Economy The double ecological transition of refineries

The double ecological transition of refineries

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The Spanish refineries they have kicked off their own ecological transition. Aware of the role it can play in the fight against climate change, but also that its own business model can be compromised if it does not add to the 'green revolution', the sector has just approved the call 'Strategy for the Evolution towards Eco-fuels'. A plan that has a double aspect. On the one hand, reduce by 2050 up to 90% the CO2 emissions that Spanish refining plants generate in their operation. And on the other, to reduce the intensity of emissions of the fuels that it distills by 80%.

«We are fully committed to compliance with the Paris Agreements and decarbonization. We want to participate in the energy transition with rigorous and feasible technological solutions and we believe they are compatible with economic and social development, ”said Luis Aires, president of the Spanish Association of Petroleum Operators (AOP) in the presentation of the plan. Carlos Martín, technical and environmental director of the association, explained the road map that the ten refineries currently operating in Spain – among which Petronor is located – will continue to meet those objectives.

First, the improvement of processes and energy management systems in plants. A measure that, according to the AOP, the refineries are already applying, and that can mean “from 17% to 22% reduction in CO2 emissions. In addition, the refining industry will replace the conventional hydrogen which it uses for its industrial processes by another 'green', obtained from water with renewable electricity. This seeks to eliminate all of the CO2 generated in the production of gas.

I also know deepen the capture, storage and use of CO2, a technique not yet developed in a totally successful way, but that will be one of the axes on which the green strategy of the refineries pivots. It is about absorbing the carbon dioxide emitted by the industry for storage or as a raw material for the industry.

Produce less polluting fuels

In addition, CO2 could be used in the production of 'eco-fuel', the fourth leg on the ecological road map of the refineries. It consists of progressively integrating low carbon raw materials into the resin system for the production of liquid fuels. Thus, synthetic fuels or 'e-fuels' would be distilled from the captured carbon dioxide and the 'green' hydrogen. Raw materials of biological origin – primarily agricultural, forestry or industrial waste – would allow advanced biofuels to be produced. Other low-carbon liquids would be achieved by refining non-biological waste such as plastics and urban solid waste.

The AOP considers that this strategy – well received in the Ministry of Ecological Transition, according to the general director of the association, Andreu Puñet – will boost the circular economy «thanks to the reuse of waste, the improvement of energy generation and management» . In addition, it will promote R & D & I, technology transfer and will allow the maintenance of 200,000 jobs in the sector and generate new ones.

"Spain has one of the most competitive refining systems in Europe and with this strategy we want it to be the most sustainable in the world," said Luis Aires.

. (tagsToTranslate) double (t) transition (t) ecological (t) refineries

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