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Synthetic Fuels

Aramco-Repsol select HyCOgen and FT CANS tech for synfuel project

Aramco-Repsol select HyCOgen and FT CANS tech for synfuel project
The Petróleos del Norte (Petronor) refinery, located in Múskiz, near Bilbao northern Spain has a refining capacity of 220 000 barrels per day (photo courtesy Petronor).

UK-headed Johnson Matthey plc, a global leader in sustainable technologies, and compatriot global energy major bp plc have announced that their co-developed Fischer Tropsch (FT) CANS technology and Johnson Matthey's innovative reverse water gas shift technology, HyCOgen, have been selected for use by Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) Aramco and Repsol S.A. at a new synthetic fuels plant in Bilbao, Spain.

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The plant will be one of the world’s first to use renewable (green) hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) as its only raw materials.

This agreement supports our ongoing work to develop lower-emission transport solutions and we are thrilled by the opportunity it represents, said Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, Chief Technology Officer at Aramco.

It is due to be commissioned in 2024, with a starting capacity of more than 2 100 tonnes per year.

It will produce a sustainable synthetic drop-in fuel that can be blended for existing road vehicle engines, aircraft, and ships.

The development of Bilbao synthetic fuel, where sustainable synthetic fuel shall be produced, represents an important step in our commitment to being a Net Zero Emission company by 2050, aligned with the climate objectives set out in Paris by COP21, said Adriana Orejas, Director of Industrial Transformation and Deep Tech at Repsol.

Converting CO2 into synthetic, lower-carbon fuels can meaningfully contribute to the reduction of transport emissions and, through this strategic partnership, we aim to harness innovative technologies that can unlock the full potential of both sustainable fuels and chemicals — and demonstrate their competitiveness, Ahmad Al-Khowaiter said.

Second FT CANS license

It is the second license signed for the FT CANS technology, which was jointly developed with bp to deliver significant environmental and operational benefits.

The technology converts synthesis gas (syngas), generated from sources such as industrial emissions, direct air capture (DAC), municipal solid waste (MSW), or other renewable biomass, into long-chain hydrocarbons suitable for the production of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).

Repsol and Aramco choosing to license our co-developed FT CANS technology recognizes great science and engineering. This builds on the first license to Fulcrum Bioenergy, further demonstrating the key role of the technology in the production of sustainable fuels, said Noemie Turner, VP, Technology Development and Commercialization at bp.

First license for HyCOgen

It is the first license signed for Johnson Matthey’s recently launched HyCOgen technology, which uses a catalyzed process to convert CO2 and green hydrogen into carbon monoxide (CO), which is then combined with additional hydrogen to form syngas.

Coupling HyCOgen and FT CANS technologies provide an end-to-end, scalable process optimized for high conversion efficiency — enabling the production of premium quality synthetic crude oil.

Coupling Johnson Matthey, a reliable and demonstrated global leader technologist, HyCOgen and FT CANS Technology allows us to demonstrate the whole value chain of producing sustainable fuel from CO2 and renewable hydrogen as unique raw materials, complementing Repsol’s portfolio of Low carbon fuels alternatives, Adriana Orejas said.

The scalability of the combined HyCOgen and FT CANS solutions enables cost-effective deployment across a wide range of project sizes. Either technology can also be licensed independently.

In licensing both the HyCOgen and FT CANS technologies for their Bilbao plant, Repsol and Aramco have recognized the potential of this pioneering solution — and shown that we’re a trusted partner in sustainable fuel production technology, ended Jane Toogood, Sector Chief Executive at Johnson Matthey.

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