Shell moves forward – twice – on alternative energy
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Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company Shell is pressing forward with two projects on generating energy from alternative sources.

    The company has clinched an agreement with Japan’s Mitsubishi on construction of a plant to produce hydrogen in Canada’s “big oil” province of Alberta. Mitsubishi is to build a plant next to a Shell oil refinery, while Shell is to store carbon dioxide within the framework of the Polaris CCS scheme.

    Under this project, up to 750,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide is to be captured annually, resulting in a 40 % reduction in emissions from the refinery. According to estimates, the plant will produce about 165,000 tonnes of hydrogen per year and its capacity could be expanded over time.

    The company has not ruled out the creation of a major hydrogen hub in Alberta – it plans to use the hydrogen produced to make ammonia as well as for export to Asia, mainly to Japan.

    “Blue” hydrogen is produced from gas and captured carbon dioxide, while “green” hydrogen is made through electrolysis and the use of renewable energy sources and the splitting of molecules into oxygen and hydrogen. From 2017 to 2023 2 million MW of renewable energy capacity will be brought on stream in Alberta.

    Canada as a whole remains a major world oil producer that seeks to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.

    On its own turf in the Netherlands, Shell intends to build a plant to produce biofuels, making use of the company’s energy and chemical facilities in Rotterdam.

    The plant, with an annual production level of 820,000 tonnes, will become one of the largest producers in Europe – in terms of volume — of clean aviation fuel and renewable diesel fuel.

    Shell said in a statement that it had already committed itself to the investment involved and production of biofuel would begin in 2024.

    The plant is to produce low-carbon diesel fuel from waste cooking fat, animal fat and other industrial and agricultural waste products.

    Added to the waste will be canola or rapeseed oil. No pressed palm oil is to be used as a raw material.

    Plans call for about half the annual production of 820,000 tonnes to be for kerosene, with the remainder for diesel fuel – but the production combination may be varied to suit customer needs.

    The facility is to be built at a disused refinery at Pernis, near Rotterdam. At its presumed capacity, it could result in a reduction of 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year – equivalent to exhaust from more than 1 million European cars. The CO2 produced is to be captured and stored in an empty gas field in the North Sea.

     The final decision on investment for the project, to be known as Porthos (Port of Rotterdam CO₂ Transport Hub and Offshore Storage), is expected next year.

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