ERTC Newspaper 2022

7 - 10 November 2022 Berlin, Germany

Official newspaper published by PTQ / Digital Refining

Where does future growth lie?


Refiners weighing opportunities for circular polymer production 3 What about a CBAM for the refining industry? 4 Sustainable energy management

ALAN GELDER Downstream Global SME, Wood mackenzie

2022 was truly an unprecedented year for global refining. The pandemic-driven capacity rationalisation, strong subsequent demand recovery, China’s product export quota limitations, and lower Russian middle distillate exports all contributed to record refining margins. However, not all the record gross margins made it to the bottom line as the costs of natural gas (for hydrogen pro- duction and internal fuel use) and electricity surged, particularly in Europe. High and volatile oil prices and an uncer- tain, rapidly changing geopolitical land- scape will continue to support refining margins, but at more typical levels, as shown in Figure 1 . Weak global economic growth as countries battle inflation and the commissioning of new refining capac- ity in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East will prevent a return to H1 2022 margin envi- ronment unless Russian exports are sig- nificantly curtailed. The refining industry needs to think about what to do with its newfound wealth. Energy Transition – location, location, location? At Wood Mackenzie, our integrated cross- commodity analysis indicates the electrifi- cation of light vehicles will lead the energy transition, with petrochemicals being the only demand growth sector for oil demand. This presents a structural challenge to gas- oline-oriented refineries without petro- chemical integration in OECD locations as the local demand for their key product will fall fastest. Integrated refinery/petrochem- ical complexes are strongly positioned to thrive during the energy transition as they divert their production from transport fuels to petrochemicals. We consider refineries of the future will incorporate a high degree of petrochemical integration. Such sites also have a further advan- tage in terms of their resilience, as shown in Figure 2 . Whilst the responsibility for Scope 3 emissions along the hydrocar- bon value chain remains unclear, several companies are including such emissions in their net-zero aspirations. Using Wood Mackenzie’s Refinery Evaluation Model, we have benchmarked the Scope 3 emissions from over 500 refineries. This detailed asset analysis shows that unless the yield of non-combustible products is over half of the product slate, the Scope 3 emissions intensity for the entire site is largely in the range of 300 to 400 kg of CO₂ per barrel of crude processed. The key risk associated with the cost of a refinery’s Scope 3 emissions is its location,

is becoming increasingly important for refineries Take-off for cleaner skies starts now with SAF Pivoting to chemicals while decarbonising today

10 15 20 30 25 35


5-yr range 2021 2022

5-yr avg 2023



An FCC sustainability game changer

-5 0 5


Jan Feb Mar


May Jun Jul

Aug Sept


Nov Dec

PTL for aviation

Figure 1 Global gross refining margin outlook

Green hydrogen Re f hyne I 10 MW Re f hyne II 100 MW



Green Hydrogen for industry







Fed into electrical grid

Green h ydrogen for road transport

Oshore wind and solar power generation




Insights from Shell Rheinland’s transition to net zero 13 Precious metals: managing the markets in a changing world 14 Facilitating adoption of carbon capture on FCC flue gas 16 Hydroprocessing catalysts sulphiding with DMDS: Carelflex Connect brings more than IIoT 17 Sustainable aviation fuel: prepare for take-off! 18 Environmental and economical benefits of improving amine unit operations 21 Using reactivated












wt% non-combustible products kg COe/bbl crude







Figure 2 Refinery Scope 3 emissions intensity

as that will determine the carbon charge, if any, that is applied. The variation in carbon charges between two sites in different loca- tions is likely to be far greater than the dif- ference in their emissions intensity. Beyond our usual competitiveness metric of net cash margins, location and the applicable carbon emissions legislation will be key to a site’s longevity. Biofuel circularity could unlock the energy transition for refiners Municipal waste, agricultural residue, and recycling waste plastics could be game- changers and drive biofuel adoption as part of the transition to a circular econ- omy. Virtually none of this material is used as feedstock today, but if technology deliv- ers, it could supply an additional 20 million barrels per day (b/d) of low-carbon liquids by 2050. The refining sector will have to adapt to unlock this potential of the circular low-car- bon liquids. The economics are challeng- ing, so policy support will be needed to make this happen. This would be in national governments’ interest: biofuels can help

Recycled plastic waste 2.3

hydroprocessing catalysts in TGTUs for financial and sustainability rewards Decarbonising liquid fuels with BioFlux technologies


Agricultural residue 8.7

Forestry 7.5


Repsol uses Control Tower solution to manage its integrated business value chain 25 Mesoporous zeolites deliver catalytic benefits 26

Municipal solid waste 4.5

Figure 3 Waste to biofuels 2050 global opportunity (million b/d)


achieve net-zero targets by converting fossil fuel-based refineries into sustaina- ble businesses that underpin local employ- ment, deliver circularity, and boost security of supply. The conversion of existing sites and build- ing of new sites to increase petrochemical integration and produce low-carbon liquids are the future business growth opportuni- ties for refining. Contact:

Axens Sulzer

2 4 5 6 9


Johnson Matthey


Shell Catalysts & Technologies

10 12 15 16 22

W. R. Grace

Sabin Arkema

Honeywell UOP

Evonik 20 Veolia Water Technologies & Solutions 19 Zeopore 24 Crystaphase 28


ERTC 2022

Refiners weighing opportunities for circular polymer production

Rising Stars was created to celebrate the future of the refining and petrochemical industry. We are delighted to reveal this year’s four finalists who will pitch their answer to the below question: What will the refining engineer’s role be in 2030? Watch our finalists present their vision at ERTC on 9th November where you will get the opportunity to vote for the overall winner

rene gonzaleZ editor, PTQ


alternative feedstock in the shift towards greater petrochemical production.

recycling, advanced recycling is designed to operate with the capability to handle impurities, mixed polymers, etc. Before 2027, ExxonMobil plans to open several advanced recycling plants world- wide in the Netherlands and elsewhere, with a total combined capacity of 500,000 mtpy. ExxonMobil’s other reported advanced recy- cling plans centre around a collaboration with London-based Plastic Energy, which operates two such plants in Spain. Earlier this year, the two companies announced that Plastic Energy 6 would build, own, and operate a plant adjacent to ExxonMobil’s petrochemical complex in Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France. Up to 25,000 mtpy of post-consumer mixed- plastic waste feedstock at the French plant will be recycled into raw materials by 2023, which ExxonMobil will then turn into certi- fied circular polymers. Polymers from refineries Circular polymers from SABIC’s Trucircle portfolio 7 are produced using advanced recycling, converting low-quality mixed and used plastic, otherwise destined for inciner- ation or landfill, into pyrolysis oil. Process Engineer HELLENiQ Energy Collaboration between SABIC and BP at the Gelsenkirchen production site facilitates the processing of pyrolysis oil as an alterna- tive to traditional hydrocarbon feedstocks. The pyrolysis oil is then processed through SABIC’s Gelsenkirchen polymer units to produce certified circular products with identical properties to virgin-based polymers. To stimulate the uptake of recy- cled content in plastics packaging, a plastic packaging tax is being introduced on plas- tics packaging manufactured or imported into the UK if it does not contain at least 30% recycled content. Huge amounts of waste, both in Europe and globally, end up in natural environ- ments, harming wildlife and biodiversity, with up to 80% of marine debris being plas- tic. Many of the globe’s refiners have noted that to increase margins in the biodiversity transition, they must increase the use of Eirini Petropoulou

Zero to single-digit returns for European refiners compel development of revenue streams around low-carbon products. In addition to biofuels, hydrogen and other decarbonisation opportunities, the man- ufacture of circular polymers is pivotal to eliminating the nearly 300 million mtpy of plastic waste produced worldwide. The industry can leverage this waste to produce products for the circular economy. Petrochemical demand is increasing, stimulating demand for polymers produced from waste plastics. Circular polymers help downstream processors’ participation in a sustainable industrial operation, while also providing margins opportunities for compa- nies that have not necessarily considered producing polymers in the past, but none- theless have the supporting infrastructure. Large amounts of recycled plastics are required for circular plastics manufacturing to succeed, involving both mechanical and chemical recycling. Information available from Plastics Europe 1 indicates its member companies are already planning to increase chemical recycling investment to 7.2 billion Euros in 2030, yielding 3.4 million mtpy of recycled plastics. Partnerships EU regulatory rulings 2 on the use of recy- cled content in plastics packaging will help drive the market. Its uptake avoids GHG emitting incineration and plastic marine and land debris. Converting waste plastics to circular plastics seems like an undisput- able win-win proposition considering the current demand for certain polymers like polypropylene. However, wide-scale com- mercialisation still needs to happen. Partnerships are developing in Europe between chemical producers and technol- ogy suppliers to commercialise advanced waste plastics recycling for polymer pro- duction. Together, Dow Chemical, Topsoe, and other contractors with specialised capabilities are moving forward with the design and engineering of a 10,000 ton per year market development unit (MDU). Benjamin Gruhne Operations Superintendent bp Gelsenkirchen

The MDU project at Dow’s complex in Terneuzen, the Netherlands, will demon- strate the ability to efficiently reclaim waste plastic into circular polymers. Full commer- cialisation is expected soon. The MDU is using Topsoe’s PureStep TM chemical recy- cling technology 3 to purify pyrolysis oil feed- stock derived from waste plastics, yielding circular polypropylene and polyethylene. Difficult-to-recycle plastics Industrial-scale purification of circular feed- stocks is needed to meet strong demand for targeted polymers, including polypro- pylene and polyethylene. These waste plas- tics are difficult to recycle, according to recent reports. 4 A range of difficult-to-recy- cle plastics is under consideration as basic building blocks for new chemicals. One option is for offsite purification of the pyrol- ysis oil. To increase pyrolysis oil feedstock pro- duction, the Fuenix Ecogy Group’s unit in Weert, the Netherlands, will be capable of processing 20,000 mtpy of post-con- sumer plastics into pyrolysis oil feedstock for Dow’s Terneuzen circular plastics oper- ations. Dow has committed to offering at least 100,000 mtpy of recycled high-qual- ity plastics sold in the EU by 2025, such as for packaging applications. The Fuenix Ecogy ® process 5 cracks what- ever polymers are in the plastic to a molec- ular level, essentially upcycling end-of-life plastics that would otherwise go to waste and instead creating high-quality raw mate- rial feedstock for process facilities. These facilities could include refineries with the necessary infrastructure, such as asset integration and scale. Objectives Continuous recycling of waste plastics into circular polymers is a strategic objective for other major chemical manufacturers. For example, Chevron Phillips Chemical’s (CPC) circular polyethylene matches the perfor- mance and safety specifications of CPC’s virgin polymers. Compared to traditional Carine Strand Operation & Maintenance Engineer Equinor

Petrochemical shift A growing number of refiners are turning to waste recycling technologies to provide sustainable feedstock while reducing their reliance on the exploration and production of fossil fuels. The consultancy McKinsey also highlighted this opportunity, suggest- ing this could represent a global profit pool of nearly €50 billion per year by 2030. Elsewhere, Axens is teaming with down- stream operators to process renewably sourced aromatics, primarily for recovery of high-purity bio-based paraxylene, which can help develop renewable chemicals from non-food biomass. Increased demand for substitutes of conventional petrochemi- cal products, exposed to volatile crude oil prices, is likely to drive bio-based parax- ylene market growth. Ilona Leubner Business Developer Renewables Bayernoil Widespread utilisation of bio-based par- axylene in various applications, such as in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), is likely to generate double-digit growth opportu- nities for the worldwide bio-based parax- ylene market. Against this backdrop, the imminent closure of many European refin- eries may be avoided as these facilities play the role of first movers in the global circular economy. References 1 2 plastics_en 3 waste-to-plastic 4 5 uploads/2019/08/dow_fuenix_pressre- lease-29-8-2019.pdf 6 laborates_with_exxonmobil_on_advanced_recy- cling_project_in_france/ 7 circular-economy/trucircle-portfolio-and-services 8 insights/how-plastics-waste-recycling-could- transform-the-chemical-industry

2022 Rising Stars Finalist

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ERTC 2022

What about a CBAM for the refining industry?

Ignazio Arces Refining Evolution and Transformation, Head of Asset Management, ENI


Regionally, Fit for 55 will lower European fuel demand by 300-400 kbd by 2035, furthering weakening refinery utilisations. Furthermore, European gasoline-oriented configurations are challenged by falling demand as they increasingly rely on long-haul export markets. Fuel combustion, power, and hydrogen (SMR) are major sources of refinery emissions, and carbon intensity increases with refinery complexity. European refiner-

In 2020, when oil demand and refining mar- gins collapsed during the pandemic, we saw a tidal wave of industry rationalisation across the world; many refineries closed, announced that they plan to close, or were converted into ‘something else’. Even in the period of recov- ery, European oil demand did not recover to pre-pandemic levels, limiting refining margins, along with the growing high cost of natural gas and carbon emissions.

WTI MEH cracking Arab L ight cracking Urals cracking Bonny L ight cracking







Q2 ‘19

Q3 ‘19

Q4 ‘19

Q1 ‘20

Q2 ‘20 Q3 ‘20 Q4 ‘20

Q1 ‘21

Q2 ‘21

Q3 ‘21

Q1 ‘22 Q4 ‘21

Figure 1 Quarterly average Amsterdam-Rotterdam- Antwerp refining margin from Q2 2019 to Q1 2022 (Source:, S&P Global Platts) ies are typically less carbon intensive than those in North America and Asia, but decarbonising refinery operations and consuming less energy is a significant cost reduction oppor- tunity for Europeans (as at the end of the day, it means con- suming less methane). However, since February 2022, the Ukraine war has been a game changer, and refining margins have set an all-time record, confirming refining is still a strategic asset. According to data analysts, refining accounts for about 3% of global energy sector carbon emissions. Breaking this 3% down into regions, Asia accounts for 43% of global refin- ery emissions, with 35% of global refinery capacity, North America for 24%, Europe for 15%, and the Middle East for 8%. Hence, there is a significant opportunity to lower the carbon intensity of refinery products made in Asia. Moreover, the EU ETS scheme adds to the profitabil- ity challenge, as the cost of carbon is relevant to European refineries since most are complex, although deep conver- sion refineries with higher margins should be better able to absorb the cost of carbon emissions. In other words, the energy transition is challenging the refining industry as tra- ditional success factors such as flexibility, scale, complexity, and location are necessary but no longer sufficient. In July 2021, the EU announced Fit for 55, with the goal to reduce net GHG emissions in 2030 by at least 55% com- pared with 1990 levels. Fit for 55 is intended to deliver the Green Deal and achieve the emissions reduction target while creating new social and economic opportunities. As part of this package, a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will be gradually introduced for certain imports from countries outside the EU. CBAM should limit carbon leakage by equalising the car- bon price between domestic and foreign products. From 2026, the Commission is planning to phase out free alloca- tions to the sectors concerned under the ETS to ensure a level playing field between EU producers and third-country importers. Until free allocations end in 2035, CBAM will only apply to the proportion of emissions that do not receive free allowances under the EU ETS. CBAM will initially cover five industrial areas: iron and steel, cement, fertilisers, alumin- ium and electricity generation (power), but does not include the refining industry. However, European refining can make a significant con- tribution to the net-zero carbon economy in 2050 by mov- ing into the production of low- and zero-carbon products. This will require huge investment and carbon leakage pro- tection throughout the transition: technology neutrality and a rational approach to the cost of carbon are necessary, otherwise the relocation of EU refining capacity to unreg- ulated regions will have a negative effect on climate and geopolitics. As a result, the refinery sector should be considered a good candidate for coverage of CBAM, considering its struc- ture and exposure to carbon leakage. Furthermore, the EU is a net importer of jet fuel and diesel, two of the sector’s products that could, in priority, be good candidates for early inclusion in a CBAM regime, promoting the adoption of the

License to thrill Process alternative feedstock with confidence Adjusting existing units to new feedstocks is challenging and uncertain. As you transform your operations to meet new market demands, Sulzer Chemtech brings expertise to help operators efficiently process pyrolysis oils from waste plastics and biofuels with innovative licensing technologies and purification systems. shared/services/gtc Contact us for more information Sulzer Chemtech – We make chemistry happen!

bio-component, HVO, and SAF. Contact:


ERTC 2022

Sustainable energy management is becoming increasingly important for refineries

Raffinerie Heide

Union, pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050 com- pared to 1990 levels, thereby limiting average global warming to well below two degrees by the end of the century. Energy-intensive industrial companies have a key role to play in this regard. “We started addressing this task and imple- menting the first steps very early on,” says Stefan Nitzinger, head of process engi- neering at Raffinerie Heide. Among other things, these objectives led Raffinerie Heide to focus on the issue of transforma- tion and decarbonisation – in other words, the reduction of CO₂ emissions – across its business areas ahead of many other refin- eries. The results of these many years of work include the WESTKÜSTE100 and HySCALE100 hydrogen projects. The Ukraine conflict and the associ- ated gas shortage in Europe have given energy a new dynamic. “The prevailing gas shortage and the constantly rising energy costs since the end of last year are forc- ing all companies to constantly review and improve their energy efficiency,” continues Stefan Nitzinger. The major advantage of

Energy is the big topic throughout Europe. Where does it come from, what is it used for, and how can we save it? The efficient use of energy is also of great importance to Raffinerie Heide – and not just since the recent developments in the energy and gas sectors. Like all refineries and chemi- cal companies around the world, Raffinerie Heide requires a lot of energy for produc- tion. This is why our company introduced an energy management system back in 2012, which is being continuously adapted and optimised. The aim is to use different energy sources as effectively and sustain- ably as possible. Process technologist Marven Schmitz, the focal point for energy at Raffinerie Heide, is responsible for this system. “Paying attention to the conscious use of energy ensures that companies, including Raffinerie Heide, remain competitive,” he explains. In 2015, in addition to the eco- nomic necessity, a political commitment to save energy was made. At the Paris Climate Change Conference, in the so-called Greenhouse Gas Protocol, 195 countries, including Germany and the entire European

Raffinerie Heide

emphasise that companies will have to con- stantly adapt to new circumstances in the coming years. The global energy market is likely to remain unstable. However, it is also important that prudent energy manage- ment is not seen as a tool for achieving the energy revolution: “It provides companies with the means to survive during the time needed to transform their business. No more, no less.”

Raffinerie Heide is its flexibility. The gas tur- bine was shut down in the plant’s own power plant in August, both to contribute to secu- rity of supply and to reduce energy costs. However, as electricity generation with the gas turbine is very efficient, the gas turbine is to be converted from natural gas to pro- pane. This means that the refinery will be able to generate electricity efficiently in the future, regardless of the natural gas market. According to Raffinerie Heide’s energy expert Marven Schmitz, it is important to


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ERTC 2022

Take-off for cleaner skies starts now with SAF

Mikala Grubb TOPSOE

The transportation sector accounts for 14% of the world’s GHG emissions. This is why governments and states worldwide are taking measures to lower GHG emissions through subsidies and legislation, with 137 countries having pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by, for the most part, 2050. And with aviation responsible for 8% of the transport sector’s emissions, there is no way the industry can fly under the radar. Change is coming, and that means sustain- able aviation fuel (SAF) will be under the spotlight, with projected demand of around 15 Mt in 2030 and 200 Mt in 2050. Eventually, and as is our collective aim, both renewable jet and eJet fuels are expected to overtake fossil jet fuel. But change has been coming for some time. Indeed, as far back as 2008, air- lines have been exploring the potential of SAF. However, uptake has been slow, and by 2019 SAF accounted for just 0.1% of all fuel consumed by the aviation industry. In terms of ambition and tangible action, it has only been the last year or so in which we have started seeing real change. In 2021 airlines bought every drop of SAF available worldwide, test flights are being run partially or fully powered by SAF, and regulations reducing barriers to entry have come into effect. All of which is great news for efforts to decarbonise aviation. routes to SAF certification Aircraft flying around the world will be fuelled at different airports in different countries, making international fuel specifi- cations for SAF a necessity. It is a matter of ensuring flight safety and minimising risk of mishandling, but it is also a matter of avoiding having to implement a varied mix of fuel delivering systems at high cost. In addition, current specifica- tions ensure today’s engines and aircraft do not have to be redesigned to run on SAF, thus making the transition even more sus- tainable. At present, the focus is on SAF as a drop-in replacement to conventional jet fuel. And, with ASTM standards exclud- ing the use of pure SAF in aircraft, a 50% blend is most common, with a maximum 10% blend available in some cases. There are currently seven approved technology pathways to producing drop-in SAF (see Table 1 ). Co-processing, as seen in Table 2 , is another option for decarbon- ising aviation and meeting the criteria for the Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuels (D1655). Co-processing, which involves the simultaneous process- ing of fossil and renewable feedstocks, means you can use existing refining, trans- port, and storage facilities. This, in turn, makes it possible to convert renewable feedstocks into drop-in, ultra-low sulphur renewable jet or eJet fuel at economically competitive prices. Topsoe routes to SAF At Topsoe, we have identified the main routes we consider to be the most commer- cially advanced (see Figure 1 ). Firstly, we have HydroFlex TM , which offers full feed- stock flexibility whatever raw material you

gas, Fischer-Tropsch and hydroprocessing technologies, our G2L eFuels solution effi- ciently produces FT-SPK/eJet and green naphtha. The process integrates newly developed technologies like our fully elec- trified eREACT TM into already proven solu- tions, meaning a viable way to produce eFuels is ready. Now. Furthermore, the Fischer-Tropsch technology is provided by our strategic partner Sasol under a single- point licence. Feedstock availability can cause turbulence SAF can be produced from various renew- able feedstocks, including vegetable oils, waste oils and fats, solid biogenic waste, industrial flue gases, CO₂, renewable elec- tricity, and water. As the market for and production of SAF increases, so will the need for suitable feedstocks. There are many reasons for this, not least because other segments and industries are pursu- ing the same feedstocks for their purposes, like road transport, marine fuel, and petro- chemicals. That could become a seriously limiting factor in our journey to decarbonis- ing aviation. But what does this have to do with legis- lation? The use of feedstocks, in particular first-generation renewable feedstocks, is highly regulated in some parts of the world like the EU, with direct implications for the biofuel production required to supply man- dated volumes (see Figure 2 ). Inbound: advanced feedstocks But a third generation of feedstocks is com- ing: advanced solid waste feedstocks that can be derived from solid biomass waste, rotational crops, and recycled carbon. Processes for working with solid waste feedstocks naturally differ from those applied to first- and second-generation feedstocks – the principal divergence being solid-to-liquid conversion. And while the technologies for this conversion pro- cess are almost ready and the knowledge is there, strict aviation regulations mean these processes still need approval. Solid waste feedstocks are a much more abundant resource than previous genera- tions and will remain so for years. In all, their emergence is key to decarbonising aviation. Boundless opportunities There is no doubt that the demand for SAF will keep growing. With innovative technolo- gies and cutting-edge knowledge enabling the upgrading of advanced feedstocks, fuel production is at the centre of the global transition. Forward-thinking businesses will capture this by moving into new, advanced feedstocks while the opportunity is ripe. collaboration is KEy We can see the effort being made by refin- eries, OEMs, airlines, government bodies and more to propel us to decarbonise avia- tion. And collaboration will be the final piece in our SAF puzzle, enabling us to push for more legislation, greater feedstock availa- bility, and a Flight Plan Green.


ASTM Annex Year of

Feedstock options



blending limits

Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (FT-SPK)



Coal, natural gas, biomass (syngas)


Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene



Vegetable oils and fats, animal fat,



recycled oils

Hydroprocessed Fermented Sugars to Synthetic lsoparaffins (HFS-SlP)



Biomass used for sugar production


Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene with Aromatics (FT-SPK/A) Alcohol to Jet Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (ATJ-SPK) Catalytic Hydrothermolysis Synthesized Kerosene (CH-SK, or CHJ) Hydroprocessed Hydrocarbons, Esters and Fatty Acids Synthetic

D7556 A4


Coal, natural gas, biomass




Ethanol or isobutanol

50% 50%

A6 2020 A7 2020

Triglyceride-based feedstocks

Triterpenes produced by the


Paraffinic Kerosene (HHC-SPK or HC-HEFA-SPK)

Botryococcus braunii species of algae

Table 1 Approved technology pathways to producing drop-in SAF



Annex Year of

Feedstock options



blending limits

Co-processing of mono-, di-, and triglycerides, free fatty acids,

A1.2.2.1 2018

Mono-, di-, and triglycerides, free

and fatty acid esters

fatty acids, and fatty acid esters


5% (feed)

Co-processing of hydrocarbons derived from synthesis gas via Fischer-Tropsch process using iron or cobalt catalyst

A1 .2.2.2 2020

Fischer-Tropsch hydrocarbons

Table 2 Co-processing options

route with G2L TM Biofuels. This commer- cially proven technology utilises Topsoe’s hydroprocessing technologies and Sasol’s LTFT TM technology to produce Fischer- Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (FT-SPK). We supply the core technologies and engineering, catalysts, proprietary hardware, and technical services in a sin- gle-point license – an industry first – and offer a feed-in/product-out guarantee. And then we have G2L TM eFuels, which allow you to produce eFuels from renewa- ble energy via green hydrogen and CO₂ via carbon capture. By combining synthesis

choose to work with. This technology uti- lises Topsoe’s hydroprocessing expertise to enable the processing of virgin oils, waste oils and fats, solid biomass, and plastic waste/tyres into HEFA-based SAF with min- imal Carbon Intensity (CI) compared to tra- ditional petroleum aviation fuel. HydroFlex also has a high number of running refer- ences, offers versatile process design and hardware, and comes with a comprehensive range of proprietary catalysts for renewa- ble fuel production. But if gasified waste is your source of choice, go the synthetic- and gas-based

Renewable fuels


Waste oils and fats

Renewable electricity

Solid biomass, waste, tyres and plastic waste


Virgin oils




Pyrolysis , HTL

Carbon capture


G2L™ Biofuels Syngas purication, Fischer-Tropsch, Hydrocracking

G2L™ eFuels eREACT™, Fischer-Tropsch, Hydrocracking

Hydro F lex™ Hydroprocessing

HEFA-SPK (>80%)

Advanced HEFA-SPK (>80%)

FT-SPK (>85%)

FT-SPK/eJet (99-100%)



Process (Topsoe)

Product (GHG emissions savings)

1. From waste oils and fats 2. Not approved ASTM pathway yet

Figure 1 Topsoe routes to SAF

3rd Generation Solid biomass waste Agricultural residue

2nd Generation* Waste oils & fats (30-40 MT/y) Used cooking oils (UCO) Animal fats Distillers corn oil (DCO) Crude tall oil (CTO) Acid oils Palm oil mill euent oil (POME oil) Palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) Spent bleaching earth oil (SBEO) Empty fruit bunch oil (EFB oil)

1st Generation** Virgin oils (180MT/y) Rapeseed oil Palm oil Sunower oil Soybean oil

>500 Mtoe/y* of 3rd generation feedstocks available globally

Sewage sludge Forestry residue Organic fraction of MSW Low ILUC/rotational crops Carinata Castor Micro or macro algae Recycled carbon Mixed plastic waste End of life tyres

3rd generation biofuels are needed to ll the gap

*WEF report 2020

**UFOP report

*WEF report 2020


Figure 2 Evolution of sustainable feedstocks for advanced, third-generation biofuels


ERTC 2022

Pivoting to chemicals while decarbonising today

Marie Goret-Rana, Carl Keeley and Ken Chlapik Johnson Matthey

Although green hydrogen is presently more expensive to produce than grey or blue hydrogen, the key input – renewable electricity – is both increasing in capacity and reducing in cost. What is beyond doubt is that green hydrogen will play an increas- ing role in the transition to net zero as the cost of renewable electricity continues to fall and the cost of electrolysers reduces. Scope 3: Decarbonise fuels and chemicals production to reduce product use emissions Oil refineries are increasingly using bio- and waste streams to decarbonise their fuels and chemicals production. Blending com- ponents used to decarbonise transpor- tation fuels include bioethanol, fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), and renewable die- sel. For example, Valero Corporation pro- duces bioethanol on a large scale in the US, which can be blended into the gasoline pool.⁴ Globally, bioethanol is produced from corn, wheat, sugarcane, beetroot, or similar and is a popular choice for decarbonising gasoline production. Different solutions are available for diesel. For example, Johnson Matthey’s biodiesel process uses fatty acids, obtained from the hydrolysis of bio- based oils, and converts them to FAME, which can be blended into the diesel pool. So far, we have licensed eight plants glob- ally. Renewable diesel – a hydrocarbon die- sel fuel produced by the hydroprocessing of fats, vegetable oils, or waste cooking oils can be used as a blending component or as a direct substitute for conventional diesel fuel. Several units have been built in the US. As an alternative to green blending com- ponents, bio- and waste streams can be used as a feedstock to produce gasoline and diesel. A low capital option involves using existing hydrotreaters to co-process bio- and waste streams to make fuels and olefins, which are partially green. Leading- edge oil refiners have been exploring this opportunity for some time and have dis- covered it is possible to co-process up to 10-20% bio- and waste component. For example, Parkland Corporation’s Burnaby refinery has successfully converted can- ola oil and oil derived from animal fats to fuels.⁵ In addition, a growing number of fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units are exploring co-processing. For example, Preem AB Lysekil refinery has successfully converted biomass-based pyrolysis oil to fuels and olefins.⁶ Another way to decarbonise fuels and chemicals is to convert municipal solid waste and other renewable biomass to low- carbon fuels. For example, the FT CANS TM Fischer-Tropsch technology developed by Johnson Matthey in collaboration with bp converts synthesis gas into long-chain hydrocarbons. The resulting FT products need upgrading, which can be done by an oil refinery, to produce low-carbon gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels. Fulcrum BioEnergy is employing the FT CANS technology in its new Sierra BioFuels plant in Nevada, USA. The Sierra plant is the first commercial- scale plant in the US to convert munici- pal waste, that would otherwise be sent to landfill, into a low-carbon synthetic crude

chemicals production. Here, a better solu- tion for the environment is to build new blue or green hydrogen/syngas production. Scope 2: Reduce emissions associated with imported electricity and steam Large factories, like oil refineries, can replace imported power with low-car- bon hydrogen that is used to decarbonise factory-fired heaters and boilers. When neighbouring industries and markets need hydrogen, there can be considerable jus- tification for investing in a blue hydrogen hub or installing electrolysers to produce green hydrogen. An example of a hydrogen hub is HyNet North West in the UK. The heart of this pro- ject is Johnson Matthey’s LCH™ technol- ogy. This hydrogen hub will produce blue hydrogen. This blue hydrogen will be used to replace fossil fuels used by industry and transportation, and the hydrogen will also be used to heat nearby homes. The by-prod- uct CO₂ captured from the LCH process and the CO₂ captured from nearby factories will be safely stored in an existing offshore well. And CO₂ storage will achieve large-scale CO₂ emission reductions. The consortium includes Progressive Energy, Essar Oil (UK) Limited, ENI, Johnson Matthey, and many valued partners.² DID you know Johnson Matthey and MyReChemical offer a single licence for their waste-to-methanol technology? Green hydrogen goes a step further. Hydrogen is produced via the electrolysis of water using renewable electricity (such as wind or solar). The water is split into oxygen and hydrogen without producing any CO₂. Although renewable energy out- put is variable, proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers are engineered to cope with varying energy input. At the heart of every PEM electrolyser is a catalyst coated membrane (CCM) responsible for the pro- duction of hydrogen. These membranes consist of precisely engineered layers of structured catalysts, typically platinum and iridium oxide. The catalysts are applied to solid membranes in a way that maximises potential hydrogen production. At Johnson Matthey, we design and manufacture high- performance CCMs at scale, building on our decades of experience in fuel cells and PGMs and circularity. Green hydrogen is available, and oil refin- eries are starting to explore its use. One example is Shell’s Energy and Chemicals Park Rheinland, Germany, where green hydrogen is produced using a PEM electro- lyser powered by renewable electricity from offshore wind.³

oil (syncrude). Fulcrum plans to sell the syn- crude to nearby oil refineries. The syncrude is used to reduce the carbon intensity of trans- portation fuels. Furthermore, Johnson Matthey and MyReChemical have formed an alliance to offer a single licence for their waste-to-metha- nol technology. The methanol derived from this process is an important intermediate product used to produce many goods that play a vital role in everyday life, such as resins, plastics, insulation, and fibres. Besides, the metha- nol can be used to decarbonise fuels too; for example, methanol as a gasoline blending component or methanol to power ships. Another option to reduce factory Scope 3 emissions is to use existing FCC process units to convert ‘gasoline-range molecules’ into propylene, C4s, and higher olefins which are then used to produce a wide range of chemi- cals. Johnson Matthey is a leading supplier of unique additives used to maximise FCC olefin production. In addition, we license a wide range of DAVY TM process technologies employing our high-performance catalysts to produce a wide range of essential chemicals from a variety of feed materials, including propylene, butyl- enes, higher olefin, and waste streams. Conclusion To fight climate change and make the world cleaner and healthier today and for future generations, oil refineries must adapt. Carbon taxes are being implemented, and these will significantly erode refinery margins. This cre- ates urgency for action. An obvious first step is to use available expertise, catalysts, technolo- gies, and services to decarbonise the existing processes and utilities. In addition, increas- ing the capability to use bio- and waste feeds and green blending components will further decarbonise fuels production. Finally, increas- ing the percentage of chemicals production will significantly increase refinery margin and reduce Scope 3 emissions associated with how products are used. Consequently, decar- bonisation has the potential to be a strong value driver for the oil refining industry. Acknowledgement The authors thank Johnson Matthey colleagues for their help and suggestions, and for providing a wide range of examples and project details available in the public domain. References 1 (accessed June 2022). 2 (accessed June 2022). 3 (accessed June 2022). 4 (accessed June 2022). 5 details/2021-02-18-Parkland-sets-new-low-car- bon-fuel-production-record-at-its-Burnaby-Refin- ery-and-targets-125-percent-annual-produc- tion-growth-in-2021/609#close (accessed June 2022). 6 news/2021/09/honeywell-and-preem-conduct- commercial-co-processing-trial-to-produce-renew- able-fuel (accessed June 2022). Contact:;;

Despite many improvements in vehicle fuel economy, increasing adoption of hybrids and EVs, petroleum-based fuel demand continues to grow, at least in the short- to mid-term! However, in the future, we imag- ine demand for petroleum-based fuels will decline due to increasing global efforts to fight climate change, including the intro- duction of a carbon tax in many countries. Therefore, oil refineries need solutions to decarbonise fuels production. Further- more, as petroleum-based fuel demand decreases, chemical production is a route to stabilise and grow oil refining margins. In fact, highly profitable oil refineries already produce petrochemicals, and demand for chemicals is expected to increase. Johnson Matthey and its partners are implementing solutions to improve oil refin- ery margins and, at the same time, reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Scope 1 solutions reduce direct GHG emissions from existing process units; Scope 2 solutions reduce indirect GHG emissions from imported electricity and steam; and Scope 3 solutions reduce other indirect GHG emissions and allow refiners to pivot to chemicals. Scope 1: Reduce direct emissions from the process itself GHG emissions from existing process units can be reduced by improving energy efficiency and employing improved pro- cess technologies and high-performance catalyst. Hydrogen is an important feed, utility, and fuel used in most oil refineries and many pet- rochemical factories. Presently, the most popular route to make hydrogen is steam methane reforming (SMR). Significant CO₂ reductions can be made by improving the reformer operation. Johnson Matthey can help operators by offering reformer surveys and performance monitoring to minimise fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions and, at the same time, can improve reformer synthesis gas (syngas) production. Syngas is a flexible process stream used to make hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol, which are important building blocks for a wide range of useful everyday chemicals. In addition to employing leading prac- tices to improve existing process unit opti- misation, Johnson Matthey’s Low Carbon Solution business is integrating its estab- lished ADVANCED REFORMING TM tech- nologies with leading pre-combustion CO₂ capture providers to deliver cost-effec- tive decarbonisation solutions under the CLEANPACE TM brand. CLEANPACE is a suite of ready-now technologies to retro- fit existing grey hydrogen units and reduce carbon emissions by up to 95%.¹ Using Johnson Matthey’s customer survey data, there are c.150 hydrogen plants with potential for revamp in Europe and North America alone. Once captured, the CO₂ can be converted into useful chemicals or stored; some examples of this will be briefly mentioned in this article. However, in some cases, significant addi- tional hydrogen production is required, such as when oil refineries move towards petro-


ERTC 2022


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ERTC 2022

An FCC sustainability game changer

Lamma Khodeir W. R. Grace & Co.

As the post-pandemic world reflects the return of strong demand and profits for oil refined products, there are increased incentives to use FCC premium catalyst technologies that ensure the optimum liq- uid products yield and maximum unit avail- ability. This cannot be disengaged from the ongoing decarbonisation journey, which requires us to minimise the carbon inten- sity of our products. Grace is fully com- mitted to closely supporting the refining industry in this challenging energy transi- tion by providing cutting-edge technolo- gies and redefining how we operate the FCC unit in this new era. FUSION ® catalyst technology is the lat- est innovation from W. R. Grace designed to deliver stand-out coke-to-bottoms per- formance and higher value product yields across a range of feed profiles. The unique aspect of this catalyst is its advanced matrix binding system, which allows us to integrate our proven technologies for coke selectivity, metals passivation, and bot- toms cracking performance into a single- particle solution. This novel technology has been successfully used in 16 commercial units around the world to date, with further trials likely later in 2022 and early 2023. Grace has a long history of delivering value to refiners by offering catalyst sys- tems that combine a high zeolite to matrix ratio (Z/M) coke selective, metals tolerant catalyst component with a low Z/M bot- toms cracking component. Over a decade of laboratory and commercial experience has proven that these catalyst systems exceed the performance of the individual component technologies. Through manufacturing and process- ing advancements, Grace has developed a pathway to combine the benefits of high Z/M coke selectivity and low Z/M bottoms upgrading into a single catalyst solution – FUSION catalyst. With this combina- tion of proven technologies, the functional materials in the catalyst interact to deliver improved performance over catalyst sys- tem offerings, which was previously not possible. This new technology increases the functional qualities of Grace’s IVT vana- dium trap, low coke matrix (LCM) Ni passi- vation, and bottoms cracking matrix (made popular in our MIDAS platform). All FUSION catalyst offerings contain optimised and uniformly distributed metals trapping tech- nologies and matrix functions without sac- rificing catalyst physical properties. Case Study A commercial trial involved a unit that had successfully used Grace catalyst technolo- gies for over 25 years. The refiner decided

FCC unit objectives

Competitor A


Dry gas

Minimise the main column bottom yield Increase LCO / HCN yield Decrease delta coke to process either more carbon or more feed Maintaining / increasing propylene and butylenes yields Maintaining / increasing RON

Increase in regenerator temperature, lower resid intake, poorer yields Poor coke and gas selectivity Competitor B 10% drop in Ecat activity > preferential loss of active component Trial terminated prematurely

Std. slurry


Standard conversion

Std. LCO


FUSION ® coke selectivity and bottoms cracking in a single particle outperformed competitors ' technologies

Maximise unit conversion

Std. naphtha

Enable use of economic low-quality feed


Dry gas

$0.55/bbl to $1.17/bbl Value delivered

Std. slurry


Maximise high - value products

Figure 1 Summary of recent back-to-back-to-back FUSION commercial trials

Grace V alue C onversion

Std. LCO

to perform back-to-back commercial trials against two competitors, which led to direct performance comparisons. The typical operation for this FCC unit includes a feed Conradson Carbon content of 3.9 wt% and an Ecat Ni + V content of 5500 mg/kg due to significant resid processing. As observed in the summary within Figure 1 , the two competitor trials led to higher regenera- tor temperatures, lower resid throughput and poorer yields in one case and increased catalyst additions in the other case. In con- trast, the FUSION catalyst trial helped successfully meet the key trial objectives, did you know Grace has developed a pathway to combine the benefits of high Z/M coke selectivity and low Z/M bottoms upgrading into a single catalyst solution? which primarily corresponded to enhanced conversion, further feed quality flexibility, and improved product selectivities. These cumulative benefits helped unlock $0.55- $1.17/bbl of additional value, depending on the governing product price set and desired mode of operation. As refiners intend to decarbonise their operations and maximise their high-value liquid products production, we identified cases in which it was difficult to properly correlate unit conversion with profitability while assessing operating conditions to reduce FCC unit carbon intensity. Indeed, as the LCO market strengthens, this was often the case for those refiners extract-



Coke yield, wt%

Base Base Base


2 , kMT/a



Std. naphtha

Liquid products, wt%



Table 1 Realised yields with FUSION at the same operating conditions

ing value from this product. In our stand- ard conversion definition, high-value LCO appears as unconverted material, whereas undesired low-value products such as coke or dry gas account as conversion. This contradiction is addressed by means of redefined Grace Value Conversion, as shown in Figure 2 . For the present case study, it was proven that economic prof- itability correlated extremely well with the redefined conversion definition and helped to identify a unit severity in which the carbon intensity was reduced (see Table 1 ). The carbon tax on refinery CO₂ emis- sions as part of broader decarbonisa- tion efforts to fight climate change has an impact on refinery profitability besides the achieved yield structure. To improve their competitiveness, refiners have various strategies to reduce their carbon footprint and associated costs. Coke selectivity of an FCC catalyst can play a role in support- ing these efforts, as concluded by FCC Alliance after assessing the CO2 inten- sity of multiple FCC units. 1 Due to lower coke yield make and the higher yield of liq- uid products, FUSION catalyst supports unlocking an additional value by reducing the CO₂ emissions at constant operating conditions by 14 kMT per year (see Table 1) for this customer. The carbon penalty impacting a refin- ery’s margin is proportional to the refinery emission intensity and the carbon price. Depending on the emissions trading sys- tem (ETS) cost, the additional value can increase with the carbon price. The opti- mised gas and coke selectivity of FUSION

Coke (wt% FF)

Figure 2 Grace Value Conversion as rede- fined profitability driver

catalyst helped to provide an additional financial benefit in excess of 1.2 M€/ annum while supporting the environmental sustainability efforts. Conclusions The successful quick implementation of FUSION catalyst denotes the clear bene- fits of this innovation in terms of increased high-value liquid products at reduced coke and gas make while enhancing FCC bot- toms destruction. Besides, the correct combination of this technology and an optimised set of operat- ing conditions enables refiners to minimise CO₂ emissions, which apart from con- tributing to meet global warming targets, results in a direct Opex reduction through the ETS credits system in the EU. This way, we provide you with the complete solution that decarbonises your unit while increas- ing your profits. Ask your Grace represent- ative how we can help you.

Reference 1 Digne R, IFPEN Study R1210S-RD/FH no. 11-0260, 2011, March 28 .


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