Decarbonisation Technology - February 2023

industrial sector CO 2 emissions in Greece in 2019, is still very large to be absorbed in full from this route. 2 This verifies that in this energy transition journey all technologies will have to be utilised to approach the targets. In this case, a more probable pathway would start with establishing synergies between the refining and cement industries for CO 2 capture, transport, and storage. It would later involve some utilisation of this route, mainly to produce additional alternative fuels for the hard-to-abate transportation sectors, such as aviation and maritime. This pathway would be interlinked with a pathway to install at scale the necessary RES installations, electrolysis units, and thus green hydrogen production. An optimal pathway for Greece to achieve net-zero emissions in all sectors by 2050 would start with eliminating the emissions from the power sector Key takeaways The following can be concluded from the above study: • Although GtL is an established technology, the operation of large-scale commercial plants was limited to regions with abundant reserves of coal or natural gas. Historically, the technology was developed to utilise local resources out of expediency in countries lacking access to oil (Germany, South Africa) and later in Qatar to valorise the abundant gas reserves. • The partial substitution of these resources for the required syngas production from captured CO 2 and green hydrogen through the RWGS reaction presents unique challenges. Significant large investments are needed in carbon capture, RES power generation, and electrolysis. These constitute absolute necessities for a sizeable implementation of this carbon utilisation route. The focus and efforts should be geared to geographical regions with excess wind and solar potential. • Syngas production from biomass constitutes an additional option, though some biomass feedstocks may also be used in other routes – for

instance, in the production of advanced biofuels. • The mass balance and energy flows of the process show that the energy efficiency of the GtL process is currently not competitive. The economics start making sense as the cost of green hydrogen drops or if there will be an extra cost for the group of carbon capture entities to transport and store the captured CO 2 (assuming that the produced stream of water has no particular value). This seems to be the case, as first indications emerge from certain players (such as EcoLog). • When looking at the amount of CO 2 emissions from the power and industrial sector (mainly refining and cement) that needs to approach zero by 2050, it is reasonable to conclude that, at least for the region of Greece, these technologies (carbon capture, RES power generation, electrolysis) will have a direct role to play, initially to decarbonise the power and industrial sectors. Their role in the decarbonisation of the transport sector through synthetic fuels production is expected to come at a later stage and could be crucial for the aviation sector, particularly as regulatory drivers (ReFuelEU) come into effect. • Solutions for the decarbonisation of transport – in sectors such as heavy-duty vehicles, shipping, and aviation – that involve biofuels appear to have a definite cap from the feedstocks supply viewpoint when considering the total fuel demand that needs to be satisfied. Therefore, some utilisation of this route may be required. Policymakers should continue to ensure this is not excluded as an option since it also has the advantage of using both existing network infrastructure for fuels storage and distribution and vehicle technologies, such as efficient thermal engines and plug-in hybrid designs. Notes 1 The combined verified emissions of Aspropyrgos, Eleusis, Thessaloniki, and Corinth refineries were 5,876.5 kt CO 2 for 2021 and 5,786.5 kt CO 2 for 2018. 2 For the full utilisation of the estimated 660-670 t/h CO 2 , similar calculations indicate a dedicated system of at least 6 GW electrolysis and 26 GW RES installations.

Haralambos Panagopoulos


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