Germany triggers EU investigation into Chinese biofuels

Germany triggers EU investigation into Chinese biofuels

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Germany has asked the European Commission to investigate the flow of allegedly fraudulent biofuels into the European Union, a spokesperson for the German Environment Ministry said, stepping up scrutiny on trade in the fuel that has rattled the industry, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

EU incentives for biodiesel production made with waste oils and fat to increase renewable energy use have caused concerns that companies in Asia are mixing biofuels with cheaper oils and exporting them to Europe.

Germany "has asked the Commission to carry out an assessment to determine whether the sustainability criteria and requirements for greenhouse gas reductions ... are met for fuels originating in China," the spokesperson for the German Environment Ministry told Reuters.

A Commission spokesperson said in an email to Reuters that an unnamed member state had referred imports from China that had potentially been mislabeled as biofuels. The spokesperson said the Commission aimed to step up its oversight of the trade, with a database of supply chains due to be up and running by the end of the year, and it will look into whether the fuel imports qualify for greenhouse gas emissions credits.

EU classifications qualify the most advanced biofuels for valuable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions certificates that are bought and traded by industry players at the national level. Germany, the EU's top energy consumer and biofuel importer, is the most valuable market in the bloc for the certificates.

"The Commission has to examine whether the sustainability and greenhouse gas emission savings criteria are met," the EU spokesperson said, adding that the allegations are being investigated. The top European biofuels body warned last week that a flood of potentially "dubious" biodiesel imports into Europe from China could trigger the collapse of the EU's biofuels industry.

European producers and traders, who had flagged their concerns over the lack of oversight over Chinese imports, were cautiously optimistic on the decision. "It's clear that the (German) government is moving - everyone is very expectant," a senior industry source said, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

We remind, U.S. diesel demand will drop through 2024 despite growing economic activity, extending a recent break from tradition where demand for the freight fuel grows with GDP, the Energy Information Administration forecast on Tuesday.

Leak halts unit at Shell's Pernis oil refinery in Rotterdam

Leak halts unit at Shell's Pernis oil refinery in Rotterdam

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Shell has halted a unit at its Pernis oil refinery in Rotterdam because of an unspecified leak, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Due to a leak on one of our units, it was decided to temporarily take it out of service for repair," Shell said in a statement.

The company declined to comment on the type of leak, unit or duration of the outage.

We remind, Shell (London) has agreed to pay nearly USD 10 mn (EUR 9.3 mn) for breaking emissions rules at its Monaca polyethylene complex in the US state of Pennsylvania, according to the office of governor Josh Shapiro, which said the resin maker had formally acknowledged the violations.

Thyssenkrupp Uhde awarded supply of new uhde ammonia converter cartridge including synthesis catalyst by İGSAŞ

Thyssenkrupp Uhde awarded supply of new uhde ammonia converter cartridge including synthesis catalyst by İGSAŞ

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Thyssenkrupp Uhde and Johnson Matthey have been commissioned by IGSAS - Istanbul Gubre Sanayii A.S., Kocaeli (Turkey) to supply a solution to significantly reduce the pressure in the synthesis loop of an ammonia plant while maintaining the nameplate capacity of 1,200 mtpd, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new cartridge will be based on the latest design principles, including a modular design with removable catalyst beds which enable better accessibility during catalyst filling, axial-radial flow beds, lower pressure drop, etc. The cartridge, which will be installed in the existing pressure shell, will bring further benefits in terms of safety as no major welding activities are required during installation.

The currently installed cartridge, based on a reliable design by thyssenkrupp Uhde, has reached an extraordinarily long lifetime of 36 years in operation. Usually, replacements are necessary after two catalyst exchange cycles, approximately after 20 years. However, thanks to the robust design and high quality requirements set by thyssenkrupp Uhde during equipment manufacturing and testing, life times of 30 years and more are feasible.

Kutay Durna, factory manager at IGSAS: “With this upgrade of our plant, we are ready for the future. Key decision points for choosing thyssenkrupp Uhde were the proven reliability of their products combined with reducing the energy consumption in our Kocaeli plant.”

Thore Lohmann, Executive Director Fertilizer and Methanol at thyssenkrupp Uhde: “This is further proof that our uhde ammonia technology can meet the diverse requirements of plant owners around the globe. Our proprietary design of ammonia converter cartridges meets the highest quality standards and, when retrofitted to ammonia converters, it hugely enhances plant performance.”

The improved reliability of the plant and the energy savings will be achieved by combining the new uhde ammonia converter cartridge with Johnson Matthey’s high-performance catalyst KATALCOTM 74-1. This combination will open up the potential for a further increase in plant capacity in the future, for example for green ammonia production.

The new equipment is under fabrication, and start-up is scheduled for mid-2024. thyssenkrupp Uhde will perform full supervision services during converter opening, catalyst unloading, cartridge disassembly, converter inspection, cartridge assembly, catalyst filling/activation, startup and performance testing at this time.

Besides supplying the new cartridge for IGSAS, thyssenkrupp Uhde currently has eight additional uhde ammonia converter cartridge retrofits underway for their current blue ammonia projects.

We remind, Thyssenkrupp nucera AG & Co. KGaA (Dortmund, Germany) is partnering with OxyChem to install the latest generation eBiTAC v7 electrolyzers to support the conversion of its Battleground plant in LaPorte, Texas, from the diaphragm to membrane chlor-alkali technology.

Axens builds on ExxonMobil MTBE Decomposition Tech for high purity isobutylene production

Axens builds on ExxonMobil MTBE Decomposition Tech for high purity isobutylene production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing LLC and Axens have signed an exclusive licensing alliance agreement allowing Axens to include ExxonMobil’s MTBE Decomposition Technology for high purity isobutylene in its portfolio, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

Used in the production of high-reactivity polyisobutylene and butyl rubber, this technology enables Axens’ customers to better address the growing demand for petrochemical intermediates over the next decade.

Under the agreement, Axens is granted a worldwide right to market, license and provide engineering work and technical support for the design, construction and start-up of new MTBE Decomposition units. This alliance builds on collective expertise to provide customers with isobutylene purity of at least 99.99 wt% via an integrated unit with MTBE and MTBE Decomposition technologies or through a standalone unit using MTBE Decomposition technology.

Luc Wolff, Vice president Petrochemical Product Line at Axens, said “ExxonMobil MTBE Decomposition technology is a commercially proven, cost-effective, continuous fixed bed process that catalytically cracks MTBE into isobutylene and methanol. Adding this technology to Axens’ portfolio completes Axens’ offer and strengthens our long-term partnership with ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing LLC”.

“We are excited to expand our partnership with Axens and provide this proven technology to the industry. Our partnership with Axens in other technologies has demonstrated how well the two companies work together. It was consequently quite natural to propose this technology to Axens knowing their capability to deliver technology to the market.” said Louis Burns, Market Development Manager in ExxonMobil Catalysts and Licensing LLC.

We remind, ExxonMobil Corp has started up its long-planned project to expand light crude oil processing capacity by 250,000 b/d at ExxonMobil Product Solutions Co's integrated refining and petrochemicals complex along the US Gulf Coast in Beaumont, TX, US.

Solvay to produce green hydrogen for its Peroxides activity in Rosignano

Solvay to produce green hydrogen for its Peroxides activity in Rosignano

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Solvay and Sapio are partnering in the joint development of the Hydrogen Valley Rosignano Project, a large-scale hydrogen production plant with locally-sourced green energy in Rosignano, Italy, said the company.

Led by two technology leaders in the hydrogen economy, this project will further enable the decarbonisation of Solvay’s activities in Rosignano, leading to a 15% reduction of CO2 emissions for Peroxides related operations.

The green hydrogen production plant will be built by mid-2026 on a former industrial area within Solvay’s Rosignano facility and will be powered by green electricity through the construction of a dedicated 9.5 MW photovoltaic installation. It will have a capacity of 756 tons of green hydrogen per year, which will be used for the production of peroxides on site.

The Hydrogen Valley Rosignano Project is yet another example of Solvay’s ongoing journey towards carbon neutrality. Solvay’s focus lies on maximizing electrification and transitioning to renewable energies, such as solar power, as well as spurring process innovations. For the construction of the hydrogen production plant in Rosignano, Solvay has been awarded EUR16 million of funding under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) from the Tuscan Region.

We remind, Solvay, a global market leader in specialty materials, has officially opened another application development lab (ADL) in Shanghai to expand the global footprint of its research and innovation capabilities. Major local and global end markets expected to benefit from Solvay’s Shanghai based Application Development Lab will be automotive, new energy, life solutions and pharmacy, smart devices and semiconductors.