Decarbonisation Technology - February 2023

Welcome to the February 2023 issue of Decarbonisation Technology . We open with an article on the outlook for 2023, which stresses the benefits of integrated refining and petrochemical operations, even as refiners adapt to produce low-carbon products from a diverse range of renewable feedstocks. The articles from Heide and Rheinland refineries show that while each refinery is developing its own strategy for the transition, themes common to all refineries are emerging. Efficiency is a win-win for the climate, the refiner, and the consumer. The production of hydrogen (low carbon intensity, blue, and green) and carbon capture from refinery (and industrial) processes are ongoing themes. For plastics, the waste hierarchy prioritises recycling over conversion. Processes for recycling plastics are mature and available at scale now. Reducing the amount of plastic entering the environment can only be done through partnerships between refining and petrochemical companies, local authorities, and waste management companies. Waste management systems that encourage a change in consumer behaviour will also be vital. This is true too for the management of end-of-life wastes, such as non-recyclable plastics and municipal solid waste, as well as agricultural and forestry residues. The recycling of plastics and utilisation of waste is another theme common for many refiners. 2023 could well prove to be a milestone year for carbon capture, storage and usage (CCUS). We are likely to see progress with government initiatives throughout Asia, including, for example, Malaysia and Indonesia, which are preparing to introduce regulatory incentives for CCUS. Process innovations giving rise to higher carbon capture efficiencies are emerging. In some regions of the world, the lack of suitable sites for permanently storing carbon dioxide is a barrier. Uses for CO 2 include options that require low carbon intensity hydrogen to produce gas- to-liquids, or e-fuels, as a means to decarbonise marine and aviation transport. Alternative options not requiring hydrogen are also discussed, such as mineralisation to form carbonates and bicarbonates with commercial value. Capturing carbon dioxide emissions from industrial flue gases is but a step in the drive to net zero. Net zero is but a step towards climate stabilisation. During COP27, the IPCC announced something that had become evident to most observers: we will overshoot the 1.5ºC target associated with net zero. Carbon removals from the atmosphere via natural processes, direct air capture (of carbon dioxide) technologies, and indirectly via carbon capture from oceans are now essential, both for short- term mitigation and, over a longer duration, reversal of the overshoot.

Managing Editor Rachel Storry tel +44 (0)7786 136440

Consulting Editor Robin Nelson robin.nelson@

Graphics Peter Harper

US Operations Mark Peters tel +1 832 656 5341

Business Development Director Paul Mason tel +44 844 5888 771

Managing Director Richard Watts

EMAP, 10th Floor Southern House Wellesley Grove, Croydon CR0 1XG

Cover Story Distillation columns


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