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Rotterdam Waste-to-Chemicals consortium mull Waste-to-Jet instead

The consortium partners behind to proposed Rotterdam waste-to-chemicals (W2C) project in the Netherlands have decided to repurpose the project to waste-to-jet and expect to submit a revised project permit application by the end of 2021. The decision is based on substantial targets and demand for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), expected support for recycled carbon fuels, and a full scope ‘in-house’ technical solution to be provided by Enerkem and Shell.

The consortium partners behind the proposed Rotterdam waste-to-chemicals (W2C) project in the Netherlands have decided to repurpose the project to waste-to-jet instead to cater to the anticipated demand for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The partners expect to submit a revised project permit application by the end of 2021 (image courtesy Enerkem).

As travel picks up in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the hard-to-decarbonize aviation sector is anticipated to return to producing its share of about 3 percent of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Increasing the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is fundamental to reducing the aviation industry’s lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80 percent compared to conventional fuel, as highlighted in the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) “Clean Skies for Tomorrow Sustainable Aviation Fuels as a Pathway to Net-Zero Aviation” report.

As new policy measures and ambitious carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets are being introduced, demand for SAF is expected to increase substantially in the Netherlands and the other EU Member States.

New production pathways are therefore crucial to increase the supply of SAF; there are multiple technologies at various stages of maturity, and it is critical that we progress as many as possible as quickly as possible to meet growing demand. With favourable support under Renewable Transport fuels regulations expected, the production of SAF from low-grade, post-recycling mixed waste has become an option, said a joint statement on June 8, 2021.

Repurpose to SAF

In light of the above – and given the capacity for Enerkem Inc, together with Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), to provide an end-to-end technical solution for converting hard-to-recycle waste into jet fuel by combining Enerkem’s waste gasification technology and Shell’s Fischer-Tropsch (FT) technology – the partners in the Rotterdam Waste-to-Chemicals (W2C) project – Enerkem, Shell, and the Port of Rotterdam – have decided to repurpose the current project to focus on SAF production.

The project would process up to 360 000 tonnes per annum of recycling rejects and produce up to 80 000 tonnes of renewable products, of which around 75 percent could be SAF and the remainder used for road fuels or to feed circular chemicals production.

The combination of Enerkem’s technology with Shell’s FT technology is an “exciting and promising” pathway – Enerkem’s platform creates ultra-clean syngas from waste while Shell’s FT technology can upgrade this syngas to SAF.

The Port of Rotterdam will also continue to be a partner as the realization of this kind of large-scale circular facility is an essential part of the Port Authority’s strategy. Air Liquide expressed to the Waste-to-Jet participants it is willing to participate in the project as a supplier of industrial gases.

Development of the revised project is underway and the partners are looking to submit a permit application for the revised project by the end of 2021. If the final investment decision has been taken, construction of the project could take approximately three years with production starting in 2025 or 2026.

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