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ECB Group selects Honeywell UOP Ecofining for Omega Green biorefinery

US-headed Honeywell UOP has confirmed that Brazil-based ECB Group will use the UOP Ecofining process to convert vegetable oils and inedible animal fats into renewable diesel and jet fuel at the Omega Green biorefinery in Villeta, near the capital Asunción, Paraguay. This marks the first advanced biofuels project in Paraguay, as well as the largest private investment in the country’s history.

An aerial rendering of ECB Group Paraguay Omega Green biorefinery in Villeta. Honeywell UOP has confirmed that it will supply its Ecofining process technology for the project, the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere (image courtesy ECB Group).

As announced by ECB Group in February 2019, Honeywell UOP, a leading international supplier and licensor of process technology, catalysts, adsorbents, equipment, and consulting services to the petroleum refining, petrochemical, and gas processing industries, was selected to provide technology and engineering services for the project, which will produce fuels that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including renewable diesel (HVO) and aviation jet fuel.

Honeywell UOP has designed the Omega Green project to minimize fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the site by using the renewable LPG and naphtha produced in the UOP Ecofining unit to self-sustain the process in energy and hydrogen.

In partnership with Wood, a global consulting and engineering company, Honeywell UOP will integrate Wood’s hydrogen plant technology with the Ecofining unit design to produce hydrogen from renewable feedstocks.

This will further reduce the overall carbon intensity of the “Honeywell Green Diesel” and “Honeywell Green Jet Fuel”.

As demand for diesel and jet fuel continues to grow globally, it is a major milestone to have the first biorefinery in South America which can help meet this demand with renewable domestic resources. Our renewable fuels technologies are a proven solution to that, helping Paraguay become a leading supplier of biofuels, said Jose Fernandes, VP and General Manager, Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies Latin America.

Feedstock and fuel offtakes secured

When it enters operation, the estimated US$800 million Omega Green biorefinery will produce up to 20 000 barrels per day of renewable diesel and jet fuel. ECB Group has already secured significant multi-year renewable fuel offtake agreements with bp and Shell.

The biorefinery complex is expected to create more than 3 000 jobs during construction and 2 400 direct and indirect jobs when fully operational. In addition, ECB Group estimates that more than 20 000 family farms will benefit from social certification programs to produce feedstocks for the plant.

To this end, the company recently signed a planting and Pongamia “reforestation oil” offtake agreement with Investancia.

The Omega Green project will have the latest and most advanced technology for the industrial process of renewable diesel and the aero renewable kerosene, in addition to green naphtha. The success of this initiative in Paraguay is based on strong collaborations like the one we have with Honeywell. said Erasmo Carlos Battistella, ECB Group CEO.

Proven process

The Honeywell UOP Ecofining process, developed in conjunction with Eni SpA, converts non-edible natural oils, animal fats, and other waste feedstocks to “Honeywell Green Diesel” and “Honeywell Green Jet Fuel”, which is chemically identical to petroleum-based counterparts.

Both products offer improved performance over commercial petroleum-based diesel and jet fuel and can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles and aircraft with no equipment modifications.

The UOP Ecofining process is used in most 100 percent biofeed units producing renewable diesel — and all of the licensed renewable jet fuel production — in the world today.

UOP currently has licensed 20 Ecofining units in nine countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks. Earlier this year, the company launched a simplified single-stage process to produce renewable diesel.

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