Neste refineries advance toward use of green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage
Renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) producer Neste Corp. announced Nov. 23 it is entering into execution phase with its partners in the MultiPLHY consortium. According to the company, the MultiPLHY project aims at installing, integrating and operating the world’s first high-temperature electrolyzer system at multimegawatt (MW) scale—approximately 2.4 MW—at Neste’s renewable diesel and SAF refinery in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to demonstrate production of green hydrogen for fuel processing. The technology of the high-temperature electrolyzer is provided by Sunfire. The MultiPLHY project started in early 2020 and since then the conceptual design has been completed while detailed engineering is being finalized, Neste stated. Moving forward with construction is the next phase. In addition to Neste and Sunfire, the MultiPLHY consortium partners include CEA, a French public research organization; Paul Wurth, an engineering company and technology provider; and ENGIE, a global reference in low-carbon energy and services. “As part of Neste’s growth strategy we continue to focus on innovation, in which renewable hydrogen and ‘Power-to-X’ are two of our key development areas,” said Lars Peter Lindfors, senior vice president of innovation at Neste. “Demonstrating green hydrogen production at our Rotterdam refinery within the MultiPLHY project is one of the initiatives enabling us to further drive the development of new sustainable technologies.”
Demonstrating the high-temperature electrolyzer technology is an important step forward in the field of Power-to-X. In the scope of the project, electrolysis company Sunfire will supply the multi-MW electrolyzer based on the innovative (solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) technology, operating at high temperatures of 850 degrees Celsius. Due to the utilization of heat, the high-temperature electrolyzer requires significantly less electricity to produce 1 kilogram of green hydrogen. “We look forward to realizing the implementation and commissioning of our SOEC electrolyzer,” said Sunfire CEO Nils Aldag. “Together with the strong MultiPLHY consortium, we will demonstrate an innovative solution on how the refining industry can become more sustainable.”
Michèle Azalbert, managing director at ENGIE Green Hydrogen, said, “Renewable hydrogen is an essential low-emission technology for the decarbonization of industrial processes. Accelerating concrete hydrogen projects, like MultiPLHY, is key to identifying potential disruptors and making this SOEC technology operationally and commercially viable at scale.”
The MultiPLHY project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No. 875123. This joint undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe research.
Just one week earlier, Neste announced it was to receive 88 million euros from the EU Innovation Fund to develop green hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage (CCS) at its refinery in Porvoo, Finland. The project introduces CCS and electrolysis solutions that allow decarbonization of production at the refinery. The project, which is expected to help Neste reach carbon-neutral production by 2035 through a reduction of more than 4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in the first 10 years of operation, is currently in the feasibility phase.
“We are proud to have been selected as one of the seven granted projects out of more than 300 applicants in one of the world’s largest funding programs for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies,” said Peter Vanacker, president and CEO of Neste. “This is a great recognition for Neste and its innovations as a frontrunner and key contributor to the European energy transition. The funding for this project strongly supports our ambition to make Porvoo the most sustainable refinery in Europe by 2030.”
The company plans to gather a network of leading European technology suppliers and R&D institutes, “laying the foundation for a world-class European hub for renewable hydrogen and CO2 utilization,” Neste stated. The EU Innovation Fund is investing more than 1.1 billion euros in seven large-scale innovative projects. Neste, among other successful projects, will start to prepare the individual grant agreements with the funding agency, which are expected to be finalized in early 2022.