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Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Axens to provide “Vegan” tech for Chinese SAF project

Axens to provide “Vegan” tech for Chinese SAF project
According to Axens, its "Vegan" technology is a second-generation hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) solution that processes up to 100 percent of any kind of lipid, including wastes from agriculture and the food industry to produce renewable fuels that are able to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 80 percent compared with a conventional jet fuel production scheme (graphic courtesy Axens).

France-headed chemical process technology provider Axens, an IFP Group company, has announced that it has been selected by Shandong Haike Chemical Co. Ltd, a Chinese refining and petrochemical company, to supply its "Vegan" technology to produce low-carbon, cost-competitive sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for a retrofit project in China.

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Founded in 1988, Shandong Haike Chemical Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of the Haike Group, is a large-scale refining and petrochemical company operating in the Shandong Province, supplying fuels and petrochemical products to the domestic market including PetroChina, and Sinopec.

First Vegan delivery to Asia

Haike Chemicals aims to have its first SAF-only unit on stream with high-yield on-spec production within 12 months before rolling out the process to other units to become a competitive world-leading supplier of high-quality SAF.

For Axens, this new contract with Haike Chemicals is the company’s first reference for its Vegan technology in Asia and represents a major opportunity to scale up production of SAF in line with recognized international standards (ASTM D7566) and able to meet growing demand from the European and North American markets.

According to Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the aviation sector will need around 450-500 million tonnes of SAF per year by 2050 to meet future demand and deliver its decarbonization targets. The challenge is to ramp up production rapidly to deliver economies of scale and make SAF production competitive.

SAF will play a key role in the aviation industry as we transition to a low-carbon world, but it requires immediate action to scale up production in cost-competitive quantities and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Our new contract with Haike Chemicals allows us to take our Vegan technology to the next level, paving the way for the industrial development of the latest generation of SAF, not only in China but also in the rest of the world, said Jacques Rault, EVP of Technology and Technical Support at Axens.

Flexible hydrotreatment technology

According to Axens, flexibility is the key advantage of Axens’ Vegan technology in terms of feedstock, product, and implementation.

Based on a two-step process, it can process a wide range of feedstocks such as vegetable oils, animal fats, tall oil, and used cooking oil (UCO) to produce SAF or renewable diesel according to market demand.

The technology can be applied in both standalone and integrated refinery environments. In this way, the retrofit of existing hydrotreatment assets into Vegan units represents a fast-track approach to advance a biorefinery project.

Moreover, the technology enables refiners to lower their CAPEX thanks to the bi-functional catalyst applied during hydroisomerization. Lower energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions also mean lower operating expenses.

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