How the oil industry can reduce its environmental impact

​In order to enable for oil refineries to adjust to more profitable and environmentally friendly operations new technologies are needed. However, choosing technology is not easy. In her dissertation, Daniella Johansson shows that the best alternative is determined by prices and instruments on a future energy market.

Production of fuel consumes large amounts of energy and contributes to significant carbon dioxide emissions.To meet the EU objective of reducing greenhouse gases by 80-90% by 2050, large-scale measures must be taken.

Tell us about your research!
- I began by studying the techniques that are used today and how much we can reduce emissions by improving energy efficiency and switching fuel. I then focused on three different paths of development; production of hydrogen from biomass (lignocellulosic biomass), production of renewable fuels from lignocellulosic biomass and carbon capture of dioxide from refinery chimneys.

- All three options involve large and strategic investments so the oil industry must choose consciously, says Daniella.

Isn’t it enough to greening existing technology?
– The results show that we never will reach the EU's 80% target with conventional techniques or technologies available in the near future. Technologies such as carbon capture and production of renewable fuel are needed.
The problem is that it involves huge investments and that the there is great uncertainty about the future energy market.

–Therefore, I have looked at some possible future scenarios. For example, carbon capture benefits from high fees for emissions of carbon dioxide and the production of "green" fuels are in turn, favored by low prices for biomass, says Daniella.

There are many players on the market who want to make use of biomass. Is there enough for everyone?
– It is likely that the forest resources are not enough for everything, and therefore it is important that it is used where it is most resource efficient. To replace fossil products to bio based products requires large volumes.

– One of the challenges is also how refineries will be able to adjust to new technologies and new fuels. You strive towards a sustainable production, but that requires new understanding and new approaches, Daniella concludes.

 

Daniella defended her thesis February 25. The title of her thesis is: System studies of different CO2 mitigation options in the oil refining industry: Post-combustion CO2 capture and biomass gasification.

 

Translation from Swedish: Sofia Norström
Text and photo on Daniella: Karin Ljungklint
The first photo above shows the oil refinery in Lysekil, Bohuslän

 

Page manager Published: Thu 07 Mar 2013.