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  • Orlen Group

Orlen, Yokogawa partner to develop eSAF technology

Photo: Orlen Group

Orlen and Yokogawa Europe, the regional headquarters for Japan’s Yokogawa Electric Corp., announced Sept. 22 that they have joined forces to initiate industrial-scale production of carbon-neutral synthetic aviation fuels.

In a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed Sept. 21, the two companies have come together to enhance the technological process responsible for synthesizing fuel from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen.

Orlen said it is looking to establish itself as a frontrunner in this emerging market segment, poised to drive effective decarbonization of the aviation industry.

Orlen stated that it is investing in technologies that shape the future of the economy.

“Synthetic fuels are essential in the pursuit of the aviation sector’s carbon neutrality, offering the distinct advantage of not relying on fossil fuels,” the company stated.

Orlen’s target is to attain a production capacity of 70,000 tons of such fuels annually by the end of 2030.

“Orlen’s partnership with Yokogawa marks a major milestone towards achieving our strategic goal to launch synthetic fuel production,” said Daniel Obajtek, Orlen’s CEO and president of the management board. “Our joint project will help us to develop a comprehensive industrial-scale process for the production of synthetic fuels. With our Japanese partner we already have a very successful track record of cooperation in optimization of our refining and petrochemical processes. I am happy such an experienced and reliable partner will support the development of Orlen’s new business line.”

Under the partnership, Orlen and Yokogawa aim to develop an integrated management solution for the production of synthetic fuels.

The joint endeavor will involve the creation of a virtual replica of a production facility, referred to as a “digital twin,” which will enable the simulation and fine-tuning of production processes with a focus on selecting the most economically viable and environmentally sustainable synthesis method.

The solution will be applied to a new production facility of synthetic-fuels production, which will be constructed by the end of 2030.

Sustainable synthetic fuels are obtained by combining hydrogen produced through electrolysis powered by renewable energy with carbon-dioxide molecules sourced from various industrial processes, including power generation, biomass plants, cement factories, steel mills and fertilizer plants.

Thus, the production of synthetic fuels can significantly curb industrial emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

One of the exceptional advantages of synthetic fuels lies in their near-identical properties to conventional petroleum-derived products, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, while helping to reduce GHG emissions, Orlen stated.

Thanks to their properties, synthetic fuels can be used with current combustion-engine vehicles without the need for any technical modifications.

Moreover, the already established storage, transport and distribution infrastructure designed for petroleum fuels can be used without any modifications for synthetic-fuel logistics.

This promises to meaningfully expedite and economize the decarbonization of various sectors, with aviation as a prime beneficiary.

Orlen expects the aviation industry to be the principal consumer of synthetic fuels.

“Through this co-innovation with Orlen, we will accelerate the decarbonization of aviation fuels,” said Takayuki Matsubara, president of Yokogawa Europe. “This will be powered by seamlessly integrated and highly autonomous digital systems.”

Yokogawa already provides a comprehensive spectrum of solutions to the Orlen Group, encompassing automation technology, software for modeling refinery and petrochemical processes, and tools for optimizing energy consumption in production facilities.

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