from waste and residues. During that period, the profitability of the NExBTL process was optimised by Ketjen’s ReNewFine catalysts and support. Neste was able to gradually increase the through- put of feedstocks to the NExBTL units, resulting in a more than 50% increase in renewable diesel and SAF produced from the installed assets. Importantly, Neste was able to pivot the mix of triglyceride feedstocks from pre- dominantly true vegetable oils to more than 90% waste and residue streams, such as used cooking oil and fish and animal fat. From a technical perspective, management of the impurities in these waste and resi- due streams is key to preventing a negative impact on catalyst activity and stability. Figure 1 shows the application of a sequence of ReNewFine HDO catalysts to the generation of a clean paraffin feed ready to be isomerised in the second stage. The top layers of the HDO reactor are devoted to capturing inorganic impuri- ties such as P and Si. The main HDO cat- alyst delivers selective removal of oxygen. Finally, dedicated finishing catalysts are applied to convert N-compounds and unsa- ponifiables. In doing so, pressure drop issues can be avoided and an ideal cycle length can be reached, even when process- ing waste and residue streams. This is illustrated by the process data from a commercial cycle of an HDO reac- tor presented in Figure 2 . Operational sta- bility over a cycle of more than four years is evidenced by a stable WABT and limited pressure drop throughout the cycle. The optimal catalyst loading depends on feed,


Hy d roisomerisation

GRADING Filter disks / low activity rings for polymerisation control

GUARDS ReNewFine 100 series Selective hydrogenation of poly-unsaturates Metal trapping

HYDROISOMERISATION ReNewFine 5000 series Selective isomerisation for optimal renewable diesel properties and SAF make

HDO ReNewFine 200 series Triglycerides decomposition HDO selective conversion of fatty acids

FINISHING ReNewFine 300 series Removal of organic contaminants

Figure 1 Simplified reactor flow scheme and reactor loading diagram for a sweet-mode 100% HVO process illustrating the application of ReNewFine catalyst grades in the HDO and HI reactors

catalyst and enable it to operate at its opti- mal performance is critical. Over the years, Neste has been able to make changes to the product slate from the process to meet the increasing demand for SAF. In 2024, the company will produce 1.5 MT of SAF from its units, a significant percentage of transportation fuels produced through the NExBTL process. Through selective isomerisation, ReNew- Fine achieves exceptional cloud point

process conditions, and objectives and requires a genuine collaboration between the unit operator and catalyst supplier. The 100% HVO process delivers a truly drop-in solution with the capability to pro- duce renewable diesel, meeting the most stringent specifications in terms of cloud and pour point. The superior isomerisation activity of the hydroisomerisation catalysts and the ability of the HDO catalyst system to protect the




















Time on stream (months)

Time on stream (months)

Figure 2 HDO unit data from a commercial cycle, showing WABT (°C) and relative delta P (bar) of the reactor as a function of time on stream



55˚C CP reduction <35˚C CP reduction 40˚C CP reduction

















Time on stream (months)

Time on stream (months)

Figure 3 Hydorisomerisation unit data from commercial cycles, showing the impact of WABT (°C) on cloud point reduction and naphtha make as a function of time on stream


Best of Both


An advanced matrix binding system that outperforms traditional catalyst solutions


Superior coke selectivity and bottoms cracking from a novel single particle Thanks to our world-class R&D, manufacturing, and processing advances, we created an advanced matrix binding system with more effective matrix surface area in a catalyst designed to withstand high vanadium levels without sacrificing the impressive coke selectivity, attrition resistance, and particle size distribution Grace has already excelled in with traditional catalysts.

Improved FCCU product selectivity

Increased metals trapping and bottoms cracking

More value for moderate and heavy metals applications

Pushing operating constraints to new limits

Take full advantage of opportunity crudes. Process heavier feedstocks containing higher contaminant metals. Increase volume gain, reduce costs, and produce more valuable products with FUSION™ catalysts.

Optimized porosity for increased catalytic performance

Commercially proven! Read more about FUSION™ at

ERTC 2023

Transforming a refinery unit into a key component of end-of-life plastic circularity

Nicolas MENET, Ana-Isabel PACO and Thomas MALLET AXENS

Every year, in Europe alone, roughly 30 million tonnes of plastic waste is col- lected. However, more than 80% of that resource is not recycled into new prod- ucts because the majority of it is still incinerated, exported, or dumped in land- fills. This is a waste of precious resources that could be used as secondary raw materials in place of fossil feedstock in addition to being a source of CO₂ emis- sions. A rapid scale-up of mechanical and chemical recycling capability is required to further increase plastic recycling and support Europe in meeting its recycled content targets. Plastic production pathways Generally, today, the economics of a cir- cular, sustainable plastics economy remain challenging in terms of profitabil- ity. Strengthening the links in the plastics value chain and implementing a solid pol- icy framework will be key. However, effi- cient, innovative solutions will need to be implemented to improve the economics of the different recycling pathways (see Figure 1 ). The pyrolysis pathway will play an impor- tant role in addressing the difficult-to- recycle end-of-life plastic while meeting the production objectives of virgin-qual- ity food-grade plastics. When consider- ing it, we see that an economically viable and efficient way of scaling up that route is to integrate it into existing refineries or petrochemical sites. The efficiency will not only come from utilities sharing, process synergies, and overall yield optimisation but also from opportunities to reduce pro- jects’ Capex, repurposing existing hydro- processing units for the purification and upgrading of the recycled oil prior to pro- cessing in the steam cracker. REWIND ® MIX: A UNIQUE SOLUTION TO PURIFY PYROLYSIS OILS AND MEET STRINGENT STEAM CRACKER SPECIFICATIONS Pyrolysis of mix plastic waste is today considered the unique industrially avail- able route to permit a true closed-loop recycling of polyolefin, meeting quality requirements and regulatory objectives. That route, however, relies on the ability to properly purify the pyrolysis oil (pyoil) for reprocessing in an existing petrochemical plant. That purification step is not a trivial refin- ing kind of processing as pyrolysis oil usu- ally combines multiple contaminants and unstable molecules that, if not removed and stabilised, would jeopardise the safe operation and performance of the petro- chemical plant steam cracker. Repsol, Axens, and IFP Energies nou- velles (IFPEN), fully committed to playing a major role in the chemical recycling indus- try, have joined their efforts to unlock the recovery of plastic waste that would oth- erwise remain in the landfills or be incin- erated so that it could be turned into

Great candidates for retrofit into Rewind Mix • HCK • Diesel and kero hydrotreatment • Naphtha hydrotreatment

Mechanical recycling

Recycled plastics Recycled plastics

Waste collection and sorting

Recycling dissolution



Recycled monomer

Chemical recycling


Recycled plastics


Recycled feedstock (Syngas pyrolysis oil)

• Pygaz hydrotreatment • VGO hydrotreatment • Lube hydrotreatment

Plastic production (Polymerisation)

Bio-based and Bio-attributed plastics Carbon-captured plastics Fossil-based plastics

Bio - based feedstock

first stage. The check-run is carried out by Axens technical experts who are special- ised in units’ start-up, follow-up, trouble- shooting, and operating excellence. CASE STUDY: REVAMPING AN EXISTING EUROPEAN DHT UNIT INTO REWIND MIX Rewind Mix process scheme has been developed relying on Axens’ proven expe- rience in hydrotreatment and, therefore, uses similar codes as conventional hydro- treatment units typically found in refinery and petrochemical complexes. Retrofitting existing or idle units into Rewind Mix is therefore feasible, and hydrocracking and hydrotreatment units are great candidates. Axens has already performed several studies of retrofitting hydrotreatment units into Rewind Mix, demonstrating that the conversion of idle units allow signifi- cant investment cost reduction compared to a grassroots unit. As an example, Axens has been working on the possibility of revamping an existing European DHT unit into Rewind Mix. After a preliminary assessment of the existing unit, consisting of gathering all relevant information (equipment as-built documen- tation, operation history) to identify the main bottlenecks, Axens has elaborated several revamping options focusing on dif- ferent drivers the client was interested in: u Identify the maximum pyrolysis oil treatment capacity while reusing most of the existing equipment. v Maximise the pyrolysis oil throughput while minimising the capital investment; for example, reusing main equipment such as reactors, heaters, and compressors. After agreeing with the client on the most profitable scenario, Axens developed a detailed study of the selected option with the objective to provide more accu- rate economics and LCA information. The results of the study revealed that the DHT unit is a good candidate for being retrofit- ted into Rewind Mix. Indeed, the unit ret- rofit cost has been estimated to be up to 65% lower than a grassroots Rewind Mix with the same capacity and performance. Each above technology is a great candidate for revamping into Rewind Mix, offering advantages and limits that, case by case, can be studied and optimised by Axens.

Carbon-captured feedstock

Circular feedstocks

Fossil feedstock

Figure 1 Plastic production pathways

key factor in success. Indeed, pyoil prod- ucts concentrate a large proportion of mul- tiple contaminants, making it difficult to analyse them through conventional analy- sis methods. As pyrolysis oil qualities also vary sub- stantially, depending on the nature of the feedstock to the pyrolysis plant, the Rewind Mix process has a unique flexibil- ity to cope with those quality changes. It is able to continually guarantee the produc- tion of on-specification products suitable for direct undiluted processing on a naph- tha steam cracker. In addition to its capacity to process a full range of pyrolysis oil to maximise closed-loop production of polyolefin circu- lar polymer, Rewind Mix can also embed a hydrocracking function that will turn heav- ier products back into virgin equivalent recycled naphtha. AXENS: A CASE-BY-CASE PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO ENHANCE REVAMP CAPABILITIES Axens, through its Process Licensing Department, is able to conduct feasibility studies for identifying all technical solu- tions to overcome pyrolysis oil processing impacts on existing hydrotreatment units: catalyst poisoning, reactor pressure drop, exotherm, corrosion, hydrogen partial pres- sure, hydrogen consumption, unit turndown, unbalanced stripping, and fractionation. Axens proposes a case-by-case prag- matic approach to select the best revamp solution. This approach consists of succes- sive phases performed before the beginning of the detailed engineering design to opti- mise available resources: a scoping study, a process study, and then a process design package could be proposed (see Figure 2 ). To better optimise the existing process and to check the possible bottlenecks on the existing unit, a site check-run survey of the unit is highly recommended as a

high-quality, virgin-like circular polyole- fins and other chemical products through pyrolysis. How? By solving the issue of purification/decontamination of those pyrolysis oils. Those efforts resulted in the development and commercialisation of the Rewind Mix technology. The Rewind Mix process removes impu- rities such as silicon, chlorine, di-olefins, and other metals from the plastics pyroly- sis oils produced, allowing direct and undi-

did you know? Retrofitting existing or idle units into Rewind Mix is feasible, and hydrocracking and hydrotreatment units are great candidates

luted feed to the steam cracker. Proper purification is key, as contaminants could jeopardise the operation of the petrochem- ical steam cracker. Besides, contaminants can also flow on downstream units and ulti- mately end up in final polymers products. The successful commercialisation of that purification technology would not have been possible without the exper- tise IFPEN, Axens, and Repsol have built throughout the last decades on the hydro- processing of various polluted petrochemi- cals streams. Moreover, the development of new anal- ysis methods by IFPEN to properly assess the different qualities of pyoil has been a

Axens’ scope of work

Scoping study

Detailed engineering

Feasibil i ty study

Process study

Process design package

Rewind Mix is a trademark of Axens.


Figure 2 Typical approach to select best revamp strategy


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