PTQ Q1 2023 Issue



Green electricity Steam turbine



HVO (including ATR, CO export infrastructure etc.)


SMR Pre -c omb. c apture MPW EC 16400

Electric heaters E- m ethanol







Figure 4 Roadmap to achieve ‘Fit for 55’: 55% reduction in overall CO₂ emissions by 2030 (compared to base case)

not counted. However, capturing this CO₂ would result in negative emissions. In this case, another 2% reduction in Scope 1 emissions is possible if CO₂ is recovered from the HVO off-gases. Higher percentages of overall reduction are only possible if HVO/MPW processing is substantially increased. The second curve (see Figure 3 ) follows the same prin- ciple but is based on a lower electricity price (down from 103 to 45 €/MWh), no differentiation between the price of grey and green electricity, and a 50% drop in the capital cost of electrolysers and electric heaters. In comparison to Figure 2, a few other techniques/tech- nologies now merit consideration: the conversion of steam turbines to electric motors, electric heaters (200 MW of absorbed duty is now generated via electric heaters), and using CO₂ for the production of e-fuels, urea (via green ammonia), and e-methanol. All these ‘CO₂-use’ units use green hydrogen and 100 KTA of CO₂ captured at the new ATR installed in conjunction with HVO processing. It could of course be decided to consider a bigger e-methanol unit and pass on the urea/e-fuels plants. Despite the lower cost of electricity, electrolysers, and electric heaters, green/blue hydrogen firing is still not economical. Overall CO₂ recovery only improves marginally, while the cost of CO₂ abatement on average reduces from 30 to 25 €/ton, well below the price at which EU Carbon Permits are currently being traded. Ultimate refinery Scope 1 CO2 emissions only consist of CO2 slippage from the pre/post- combustion units. Replacing furnaces by electric heaters results in less CO2 to the post-combustion capture unit and hence reduced CO 2 losses from this unit to the atmosphere. Further optimisation and cost reduction are possible by installing more electric heaters. This would reduce the size and cost of the post-combustion capture unit. This, in combination with more CO₂ utilisation capacity (EC produc- tion in our case), could result in not having to consider CO₂ export (transportation, liquefaction, and offshore storage), which may have a substantial benefit on the overall cost of CO₂ abatement.

Feed and product prices will affect the economics (i.e., the cost of the overall abatement programme but will not change the achievable CO₂ reduction). Roadmap Whereas the previously illustrated curves have shown what is technically feasible, the actual timeline of implementa- tion of the various measures depends on numerous factors. These include the completion of major infrastructure out- side of the refinery fence (such as windfarms to produce green electricity, CO₂ pipelines to greenhouses/compres- sion, or liquefaction terminals for storage), availability of feedstock (such as biomass, MPW), the conclusion of sup- ply/offtake agreements, changes in prices of feedstocks, products and utilities, regulatory parameters, technological developments, and so on. The examples presented in the previous sections have shown MPW and HVO processing to have good econom- ics based on the various assumptions underlying the study. The EU target of ‘Fit for 55’ by 2030 can only be reached by substantially reducing crude oil processing in favour of vegetable oil processing in combination with a number of other decarbonisation measures. HVO processing is already practised commercially, while it can be expected that MPW processing will reach a mature scale with increasing single-train unit sizes and reducing costs. With changing economics, regret investments should be avoided. For example, while it would be justified to improve furnace thermal efficiency based on today’s fuel prices, lon- ger term it is more profitable to replace the furnaces with electric heaters. The Figure 4 ‘roadmap’ shows a possible implementation plan of the measures that could be considered if the power price drops to 30 €/MWh. It includes the following: • 5.25 MTA of vegetable oil processing, including new HVO units and allowing co-processing in existing diesel hydrotreater (DHT) and hydrocracking units (HCUs) • 40% reduction in refinery crude rate


PTQ Q1 2023

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