European plants mull plastics recycling projects
A number of companies have announced plans for plastics recycling projects.
Austria’s OMV has taken a final investment decision to expand its pilot waste plastics-to-crude recycling plant at its Schwechat refinery as part of plans to commercialize the technology by 2026, the company said Dec. 20. The new demo plant at the Austrian refinery will have a design capacity of 16,000 mt/year and is scheduled for startup in early 2023, OMV said. The current pilot plant at Schwechat can produce up to 100 liters of synthetic crude per hour from 100 kilograms of waste plastic.
Meanwhile, Ineos is to launch a pyrolysis-based plastic recycling project at the UK Grangemouth refinery and chemicals plant alongside London-based Plastic Energy in the first quarter 2022, Ineos said Dec. 17. The trial involves producing “food grade” plastic packaging from a synthetic liquid known as Tacoil (Thermal Anaerobic Conversion Oil) made from discarded food packaging, Ineos said. It could lead to a full-scale project, although any scaling up will require “policy” support, Ineos said, noting the need for improvements in UK waste recovery.
Finland’s Neste has concluded the first series of trial runs that started in 2020 to process liquefied waste plastics at its Porvoo refinery. The refinery has processed about 800 mt of mixed post-consumer waste that is otherwise hard to recycle, the company said. The waste has been upgraded to “drop-in solutions for plastic production,” Neste said, adding that it has also developed “the capabilities to upgrade even larger quantities of waste plastic into even higher quality feedstock for the petrochemicals uses.” The company aims to process more than 1 million mt/year of plastic waste from 2030 onwards.
Essar Oil, the owner of the UK’s 205,000 b/d Stanlow refinery, said Dec. 13 it planned to build the UK’s largest biofuels storage facility at the refinery in northwest England. Under the plans, Essar said its Stanlow Terminals subsidiary will develop 300,000 cu m of biofuel capacity storage at the site over the next three years, allowing customers to store, blend and distribute biofuels for the road, aviation and marine sectors.
In other news, a fire Jan. 11 in the distillation sector on the island 8 portion of Eni’s converted Gela oil refinery in Sicily was extinguished with no casualties. Eni said it was seeking to determine the cause of the incident, which followed an explosion at the furnace in the distillation units sector, according to sources.
New and revised entries
** Croatia’s Rijeka refinery is expecting to complete works on a new residue upgrade complex including a delayed coker this year, according to local media report. Works on the upgrade started in 2020 after a final investment decision in 2019, S&P Global Platts reported previously.
** France’s Donges refinery is undergoing major maintenance during which it is also building a new desulfurization unit, it said Dec. 2. The new unit will be commissioned in Q2 2023, according to local media reports. The new diesel hydrotreater is part of the refinery’s modernization, whose progress was dependent on building a railroad track bypassing the Donges plant. The bypass will be ready in 2022. Kinetics Technology said it had been awarded the contract for building the 40,000 b/d hydrotreater.
** Azerbaijan’s state oil company Socar is looking at expanding the capacity of its 212,000 b/d Star refinery in Turkey. Socar could expand Star’s capacity to 13 million mt/year (261,000 b/d) by means of “flexibilities” in the design of the refinery.
** PKN Orlen has signed an EPC contract with UK-based Petrofac Ltd. to build a bottom of the barrel unit at its Mazeikiu refinery in Lithuania. The unit is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and would allow an increase in the production of high-margin products from 73% to 86% of the total.
** A lubricant unit at the Ilboc plant alongside South Korean partner SKSol is nearing completion after it started the final phase of construction in the summer, Repsol said. The lubricants plant, near the Cartagena refinery, will see capacity increase 50% to 1 million mt/year when work is concluded.
** Poland’s Grupa Lotos in September 2021 has signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract with Italy’s Kinetics Technology for a hydrocracked base oil (HBO) project. The project includes the construction of a hydrocracking unit based on catalytic dewaxing and hydrotreating processes under license from Chevron Lummus Global, along with feedstock and product tanks, interconnecting pipelines and a power supply station. Existing facilities will also be upgraded in the project, which is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2025. The company continues work to replace the furnaces to improve the efficiency of the hydrogen sulfide combustion unit, which is due to be completed in early 2023.
** Orlen Unipetrol will expand the steam cracker at its Litvinov refinery to boost petrochemical production. The company said a new steam cracker furnace will be built by Technip Energies and be commissioned in 2022. The steam cracker was commissioned in 1979 and comprises 10 cracking furnaces. It has production capacity of 545,000 mt/year of ethylene. The construction of an eleventh furnace will boost that capacity to 585,000 mt/year. PKN Orlen has completed the Czech Crown 9.6 billion ($410 million) polyethylene 3 unit investment at Litvinov. The refinery’s owner, Unipetrol, a 100%-owned PKN subsidiary, has now taken charge of the black polyethylene unit, the second part of the investment. The first part, the natural polyethylene unit, was completed in April 2020. The polyethylene 3 unit, which can produce 270,000 mt/year of high density polyethylene, will replace production of one of the two existing production units with a capacity of 120,000 mt/year. Litvinov’s polyethylene capacity will increase from 320,000 mt/year to 470,000 mt/year. PKN Orlen was launching construction of a unit at Litvinov to produce up to 26,000 mt/year of dicyclopentadiene, or DCPC, used in the automotive, construction and electronic industries. The unit is planned to be completed in the second half of 2022.
Separately, McDermott International has been awarded a contract for engineering, procurement and construction management services for an upgrade of the hydrocracker at the Litvinov refinery.
** Poland’s PKN Orlen had bought a license and base design from US engineering company KBR for a potential bottom-of-the-barrel project. If PKN takes a final investment decision, it will construct a production complex using solvent de-asphalting and fluid catalytic cracking technologies. Separately, PKN Orlen laid the foundation stone in 2020 to build a visbreaking unit at its Plock refinery. The unit is being built by a consortium of KTI Poland and IDS-BEU under a turnkey contract. It will be completed by the end of 2022. The unit will have a capacity to produce 200,000 mt/year of diesel. Ongoing modernization of the hydrocracking and diesel hydrodesulfurization units at Plock will also increase the refinery’s diesel production capacity. PKN Orlen has purchased a license and basic design for the modernization of a hydrodesulfurization (HOG) unit. PKN signed a contract to buy the license from Axens.
The HOG unit at Plock was launched in 1999.
PKN Orlen has also signed an EPC contract for the construction of an olefins complex expansion at its Plock refinery. The Olefins III complex will be built by a consortium of Hyundai Engineering Co., and Tecnicas Reunidas. Construction work on the complex is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2024, to enable commissioning at the start of 2025.
** Turkish construction group Tekfen Insaat said that together with partner HMB Hallesche Mitteldeutsche Bau AG it had signed an EPC contract with Turkey’s main refiner Tupras for the construction of a new sulfur recovery unit at the Kirikkale refinery. Tekfen said the project would take 36 months to complete. It did not say when work was expected to start. Tupras’ upgrade plans for its four refineries include new sulfur units at its three main refineries, Izmit, Izmir and Kirikkale. Tupras is also carrying out a revamp of the FCC unit at Izmit, which will include the installation of flue gas treatment and energy back recovery systems.
** OMV Petrom said that it will invest approximately Eur70 million ($83.38 million) at its Petrobrazi refinery in Romania to replace the four coke drums. The process of replacing the coke drums will take place between 2021 and 2023.
** Austria’s OMV is planning an upgrade during a turnaround at its Burghausen refinery in Germany in the third quarter of 2022. “We are expanding and modernizing the steam cracker in Burghausen, Germany, which will increase the capacities for ethylene and propylene production. Essential integration works for this project will take place during the turnaround,” a source at the company said. The expansion is expected to facilitate increased annual ethylene and propylene production by around 50,000 mt/year.
** Portugal’s Galp will build a desulfurization unit at the Sines refinery which could process 20,000 b/d. The new project will allow the company to widen its crude slate. Galp did not provide a date for the project as it presented its 2021-25 strategic plan.
** Greece’s Hellenic Petroleum said in 2021 that at Thessaloniki, a Eur35 million has been approved for a capacity increase of the PP production unit to 300,000 mt/year, with implementation targeted in the next two-and-a-half years.
** The Kazakh-Romanian Energy Investment Fund, or FIEKR, has started the construction of the cogeneration plant at Romania’s Petromidia refinery. The plant is expected to be commissioned by the end of July 2023. The Investment Fund signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for Turkey’s Calik Enerji to build the cogeneration plant. The new combined electricity and heat production plant will use natural gas as the main fuel. It will have a capacity of 80 MW, of which 60-70 MW will fully cover the Petromidia plant’s electricity needs with up to 20 MW used to heat water for the town of Navodari’s heating system. In 2020, two other projects were approved aimed at the modernization of the Petromidia refinery. They consist of building a diesel dewaxing unit which will allow the refinery to improve the production of winter diesel and increase the production of special aviation fuel. In addition, the refinery is working on increasing by more than 30% its polymer production by converting the high density polyethylene, or HDPE, installation into a polypropylene, PP, installation.
** Greece’s Motor Oil Hellas said that its Corinth refinery continues with the construction of the naphtha treatment complex, which is expected to be completed by the end of Q1 2022. Construction started in 2020.
** Bosnia’s Brod refinery has launched a solar power station. The refinery suspended its operations in 2019 for an upgrade and to prepare for the use of natural gas. It remains offline. A pipeline is being built to supply the refinery with natural gas to fuel its internal processes. The gas will replace fuel oil as a power source for the refinery processes.
** Serbia’s Pancevo refinery expects to complete its FCC project by 2023. The refinery also plans to build a unit for the production of the octane enhancement chemical ETBE by 2024.
** Cepsa’s San Roque has received a favorable environmental impact assessment for its Eur1 billion “bottom of the barrel” project, which includes the construction of a new hydrocracker and the idling of the visbreaking unit, among other work. The project has been delayed due to local objections which caused earthworks at the site to be halted in 2019 and then further delayed by pandemic-related measures in the country and other legal challenges. The project entails the construction of a new LC Fining hydrocracking unit which will provide 36,700 b/d of LC Fining technology and 27,600 b/d of isotreating, as well as a sulfur unit and new hydrogen unit. The production of diesel should increase to 55% from 40% once the project is concluded. No date has been announced for the start of the work, which was initially due to begin in 2019 and conclude in 2022. Separately, Cepsa will revamp Isomax, fluid catalytic cracker, alkylation units at San Roque and will construct a methylene unit (Sorbex II).
** Bulgaria’s Burgas refinery has awarded a contract to US Lummus Technology for a 280,000 mt/year polypropylene plant. The contract includes a technology license as well as as basic design engineering, training and services, and catalyst supply.
** ExxonMobil said it has “made a final investment decision to expand” the Fawley refinery in the UK to increase production of ULSD by 45%, or 38,000 b/d. The more than $1 billion investment includes a hydrotreater to remove sulfur from diesel, supported by a hydrogen plant. Start-up was expected in 2021.
** Russian Lukoil plans to invest in its ISAB refinery in southern Italy. Lukoil will invest $60 million in upgrades, including two hydrodesulfurization units.
** Cepsa said it will carry out upgrades to its aromax and hydrocracker units at Huelva. It is also carrying out an aromatics optimization project at the refinery.
** Israel’s Haifa District Court has rejected an appeal by Haifa municipality along with six other neighboring communities and environmental groups against the proposed expansion of the Bazan refinery.
Biofuel, hydrogen upgrades
New and revised entries
** PKN has reached a financing agreement with its small biofuels refinery in Jedlicze, southern Poland, to go ahead with the B2G bioethanol generation project. It will have a capacity to produce 25,000 mt/year of bioethanol from biomass, which will be mainly cereals straw sourced from Polish farmers. The bioethanol complex will also include a biomass-fired combined heat and power plant that will generate heat for the bioethanol production. Jedlicze is a small former petroleum refinery, that together with the Trzebinia refinery, was incorporated into Orlen Poludnie, the company’s biofuels subsidiary.
** Russia’s Lukoil said Dec. 2021 that it has signed memorandum of intent with Rusatom Overseas, part of the Rosatom Group, to cooperate in the production and supply of green hydrogen for the company’s Petrotel refinery in Ploesti, Romania. The two companies will evaluate the prospects for the refinery’s “switching to one of the most environmentally-friendly technology of hydrogen production, which enables refineries to greatly reduce their carbon footprint.”
** Varo Energy’s Cressier refinery in Switzerland will use solar panel generated electricity by 19,000 photovoltaic panels for a “significant portion” of the electricity it consumes. Varo Energy Group and Groupe E will build the “most powerful ground-mounted solar facility in Switzerland” with an installed capacity of 7.7 MW, the companies said in a statement. It will be built in the industrial zone east of the refinery. The energy produced from November 2022 onwards will be primarily consumed on site by the refinery.
At full power the park will be able to supply more than 60% of the refinery’s needs.
** UK’s Humber will provide “a number of” British Airways flights with sustainable aviation fuel from early 2022. British Airways and Phillips 66 signed a multi-year supply agreement which will provide the airline with SAF produced at the Humber refinery, according to a joint statement.
“The SAF will be produced from sustainable waste feedstock at the Humber Refinery, which will deliver its SAF supply to British Airways via existing pipeline infrastructure that feeds directly into UK airports,” the statement said.
Phillips 66 said it secured more than GBP500,000 to switch industrial fired heaters from gas to low carbon hydrogen at its Humber refinery. The company is working with the UK’s Gigastack consortium on a project that involves the use of renewable hydrogen at Humber to reduce the carbon content of fuels produced there. Separately, Phillips 66 said its UK refinery was moving to produce 5,000 b/d renewable diesel by 2024 after expanding capacity to 3,000 b/d from 1,000 b/d. Humber produced 1,000 b/d of renewable diesel in 2020, after starting production in 2019.
** Austrian Airlines will use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from OMV’s Schwechat refinery. SAF will be available for fueling the airline from March 2022 via a direct pipeline connection to the Vienna international airport.
The two companies had agreed on producing and fueling 1,500 mt of SAF in 2022.
SAF is produced at Schwechat by coprocessing Austrian used cooking oil which makes the production chain “as regional as possible and keeps transport routes to a minimum,” the statement said.
Austria’s OMV previously said it planned to build a pilot plant at its Schwechat refinery for the production of second-generation biofuels. The plant, which is to start production from 2023, involves “advanced biofuels that are not in competition with foodstuffs,” the company said. Germany’s Chemieanlagenbau Chemnitz, or CAC, said it has been contracted by OMV to build its biofuel plant.
Separately, OMV will build the country’s largest electrolysis plant at the Schwechat refinery through a joint investment with Kommunalkredit Austria AG. The plant is expected to start in the second half of 2023. The 10 MW polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysis will produce up to 1,500 mt/year of green hydrogen.
** ExxonMobil, Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, and SGN are studying the potential for a low-carbon hydrogen hub centered around ExxonMobil’s Fawley refinery on the UK’s south coast. Initial hydrogen production could be around 4.3 TWh/year from 2030. Hydrogen demand in the Southampton industrial cluster around the refinery could reach 37 TWh by 2050. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the use of low-carbon hydrogen with carbon capture technology for the Southampton industrial cluster.
** Turkey’s Tupras plans to focus investments on improving the sustainability of its existing refining operations, developing new biofuel refining capacity, developing zero-carbon electricity sources, and developing production of green hydrogen. Regarding biofuels, Tupras said it planned to invest $230 million by 2026 to convert an unspecified unit at Izmir to produce up to 400,000 mt/year of biofuels from second generation bio-feedstocks. The company said it was aiming for the unit to be operational by 2026, and by 2035 for 75% of its output to be SAF.
** Neste and its partners in the MultiPLHY consortium are entering the construction stage for a 2.4-MW high-temperature electrolyzer system to produce hydrogen at the Finnish company’s renewable products refinery in Rotterdam. Construction is expected to start in January 2022 and mechanical completion is expected by mid 2022. The start-up is expected to take place in H2 2022. The Rotterdam facility has an annual capacity of more than 1.3 million mt of renewable products.
Neste has previously said it will also modify its existing biorefinery in Rotterdam so it can significantly boost production of SAF. The project is estimated to be completed in the second half of 2023. This is also part of Neste’s target to be able to produce 1.5 million mt of SAF by the end of 2023.
Neste said its Singapore renewables capacity expansion investment project was currently on schedule for start-up by the end of the first quarter of 2023. It would increase the refiner’s renewable product capacity by 1.3 million mt/year and bring its total production capacity to 4.5 million mt/year. The new production line will also include the option to produce up to 1 million mt/year of its SAF.
The project for a possible next worldscale renewables refinery in Rotterdam was in the engineering phase and its scope was similar to the new Singapore unit.
** Italy’s Saras is currently working on activating a green hydrogen plant for a total of 20 MW.
Saras is building the green hydrogen plant with Italian utility Enel. The hydrogen produced would be used at the Sarroch refinery. It is currently provided by the IGCC complex and two reforming units on the industrial site.
** Poland’s PKN Orlen is constructing a hydrogen plant at its Poludnie biorefinery in Trzebinia.
Annual production will be 16 million cu m and three-quarters of that amount will be used to produce glycol. The remainder will be used to produce 45 kg/h of fuel-grade hydrogen for use in transport.
** Gunvor has agreed to partner with petrochemical group Dow to purify pyrolysis oil feedstocks derived from plastic waste, using an existing unit at its refinery site in Rotterdam. The venture will purify pyrolysis oil feedstocks derived from plastic waste that are of sufficient quality to produce new polymers. Under the deal, Gunvor will supply cracker-ready feedstock to Dow in Europe from December 2021, which will be used to produce circular plastics for customers. Gunvor’s Rotterdam refinery has shuttered its two crude processing units, one in 2019 and the other in 2020, and is developing new processes.
Gunvor is studying the potential installation of an HVO unit at the Rotterdam facility.
** Repsol has produced its first batch of biodiesel by processing 500 mt of used cooking oil at its Coruna refinery. The A Coruna industrial complex is carrying out an industrial transformation to become a multi-energy hub for low carbon products, Repsol said, such as the use of bioethanol into bio-gasoline and the production of renewable hydrogen from biogas, which will require the modification of some units.
** Italian energy company Eni has started producing sustainable aviation fuel at its Taranto refinery in southern Italy, as part of its commitment to decarbonize all its products and processes by 2050. Eni plans to double its current bio-refining capacity of 1.1 million mt/year within the next four years and increase it to 5 million-6 million mt/year by 2050. Eni is targeting its SAF, or biojet, capacity reaching at least 500,000 mt/year by 2030. Eni said its SAF production will continue to grow in early 2022, with the start-up of over 10,000 mt/year of SAF from its Livorno refinery using bio-components produced in Eni’s existing Gela and Venice bio-refineries. In 2024, Eni plans to launch SAF production at the Gela biorefinery, where a project is underway for a further 150,000 mt/year of SAF from 100% renewable raw materials by 2025.
** The Refhyne II consortium developing a 100-MW electrolyzer to produce renewable hydrogen for Shell’s Rheinland refinery in Germany at its Wesseling site has received a Eur32.4 million ($37.4 million) grant from the EU. The project follows on from the 10-MW Refhyne I at the refinery, Europe’s largest proton exchange membrane electrolyzer, which started operations in July 2021, producing up to 1,300 mt/year of renewable hydrogen. The five electrolyzer modules, with a total 10 MW of capacity, have been installed at the Wesseling site. The refinery consists of the Wesseling (south) and Godorf (north) sites. Shell plans to end crude processing at the Wesseling site in 2025. A final investment decision on Refhyne II is expected in late 2022, with delivery scheduled for 2024. Separately, Shell is planning to produce sustainable and synthetic aviation fuel using renewable power and biogenic sources.
** Essar Oil UK, owner of Stanlow refinery in Northwest England, has submitted planning application to the regional authorities for the construction of hydrogen production plants at its Stanlow Manufacturing Complex. Construction of the two blue hydrogen production plants is scheduled to begin by the end of 2022 with hydrogen production expected to commence by the mid 2020’s. The capacity of the first processing plant will be 350 MW of high purity low carbon hydrogen. The second plant will have 700 MW capacity. Follow on capacity growth is planned. “The proposed hydrogen plants will form a central pillar of the landmark ‘HyNet North West’ initiative,” the company said in a statement. Separately, Essar Oil UK together with Fulcrum BioEnergy Ltd. will build a new facility to convert non-recyclable household waste into sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF, to be used by airlines operating at UK airports.
The facility will be operational in late 2025.
** Spain’s Repsol could use the maintenance of its Cartagena refinery to start construction of a second-generation biofuel plant at the nearby Escombreras facility, depending on whether it receives the appropriate planning permission. The new unit, costing Eur188 million will produce 250,000 mt/y of biodiesel from waste from 2023.
** Ineos plans to produce and use low-carbon hydrogen at its Grangemouth refinery and petrochemical plant in Scotland, in combination with the Acorn carbon capture and storage facility, as it seeks to reduce its CO2 emissions.
The company plans to “move to the production and use of hydrogen by all businesses at the Grangemouth site” by 2030, along with CCS of at least 1 million mt/year, Ineos said in a statement.
** Spain’s Repsol has produced its first hydrogen from biomethane, for use in the production of gasoline, diesel and kerosene. The company produced 10 mt of hydrogen from 500 MWh of biomethane at its Cartagena industrial complex, avoiding the emissions of 90 mt of CO2. The biomethane was sourced from urban solid waste, replacing natural gas in the process.
** Polish refiner PKN Orlen had approved a Zloty 600 million ($151.5 million) investment to build a HVO unit to produce biofuels at its Plock refinery. The unit will process used rapeseed oil to produce an additive to diesel or aviation fuel. The annual production of the unit will be 300,000 mt of biodiesel or aviation biofuel. The start of production is scheduled for mid-2024, PKN said.
** Shell plans to build an 820,000 mt/year biofuel plant in Rotterdam at the site of Europe’s biggest refinery, Pernis, to produce sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel from waste. The plan was announced in July 2021 but there was no final investment decision at the time. The plant is expected to start production in 2024 and will produce low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel from used cooking oil, waste animal fat, and other industrial and agricultural residual products, using technology developed by Shell, the company said. It said the facility will not use virgin palm oil as a feedstock but will process vegetable oils such as rapeseed to supplement the waste feedstocks “until even more sustainable advanced feedstocks are widely available.”
** Honeywell said that a trial to co-process biomass-based pyrolysis oil in the Lysekil FCC has been completed producing partially renewable transportation fuel. The refinery used UOP’s proprietary bioliquid feed system. Preem announced carrying out the first tests at Lysekil to produce renewable gasoline from sawdust as it has started to process pyrolysis oil at the FCC. The tests consist of two parts: an initial batch of 300 mt of pyrolysis oil, followed by a longer test operation that will process up to 50,000 mt of pyrolysis oil for two years. Pyrolysis oil produced from sustainable solid biomass materials such as sawdust or agricultural residuals is a low carbon feedstock suitable for refinery upgrading, Honeywell said. Separately, a study by Preem and state-owned utility Vattenfall has shown “very good conditions” for an electrolysis plant at the Lysekil refinery which will produce hydrogen for biofuels. The companies are studying a 50 MW electrolysis plant “with the ambition of taking the next step in the spring of 2022.” The timing of the start-up depends among other things on an environmental assessment. Preem aims to ramp up biofuels production to approximately 5 million cubic meters/year by 2030, which “requires a large-scale supply of hydrogen, where the expansion of one or more electrolyzers can play an important role.” In October 2020, Preem had started a conversion of Lysekil that will make it the biggest producer of renewable fuels in Scandinavia. The company had abandoned an upgrade of the conventional oil refinery. Preem plans to carry out a redevelopment of the existing Synsat plant, which currently produces environmental Class 1 diesel. When the conversion is complete, the plant will have the capacity to process up to 40% of its renewable raw materials, with the ambition to reach higher levels in the long term.
** Spain’s Repsol plans to start a 2.5 MW electrolyzer to produce hydrogen at its Petronor refinery in the second half of 2022. The capacity is slightly higher than the 2 MW previously announced. The hydrogen produced will feed Petronor’s Bilbao refinery, and also supply the nearby Margen Izquierda Technology Park, in the municipality of Abanto-Zierbena. Repsol is also planning to build a plant at Bilbao to produce net-zero emission synthetic fuel based on green hydrogen generated with renewable energy. The first phase, costing Eur60 million ($71 million), could be ready by 2024 and should produce 50 b/d of synthetic fuel, which can then be scaled up. A second phase, costing Eur20 million, will involve the building of a plant to generate gas to feed the refinery from urban waste.
** BP plans to install a hydrogen unit at Spain’s Castellon for a 2023 start-up, in conjunction with Spain’s Iberdrola and Enagas.
** Spain’s Tarragona has started on a series of energy transition projects, including the manufacture of biofuel for aviation and an advanced biofuels plant, which is already under construction.
Repsol has also joined a project to transform urban waste to methanol, which should start up in 2025 with an investment of Eur250 million alongside partners Enerkem and Agbar.
** TotalEnergies has launched a research project with French waste and water utility Veolia to accelerate the development of advanced biofuels made from microalgae fed by CO2, the companies said.
Under the agreement, the companies will set up a four-year research and testing project to grow microalgae at TotalEnergies La Mede biorefinery in southern France, with the long-term goal of producing biofuel. Separately, TotalEnergies will stop using palm oil at La Mede from 2023, according to local media report at La Provence paper. The biorefinery has already significantly reduced the amount of palm oil it processes from 500,000 mt/year initially to 100,000 mt in 2021.
** Italy’s Eni said it will build new units at its Porto Marghera biorefinery in Venice which will allow it to “eliminate the use of palm oil in its production of biofuels.” From 2023 Eni will no longer use palm oil in its production processes. The refinery has submitted documentation for an environmental impact assessment for the new units which will allow the treatment of crude vegetable oils, used plant-based cooking oils and used animal fats. Eni is planning further upgrade work on its existing Gela biorefinery on the island of Sicily to boost output of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as the EU targets the jet fuel alternative to help achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Eni is now planning to convert part of the Gela plant to produce 150,000 mt/year of SAF before 2024.
** Germany’s Heide refinery aims to scale its 30 MW electrolyzer project to 300 MW by the end of 2025. The 30 MW pilot project is part of the Westkueste 100 consortium with Orsted, while the 300 MW expansion project is part of the HyScale 100 project. A final investment decision of the 30 MW pilot should to be taken this year with a view to a 2023 start date. Output from the electrolyzers will replace conventional hydrogen generated on-site. Using hydrogen blended with CO2 to make methanol, the Klesch-owned refinery aims to be supplying 5% of the jet fuel used at the nearby Hamburg airport as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) by 2024.
** Finland’s Neste said it is working on two projects at its Porvoo refinery aimed at developing it into “renewable hydrogen and CO2 utilization as well as advanced biofuels production from lignocellulosic wastes and residues.” The project for clean hydrogen and recovery of carbon aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by introducing carbon capture and storage at Porvoo as well as “electrolysis solutions that allow decarbonization of production at the refinery.” The lignocellulosics project aims to convert “forestry-based waste and residue raw materials into advanced biofuels” at the Porvoo refinery. Neste also said that as part of its aim for 100% renewable electricity globally by 2023 it will increase the use of renewable electricity at its Porvoo refinery. Approximately 40% of the electricity used at the refinery will be renewable wind power in 2025.
** Croatia’s INA is looking at potentially developing its Sisak plant into a biorefinery. “The biorefinery is one of the sustainable alternatives planned for the Sisak industrial site,” it said in a statement, adding that the plant could produce second-generation biofuels. The company had previously said it was looking at various options for the conversion of Sisak, including a bitumen production site and logistic hub.
** Portugal’s Galp said that the Sines industrial site around the refinery will undergo a gradual transformation into a green energy hub which Galp expects to be leveraged on the access to green hydrogen, which will allow further industrial applications, such as synthetic fuel, and support a significant emissions reduction by 2030. The upgrade could entail a 270,000 mt/year HVO production site, on which Galp has to take a final investment decision.
** Green hydrogen company Everfuel is planning a 300 MW electrolyzer project adjacent to the 70,000 b/d Fredericia refinery in Denmark to supply renewable gas to the plant and for local zero-emission transport by 2025. The HySynergy Phase II plant will send 80% of the hydrogen produced to the refinery for use as a feedstock in the refining process. The remaining 20% will go to hydrogen mobility applications. The commissioning of the plant is expected in late 2024. Shell sold the Fredericia refinery to private investment company Postlane Partners in early 2021. Postlane’s development plans for the refinery include co-processing renewable feedstocks and will focus on green hydrogen, and the potential for advanced biofuels.
** In Q1 2021, Polish refiner Grupa Lotos launched its Pure H2 project, which includes the construction of a hydrogen purification unit and a system for supplying hydrogen to vehicles that haul compressed hydrogen. The project is scheduled to be completed in Q4 2023. Lotos plans to build a pilot 100 MW electrolysis installation and 20 MW power generation unit by 2025. The first stage of the investment will be a pilot project in 2020-2025 including a 100 MW electrolysis installation, a 20 MW power generation unit, hydrogen storage and fuel cells. The company said its location in Gdansk on the Baltic Sea coastline was favorable for cooperation with planned offshore wind farms for the production of renewable hydrogen. In the second stage between 2025-2030, Lotos would look to expand the capacity of the electrolysis installation to 1 GW, and the associated gas-fired generation unit to 200 MW. Storage capacity would be increased to 2,500 mt of hydrogen. In a third stage to 2040, Lotos aimed to become the regional leader in the production and distribution of green hydrogen with plans to supply the gas to refineries and power generation plants, as well as injecting hydrogen into the gas grid. The electrolysis installation would be expanded to 4 GW with a 1 GW gas-fired generation unit, it said.
** TotalEnergies plans to produce SAF from its “zero-crude” Grandpuits platform from 2024. The plant will focus also on production of bioplastics, plastics recycling and the operation of two photovoltaic solar power plants. Crude oil refining has been discontinued in 2021 and storage of oil products will end in late 2023.
** TotalEnergies’ Antwerp refinery is interested in adding coprocessing biofuel units to the refinery. The company said it was considering adding units to its existing refinery. There is currently no timeline for making a decision about the project. De Standard newspaper cited Jacques Beuckelaers, CEO of Total Antwerp, as saying the units would have capacity of 150,000 mt/year and would process cooking oil and animal fats.
** Hungary’s MOL has started biodiesel production at the Danube refinery using coprocessing technology, with plans to produce more than 100,000 mt by 2030.
** Eni is evaluating conversion of its Livorno refinery in northwest Italy into a bio-refinery. Eni has already converted two of its Italian refineries and aims to double its bio-refining capacity to around 2 million mt/year by 2024, increasing this capacity at least five times by 2050.
** Germany’s MiRo refinery in Karlsruhe is considering launching production of synthetic fuels, pending approval by the local government. The state of Baden-Wuerttemberg plans a large renewable fuels pilot project at the MiRo refinery.
** French oil company TotalEnergies and utility Engie have signed a cooperation agreement to design, develop, build and operate France’s largest renewable hydrogen production site near Total’s La Mede biorefinery. The Masshylia project at Martigues, west of Marseilles, will be powered by a 100 MW solar farm with a 40 MW electrolyzer set to produce 5 mt/day of green hydrogen to meet the needs of the biofuel production process at Total’s nearby biorefinery. Construction will start in 2022 following the completion of the advanced engineering study. Production could start in 2024, subject to financial support and public authorizations.
** Repsol has increased its 2025 and 2030 targets for sustainable biofuel production, targeting 1.3 million mt/year of sustainable biofuel production by 2025 and more than 2 million mt/year by 2030. Of the new production total, up to 250,000 mt/year will be from an advanced biofuels plant at its Cartagena refinery in Spain; up to 130,000 mt/year will be methanol supplied from its new waste pyrolosis plant in Bilbao, and up to 300,000 mt/year will come from debottlenecking activity at all five refineries, in their hydrodesulfurization and hydrotreatment units to produce HVO.
** Orsted and BP are to jointly develop a 50 MW renewable hydrogen project at BP’s Lingen refinery.
The project, expected to be operational in 2024, would comprise a 50 MW electrolyzer capable of generating 9,000 mt/year of hydrogen, 20% of the refinery’s current fossil-based hydrogen consumption.
The electrolyzer is expected to be powered by an Orsted North Sea offshore wind farm. The partners have a longer-term ambition to build more than 500 MW of renewable hydrogen capacity at Lingen, providing renewable hydrogen to meet all the refinery’s hydrogen demand and provide feedstock for future synthetic fuel production.
** A new greenfield Porto Romano refinery in Albania will be predominantly oriented to export markets but will also be able to cover Albania’s domestic demand, Helmut Mayrhofer, Consultant at Larkalis told a Platts European refining virtual conference. Austria-based consultancy Larkalis is leading an international consortium currently working on the project, which will involve building the refinery in the port town of Durres. The refinery has a two-year construction authorization and could be commissioned by the end of 2025 dependent upon current international developments.
** Turkey’s Ersan Petrol plans to start construction of its 1.4 million mt/year Nazli refinery at Kahramanmaras in southeast Turkey in mid-2020, with the plant expected to begin operations in less than four years, company owner Ecvet Sayer said.
** Azerbaijani state oil company Socar is considering the development of a second refinery in Turkey, in addition to its existing 214,000 b/d Star refinery at Aliaga on Turkey’s central Aegean coast.