Saudi Aramco and Enowa, Neom’s energy and water subsidiary, have signed a joint development agreement to construct and establish a synthetic electro-fuel (e-fuel) demonstration plant.
The plant will be located in Enowa’s Hydrogen Innovation and Development Centre (HIDC). The plant aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility and commercial viability of e-fuel by producing 35 barrels a day of low-carbon, synthetic gasoline from renewable-based hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide (CO2).
The e-fuel technology, which supports a circular carbon economy approach, has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by over 70 per cent on a complete life cycle basis, compared to conventional fuels, Aramco said in a statement.
Once complete, the integrated facility will generate 12 tonnes of synthetic methanol a day from green hydrogen and CO2, using proprietary technologies developed by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Uhde.
The synthetic methanol will then be converted into low-carbon gasoline using ExxonMobil’s Fluidized-Bed Methanol-to-Gasoline (MtG) technology.
The HIDC will also produce green hydrogen through an on-site 20MW electrolyser powered by renewable energy sources.
According to Aramco, the innovation centre being created by Enowa will showcase the region’s potential to generate and use wind and solar power commercially.
Ahmad O. al-Khowaiter, Aramco executive vice-president of technology and innovation, said: “Synthetic fuels can play an important role in accelerating the decarbonisation of the global vehicle fleet.”
Through the joint development agreement, Neom will oversee the plant's construction, while Aramco and Enowa will jointly oversee operations and investment in relevant research programmes.
In 2022, Aramco announced a partnership with Formula 2 and 3 to explore introducing synthetic components in fuel formulation to power the motorsports feeder series.
Separately, Aramco and Repsol plan to explore the production demonstration of low-carbon synthetic diesel and jet fuel for automobiles and aircraft.
Aramco’s Transport Technologies R&D, with a presence in Paris, Detroit and Shanghai and the headquarters in Dhahran, is advancing multiple technologies that aim to enable a more reliable, affordable and sustainable transport future, the Saudi energy firm said.
*=Year-to-date | Sources: IMF, MEED Projects, MEED
MEED's October 2023 special report on Saudi Arabia includes:
> COMMENT: Riyadh reshapes its global role
> POLITICS: Saudi Arabia looks both east and west
> SPORT: Saudi Arabia’s football vision goes global
> ECONOMY: Riyadh prioritises stability over headline growth
> BANKS: Saudi banks track more modest growth path
> UPSTREAM: Aramco focuses on upstream capacity building
> DOWNSTREAM: Saudi chemical and downstream projects in motion
> POWER: Riyadh rides power projects surge
> WATER: Saudi water projects momentum holds steady
> GIGAPROJECTS: Gigaproject activity enters full swing
> TRANSPORT: Infrastructure projects support Riyadh’s logistics ambitions
> JEDDAH TOWER: Jeddah developer restarts world’s tallest tower
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