Energy Efficiency in Refining: Picking the low hanging fruit

 By Samiya Parvez, Process Engineer, FUOR

In view of a planned increase in carbon taxation and reduced fossil fuel demand, there appears to be a sword of closure hanging over several European Refineries unless they turn to more sustainable operation while remaining profitable. Refineries today are looking at implementing new technologies such as sustainable hydrogen production, plastic recycling, renewable / e-fuels production etc. Most of these require typically large investments and meticulous project planning. Given that the most sustainable form of energy is that, which is not consumed, a big-ticket item, which can help in the short term, is reduced total energy consumption. Energy efficiency measures often have the lowest abatement cost in Euro/ton CO2 avoided as well as the shortest payback times.
Not many new fossil fuel-based refineries are expected to come online in the future, but sustainable design and operating principles can be actively employed on revamp projects, as well as to refineries that do or will process alternative feedstocks. This presentation will highlight opportunities to improve energy efficiency in existing facilities by demonstrating possibilities on heat recovery and integration. These possibilities are at fired heater design, heat exchanger networks and implementation of novel heating / cooling equipment in the right places. Further, there are improvement in distillation column performance, low temperature heat recovery and re-use of low-level heat, fuel / resource substitution, replacement of control valves by variable speed drive systems and many more.
Many of the technological solutions required, to significantly reduce energy consumption in European refineries, have regained attractiveness in view of higher energy prices and the advent of an annually rising carbon tax. In addition to highlighting areas for improving energy efficiency in refineries, we intend to raise awareness of successful implementation of technical solutions by discussing case studies with tangible benefits.

Presentation file here



Energy Transition: An Optimization Approach for Green Hydrogen and Integration of HVO

 By Burcy Ekmekci, FLUOR Fellow, FUOR

Is water becoming “the new oil”? Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) sets a clear ambition to pursue efforts towards energy transition. It has been recognized, however, that in order to be able to maximize the benefits from any energy transition project, an integrated water management strategy is required.

When considering converting an existing refinery from using oil as a feedstock, there are several trade-offs to consider related to water supply and treatment depending on energy production goals. Such a strategy has been compiled into a systematical approach that may enable refineries to assess the operational effectiveness and to implement optimal solutions. Hence, an optimization approach for Green Hydrogen production and integration of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO) has been studied as a case study. This study would guide refineries during the Energy Transition by extended focus on Water and Wastewater Treatment.

The feed water supply is “the oil” together with electricity for electrolysis plants to produce Green Hydrogen. Electrolysis requires large amounts of water at demineralized or even ultra-pure water quality, which is to be produced in the refinery water treatment plant. Most feedstocks require a pre-treatment step to optimize the effectiveness of the hydrotreatment for co-processing of HVO.

Presentation file here



AIChE Seminar 2021 - Green Technology and Energy Transition Development in the Light of Plant Safety

Safety is a key priority for the chemical industry. The Green Deal ambitions (e.g. carbon neutrality by 2050) result in a transformation of the chemical industry that will generate new safety challenges. In particular, changing infrastructure in process manufacturing industries and changes in operating regimes and environmental efforts can adversely affect equipment integrity and reliability. During the seminar, quite some recent technology developments are discussed especially with an open eye on safety aspects along the complete supply and value chain.
The 35th European AIChE Seminar is an effective platform for interacting and sharing insights with industry leaders and professionals.

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Chemical Recycling via Plastics Pyrolysis; Technical and Legal Hurdles on the Road Ahead - Henk Hagen, DOW and Philip de Smedt, Cefic

Chemical recycling is considered a key technology for the chemical industry to achieve the EU plastics recycling targets. Chemical recycling can be carried out via a few routes with currently the most important one being gasification and pyrolysis. Pyrolysis has the advantage that a liquid is produced that in essence can be applied as feedstock in existing liquid hydrocarbon steam crackers. Unfortunately, the quality of Plastics Pyrolysis Oil (PPO) is such that direct use is limited. In order to unlock the full potential of PPO as a circular feedstock the material needs to be subjected to a clean-up step via hydroprocessing. Hydroprocessing of PPO comes with various challenges that will need to be addressed before it can be applied at commercial scale.
This lecture focusses on the quality aspects of PPOs that circumvent the direct use, as well as the challenges that arise when trying to clean them. Despite all the efforts on the implementation of chemical recycling, the recognition of chemical recycling in EU legislation, e.g. End of Waste Directive, is still unclear. Next to the specifics on the technical aspects of chemical recycling via pyrolysis, some insights are given on the efforts by Cefic, the European association for the chemical industry, to defend the position of chemical recycling.  

Presentation file here

Presentation file here


Safety Hazard Assessment of Biogas Cleaning and Upgrading Process: a Case Study - Julia Di Domenico Pinto, FLUOR

This presentation discusses a case study where a safety hazard analysis is performed on a biogas production process. Switching the energy matrix to renewable/carbon-free sources is a path many countries are pursuing. In this context, biogas stands out as a relevant renewable circular process as it can generate a renewable fuel from waste streams. The study was done together with Diego Di Domenico Pinto (Process Engineer Director in Hovyu). It is not uncommon that hazardous materials are formed, processed, or stored during the biogas production. In the past years, several accidents in the biogas process production were reported, resulting in human deaths, environmental pollution, and relevant economic losses. In many cases the causes of the accidents are still unknown. In several cases there is an absence of sufficient knowledge about the biogas process hazards and how to find them. Besides, it is hard to find a consistent accident database related to biogas production processes. The cleaning and upgrading biogas process are based in chemical absorption technology and involves several hazardous materials, including hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is a colorless poisonous, corrosive, and flammable gas. Findings and recommendations are presented.

Presentation file here


Carbon Capture - why, who, what & how - Michiel Baerends, FLUOR

The presentation covers the key topics in Carbon Capture
- Why should clients be interested in capturing carbon?
- Who is already practicing carbon capture, and where?
- Where is all the captured CO2 going to go?
- What technical options are available, how does the process work?
- How much is it all going to cost – and how to lower this cost?
- What to do next?
An attempt is made to provide answers, at least partial, to all the above questions, enlightening all those in the audience that are not already deeply involved in carbon capture.

Presentation file here

Role of Hydrogen in the Energy Transition, some Challenges related to Development of the H2 Value Chain - Taco Hoencamp MSc, Royal HaskoningDHV

This presentation addresses the role of hydrogen in the energy transition, different colors of hydrogen production methods, some challenges related to development of the hydrogen value chain, and safety aspects related to the use of hydrogen.

Presentation file here

 Corona safe event corona safe event


Technip Energies Burner Test Facility at Rotterdam

Company Visit

Technip Energies operates a burner test facility in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and performs continuous research on the performance of their proprietary burners, the Large Scale Vortex (LSV®) burner and the Technip Side Wall Burner (TSWB®).
With preheated combustion air of up to 500°C, this facility allows to look at the performance of burners in a controlled radiant firebox environment. The facility comprises one furnace for testing up to 5-Megawatt firing rate and a second furnace for up to 1-Megawatt firing rate. The larger furnace has 36 thermocouples to measure the outlet temperatures of the air-cooled radiant cooling coils to derive accurate burner heat flux profiles. Prior to having this testing facility, such information was based solely on visual observations (and the flames are hardly visible, in particular for the LSV® burner), the burner test furnace is a great asset for burner flame research.
The new test facility enables Technip Energies to further develop and fine-tune their burners to achieve even lower emissions.

 T.EN Burner Test Furnace visit

Attached are presentations of the burner test facility and the Plant One Rotterdam facility.

Presentation Burner Test Facility here

Fly Sheet Burner Test Facility here

Presentation Plant One Rotterdam facility here

Video file Burner Test Facility here


Para-Xylene Production via BP Crystallization

 By Mathys van Es, Senior Business Development Manager, Lummus Technology

Para-xylene (PX) is an important petrochemical used for the production of purified terephthalic acid (PTA), which is used to manufacture a host of polyester consumer products such as fibers, bottles, films, etc. A growing market for these consumer products – particularly in Asia – has led to a sustained annual PX demand growth rate of about 5 – 6 %. Hence, optimizing the yield, separation, and purification of PX from mixed xylene containing streams are issues of global significance in the petrochemical industry.

Presentation file here