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Wärtsilä to supply a major LNG/bioLNG production plant for CO2-neutral transport fuels

The technology group Wärtsilä has been awarded a major contract to supply and construct a plant for production of CO2-neutral liquid transport fuels. The plant will liquefy gas from the natural gas grid to produce carbon-neutral LNG. It will have a capacity of approximately 100,000 tons per year and located in Cologne, Germany. The order with Wärtsilä was placed in September 2020.


LNG/bioLNG production plant. Copyright: Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä’s experience and state-of-the-art technologies developed for the process design, fabrication, and delivery of gas liquefaction plants and mature gas treatment solutions prior to liquefaction, were key factors to secure the contract.

The use of LNG as an emissions-reducing fuel in the marine and transportation industries is already well established, and to introduce bioLNG which can be mixed with LNG is the next obvious step in enabling a CO2-neutral transportation fuel. We look forward to continuing on our mission to enable sustainable societies with smart technology.

—Antti Kuokkanen, VP Gas Solutions

The feedstock for bioLNG is based on biological waste material—e.g. liquid manure and food waste. The feedstock is fed to an anaerobic digestion reactor that produces biogas, which is then upgraded to biomethane and injected into the natural gas grid. Green gas certificates are issued along with the injected biomethane, which then permits operators at other locations, such as liquefaction plants producing bioLNG, to buy the certificates and utilize the biomethane.

The Wärtsilä scope for this project includes the engineering, the civil works, installation, and commissioning of the plant. The plant will include a gas treatment system based on Wärtsilä’s Puregas CA technology, a liquefaction unit utilising Wärtsilä’s Semi-Dual Brayton technology, storage tanks, truck filling stations, and all necessary safety flare and auxiliary equipment. The plant is expected to be fully operational by autumn 2022.



LNG used in place of heavy bunker oil is a step in reducing pollution; but, is in no way 'carbon neutral.' Use hydrogen instead and you will be doing something instead of verbalizing greenwash propaganda.


It looks like a bait and switch to me. They talk abut bioLNG, but also about liquifying gas from the grid.
It is certainly better to use LNG in ships than bunker oil, but hardly carbon neutral, even if you sweeten it with some bioLng.

Here's a question: would you be better off generating H2 from unused renewables and using it to crack long chain hydrocarbons and get the H2 into the fuel system in that way, or keeping it as "pure" green H2 (which is hard to store and transport) ?


We know that H2 storage and transport is very expensive and consumes a lot of energy. Regarding current and near-future production capacity, it is clear that any "green" H2 produced today could be utilized in refineries. I have not looked at any studies of efficiency of use in each case, but I would guess that the refinery route would be more efficient than using “pure” H2. In contrast, however, the use of pure H2 gives better PR and headlines. With current legislation and incentives refineries would not get full credit for using green H2. Another prohibitive factor is the cost of green H2.

The PREEM refinery in Sweden just recently ditched an investment of upgrading heavy oils to fuels. This is said to be due to “commercial reasons”, but also public opinion played a part. The project would have significantly increased CO2 emissions in Sweden. However, when I last time I checked, it seemed as if CO2 emissions was a global problem... By the end of the day, of course, another refinery in another part of the world will make necessary investments to do this job. Probably with lower environmental constraints and higher CO2. Sad. I should point out that PREEM currently make H2 from NG. Needless to say, “green” H2 is prohibitively expensive.

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