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Aramco, Repsol to use green H2 and CO2 to generate sustainable synthetic fuels

Johnson Matthey and bp have announced that their co-developed, Fischer Tropsch (FT) CANS technology and Johnson Matthey’s reverse water gas shift technology, HyCOgen, have been selected for use by Aramco and Repsol at a new synthetic fuels plant in Bilbao, Spain.

The plant will be one of the world's first to use renewable green H2 and CO2 as its only raw materials. It is due to be commissioned in 2024, with a starting capacity of more than 2,100 tpy. It will produce a sustainable synthetic drop-in fuel that can be blended for existing road vehicle engines, planes and ships.

It is the second license signed for the FT CANS technology, which was jointly developed with bp to deliver significant environmental and operational benefits. It converts synthesis gas (syngas), generated from sources such as industrial emissions, direct air capture, municipal solid waste or other renewable biomass, into long-chain hydrocarbons suitable to produce diesel and jet fuels.

It is the first license signed for Johnson Matthey’s recently launched HyCOgen technology, which uses a catalyzed process to convert CO2 and green H2 into carbon monoxide, which is then combined with additional H2 to form syngas. Coupling HyCOgen and FT CANS technologies provides an end-to-end, scalable process optimized for high conversion efficiency — enabling the production of premium quality synthetic crude oil.

Aramco Chief Technology Officer, Ahmad Al-Khowaiter said, “This agreement supports our ongoing work to develop lower-emission transport solutions and we are thrilled by the opportunity it represents. Converting CO2 into synthetic, lower-carbon fuels can meaningfully contribute to the reduction of transport emissions and, through this strategic partnership, we aim to harness innovative technologies that can unlock the full potential of both sustainable fuels and chemicals — and demonstrate their competitiveness.”

Adriana Orejas, Director Industrial Transformation and Deep Tech at Repsol said, “The development of Bilbao synthetic fuel, where sustainable synthetic fuel shall be produced, represents an important step on our commitment of being a net-zero emission company by 2050, aligned with the climate objectives set out in Paris by COP21. Coupling Johnson Matthey, a reliable and demonstrated global leader technologist, HyCOgen and FT CANS Technology allow us to demonstrate the whole value chain of producing sustainable fuel from CO2 and renewable hydrogen as unique raw materials, complementing Repsol´s portfolio of low carbon fuels alternatives.”

Noemie Turner, VP Technology development & commercialization at bp said, “Repsol and Aramco choosing to license our co-developed FT CANS technology recognizes great science and engineering. This builds on the first license to Fulcrum Bioenergy, further demonstrating the key role of the technology in the production of sustainable fuels.”

Jane Toogood, Sector Chief Executive at Johnson Matthey said, “In licensing both the HyCOgen and FT CANS technologies for their Bilbao plant, Repsol and Aramco have recognized the potential of this pioneering solution — and shown that we’re a trusted partner in sustainable fuel production technology.”

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