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ORLEN partners with Japense Yokogawa in sustainable aviation fuel production

Polish energy company ORLEN and Yokogawa Europe, a regional subsidiary of Japanese electrical engineering and software company Yokogawa Electric Corporation, have announced a joint project to initiate industrial-scale production of carbon-neutral synthetic aviation fuels.

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday (21 September), the two companies have come together to enhance the technological process responsible for synthesising fuel from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen.

“ORLEN’s partnership with Yokogawa marks a major milestone towards achieving our strategic goal to launch synthetic fuel production. Our joint project will help us to develop a comprehensive industrial-scale process for the production of synthetic fuels. With our Japanese partner we already have a very successful track record of cooperation in optimisation of our refining and petrochemical processes. I am happy such an experienced and reliable partner will support the development of ORLEN’s new business line,” said Daniel Obajtek, CEO and President of ORLEN’s Management Board.

Under the new partnership, ORLEN and Yokogawa will aim to develop an integrated management solution for the production of synthetic fuels. The joint endeavour will involve the creation of a virtual replica of a production facility, referred to as a “digital twin,” which will enable the simulation and fine-tuning of production processes with a focus on “selecting the most economically viable and environmentally sustainable synthesis method,” ORLEN said in a press release. The solution will be applied to a new synthetic fuels production facility, which is planned to be constructed by the end of 2030.

Sustainable synthetic fuels are obtained by combining hydrogen produced through electrolysis powered by renewables, with carbon dioxide molecules sourced from various industrial processes, including power generation, biomass plants, cement factories, steel mills, and fertiliser plants.

One of the advantages of synthetic fuels is its near-identical properties to conventional petroleum-derived products, such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ORLEN said. Thanks to their properties, synthetic fuels can be used with current combustion engine vehicles without the need for any technical modifications. Moreover, the already established storage, transport, and distribution infrastructure designed for petroleum fuels can be used without any modifications for synthetic fuel logistics.

“Through this co-innovation with ORLEN, we will accelerate the decarbonisation of aviation fuels. This will be powered by seamlessly integrated and highly autonomous digital systems,” said Takayuki Matsubara, President of Yokogawa Europe.

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