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Aramco, ENOWA to develop 1st e-fuel demonstration plant; deal signed on FII7 sidelines

Aramco, ENOWA to develop 1st e-fuel demonstration plant; deal signed on FII7 sidelines
Aramco's Al Khowaiter and ENOWA's Terium
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Riyadh – Mubasher: Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) penned a joint development agreement with NEOM’s energy and water company ENOWA to build the first-of-kind synthetic electro fuel (e-fuel) demonstration plant, according to a press release.

Upon the agreement, which was signed on the sidelines of the seventh Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference that is being held in Saudi Arabia, the facility will be located in ENOWA’s Hydrogen Innovation and Development Center (HIDC) which was established by ENOWA to showcase regional immense potential for producing and using wind and solar power commercially.

Aramco and ENOWA will jointly monitor operations and investment in relevant research programmes, while NEOM will oversee the construction of the e-fuel facility.

The demonstration plant is expected to produce 35 barrels per day (bpd) of low-carbon, as well as synthetic gasoline from renewable-based hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide (CO2). It further aims to demonstrate technical feasibility and commercial viability.

Aramco Executive Vice President of Technology and Innovation, Ahmad Al Khowaiter, said: “Synthetic fuels can play an important role to accelerate the decarbonisation of the global vehicle fleet. We are excited to be working alongside our partners to demonstrate a potential path towards realizing this vision.”

In addition, the HIDC will generate green hydrogen by leveraging an on-site 20-megawatt (MW) electrolyzer that is powered by renewable energy sources.

The integrated e-fuel facility is “a flagship project that falls within Aramco’s wider research, development, and demonstration efforts with low-carbon, synthetic fuels,” as described by the listed company.

CEO of ENOWA, Peter Terium, said: “As Saudi Arabia cements its global leadership role in a circular carbon economy driven by green hydrogen, we have an unprecedented opportunity to showcase the transformative capabilities of pioneering, sustainable technologies.”

Terium added: “ENOWA is looking forward to collaborating with Aramco in the development of a state-of-the-art facility for e-fuels in NEOM, which will drive innovation and promote the economic implementation of future clean energy supplies.”

Aramco has been exploring technologies for low-carbon synthetic fuels over the past years and ENOWA sees e-fuels as a critical future portfolio element of a circular carbon economy.

In 2022, the Saudi oil giant unveiled a partnership with Formula 2 and 3 to explore the introduction of synthetic components in fuel formulation to power the motorsports feeder series.

Meanwhile, Aramco and Spanish multinational energy and petrochemical company Repsol intend to explore the production demonstration of low-carbon synthetic diesel in addition to jet fuel for automobiles and aircraft.

ENOWA Managing Director of Hydrogen and Green Fuels, Roland Kaeppner, said: “The project is a concrete example of the circular carbon economy in action, and an example of ENOWA’s commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia’s mission to rapidly scale climate action by championing scientific innovation.”

Kaeppner concluded: “As one of the first anchor tenants of the HIDC, the facility is a strong demonstration of our shared ambition with Aramco to deliver front-running projects which continue to innovate on the latest technologies.”

During the FII7 event, President and CEO of Aramco, Amin Nasser, said: “Demand for oil remains high at 103 million barrels a day, underscoring the need for a reliable, affordable supply even as we invest in renewables.”