Shell to build one of Europe’s biggest biofuels facilities for SAF and renewable diesel; 820,000 tonnes/year
Royal Dutch Shell will build an 820,000-tonnes-a-year biofuels facility at the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam, the Netherlands, formerly known as the Pernis refinery. Once built, the facility will be among the largest in Europe to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel made from waste.
Shell expects the Rotterdam biofuels facility to start production in 2024. It will produce low-carbon fuels such as renewable diesel from waste in the form of used cooking oil, waste animal fat and other industrial and agricultural residual products, using technology developed by Shell.
Shell will use bio-naphtha and light hydrocarbon gasses created during the formation process to create hydrogen. Hydrogen and high-pressure steam are then used in the production process to convert oils into fuels (hydroprocessing), helping to reduce the fuel’s carbon intensity.
A range of certified sustainable vegetable oils, such as rapeseed, will supplement the waste feedstocks until even more sustainable advanced feedstocks are widely available. The facility will not use virgin palm oil as feedstock.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) could make up more than half of the 820,000-tonnes-a-year capacity, with the rest being renewable diesel. Shell can adjust this mix to meet customer demand.
A facility of this size could produce enough renewable diesel to avoid 2,800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a year—the equivalent of taking more than 1 million European cars off the roads (based on the annual driving distance of a UK/EU driver, assuming a medium-sized diesel car).
Shell expects to capture carbon emissions from the manufacturing process and store them in an empty gas field beneath the North Sea through the Porthos (Port of Rotterdam CO₂ Transport Hub and Offshore Storage) project. A final investment decision for Porthos is expected next year.
When built, Porthos will transport and store CO2 that is captured by various companies, including Shell. The project aims to capture up to 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year from 2024.
As part of its Powering Progress strategy, Shell is transforming its refineries (14 as of October 2020) into five energy and chemicals parks. Shell aims to reduce the production of traditional fuels by 55% by 2030 and provide more low-carbon fuels such as biofuels for road transport and aviation, and hydrogen. The Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam is the second park to be announced, following the launch in July of the Energy and Chemicals Park Rheinland, in Germany.
The biofuels project complements Shell’s plans to build a 200-megawatt hydrogen electrolyzer in the Port of Rotterdam. Shell is working with partners to create a green hydrogen hub in the Port of Rotterdam. In July 2020, Shell and Eneco were awarded a tender for the 759-megawatt (MW) Hollandse Kust Noord offshore wind project in the North Sea. This renewable power can be used to produce green hydrogen at the planned 200 MW electrolyzer, which is intended to start operations by 2023 to produce about 50,000 – 60,000 kg of hydrogen a day.