Honeywell’s UOP tapped by Petrixo for massive Emirates biorefinery

July 9, 2014 |

Diamond_Green_DieselUOP technology will be used for 150 million gallons of capacity; who get’s the other half?

From Illinois, we’re advised UOP announced that its green fuels process technology has been selected by Petrixo Oil & Gas to produce renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel at a new refinery to be built in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

In reporting on the story last March, we noted that “Technologies for the facility [had] already been sourced and preparation studies as well as engineering designs have all been completed.” Now, we know the identity of at least one of the partners.

At the time, Petrixo said it would invest $800 million to build the new refinery, which will have a design capacity of 1 million tons per year of biofuel products including biojet, green diesel, bio-naphtha, bio-LPG, and biodiesel, and would be the first commercial-scale renewable jet fuel production facility outside of North America.

The deal is huge because the capacity is, too. 1 million tons — think roughly 300 million gallons.

In the case of UOP, Petrixo will use UOP Renewable Jet Fuel process technology to process approximately 500,000 metric tons per year of renewable feedstocks into renewable jet fuel and renewable diesel, also known as Honeywell Green Jet Fuel and Honeywell Green Diesel. The process technology is capable of processing a variety of renewable feedstock, and is currently being used by Diamond Green Diesel to produce green diesel at a 133 Mgy commercial-scale facility in Norco, Louisiana — and is used to make green diesel at the Eni refinery in Venice, Italy.

More about Petrixo

Petrixo, based in Dubai, is part of Petrixo Group, which is active in trading crude oil, oil products and petrochemicals, with an interest in downstream energy projects and logistics operations in the Baltic States, the Russian Federation, CIS and the Middle East. The new Fujairah refinery will occupy 460,000 square meters in the Fujairah free zone and the Port of Fujairah.

The burning questions: who’s Next, or perhaps who’s NEx?

There are two questions, really.

One, what are they using for feedstock? What we know is that Honeywell’s UOP serves as a founding member of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), together with Boeing, Etihad Airways, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. SBRC focuses on testing the use of desert plants grown with seawater to support biofuel crop production in arid countries, such as the United Arab Emirates.

Two, who’s the partner for the rest of the production capacity — for example, the bio-naphtha, bio-LNG and biodiesel?

Total? There are two companies we know that have technology to do this. Total, and Neste. Here’s Total’s IP in this area.

Earlier this year, in the Emirates, Boeing, Etihad Airways, Takreer, Total, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology announced a collaboration for sustainable aviation biofuels in the UAE, “BIOjet Abu Dhabi: Flight Path to Sustainability”.

Not to mention that Etihad Airways recently completed a 45-minute demonstration flight in a Boeing 777 powered partially by biofuel converted from plants by Total, and refined into jet fuel by Takreer.

“In collaboration with our key partners, our goal is to support and help drive the commercialization of sustainable aviation fuel in Abu Dhabi, the region and also globally,” said Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan. “We have made some important first steps in this process and our continued focus will be to develop further initiatives such as this which will facilitate the availability of sustainable aviation biofuels for Etihad Airways in the coming years.”
“Takreer is proud to have been involved in refining this aviation biofuel at its Abu Dhabi research center,” said Takreer CEO Jasem Ali Al Sayegh. “We support the concept of using biofuel as a sustainable aviation fuel for a cleaner future in line with ADNOC’s sustainability policy. We see this strategy as complementary to our future plans in meeting the rapid growth in demand for jet fuel in the country and the region in view of the expansion of the operations of airlines here.”

Neste? Neste may well make more sense, in some ways, since its NExBTL technology produces Neste said that its bionaphtha in Finland, the Netherlands and Singapore — and they’ve been looking into bio-propane (bio-LNG). Gasrec (UK) and Aseagas (Philippines) have bio-LNG projects open.

Aseagas? It’s he joint venture company of the Philippines-based Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) and UK-based Gazasia Ltd, has marked the site of the first Aseagas bio-methane digestion plant in the Philippines with a tree planting ceremony on March 18. The plant in Lian, Batangas is the first of several plants planned for the Philippines by Aseagas and will produce biogas from organic waste.

Our bet: Total.

Back to the present: More about the Honeywell’s UOP technology

Honeywell’s UOP Renewable Jet Fuel Process technology was developed in 2007 under a contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to produce renewable military jet fuel for the U.S. military. The process technology is fully compatible with existing hydroprocessing technology commonly used in today’s refineries to produce transportation fuels.

diamond-green-diesel-economics

The process technology also produces Honeywell Green Diesel, a drop-in replacement for traditional diesel. The fuel offers improved performance over biodiesel and petroleum-based diesel, including a higher cetane value compared with the cetane range of 40 to 60 found in diesel at the pump today. Cetane value is the measure of the combustion quality of diesel. Higher cetane values help diesel engines operate more effectively. Diesel with high cetane can be blended with low-cetane diesel to help meet transportation requirements. Honeywell Green Diesel also offers high energy density and excellent performance at both cold and warm temperatures.

Reaction from the Partners

“Petrixo believes that new energy solutions are immensely important for scalable, environmental and renewable solutions,” said Dr. Eid Al Olayyan, chief executive officer of Petrixo Oil & Gas. “UOP’s green fuels technologies are proven refining solutions that produce high-quality products compatible with petroleum-based fuels.”

“UOP’s renewable process technologies produce real fuels, rather than fuel additives such as biodiesel, that fit seamlessly into existing fuel supply chains,” said Veronica May, vice president and general manager of UOP’s Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “The renewable fuels produced by our technology also offer lower greenhouse gas emissions relative to traditional petroleum-based fuels.”

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