Energy, Oil & Gas Issue 205 June 2022

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Issue 205 June | energy-oil-gas.com

Incorporating

Green gas goes global THE LARGEST PRODUCER OF BIOGAS ENERGY IN THE WORLD, NATURE ENERGY, IS ON COURSE TO TRANSFER ITS EXPERTISE TO NEW LOCATIONS AS PART OF ITS INTERNATIONAL GROWTH JOURNEY

Coal

Computing

The outlook for coal as countries try to make their electricity supplies more environmentally friendly

Quantum technology represents a revolution, and BP is one company already looking to benefit from its power

Exus appointed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners to manage Texas and Utah solar projects Wind turbines on the world’s largest offshore wind farm protected by AkzoNobel coatings



EDITOR Editors Chairman Andrew Schofield Group COO Joe Woolsgrove Editor - Libbie Hammond libbie@schofieldpublishing.com lhammond@finelight-media.com Staff Writers Daniel Baksi, Alex Caesari, Danielle Champ, Jessica Olley

It sounds so futuristic, with its talk of qubits and ‘superconducting currents within circuits maintained at temperatures colder than deep space and shielded from magnetic fields’ as well as the fact that ‘quantum computing based will involve a million qubits to work...

Editorial Administrator - Amy Gilks Managing Art Editor - Fleur Daniels Art Editor - David Howard Art Editor - Paul Gillings Artwork Administrator - Rochelle Broderick-White Sales Director Alasdair Gamble Business Development Director Philip Monument Operations Manager Adam Blanch Research Managers Michelle Fontaine, Natalie Griffiths, Jo-Ann Jeffery, Ben Richell, Basil Sharpe

Super computing

Editorial Researchers Victoria Burke, Mark Cowles, Jeff Goldenberg, Dan Harrison, Melanie Joyce, James Page, Wendy Russell, Richard Saunders, Kieran Shukri

Hello and welcome to the June issue of Energy, Oil & Gas. I was fascinated by our feature on quantum computing on page 28. It sounds so futuristic, with its talk of qubits and ‘superconducting currents within circuits maintained at temperatures colder than deep space and shielded from magnetic fields’ as well as the fact that ‘quantum computing based will involve a million qubits to work, with platforms the size of a warehouse or football stadium’. Yet, the first useful quantum computers are nearly with us and are even now being applied to real commercial problems. One company that is embracing the potential of quantum is BP – I am going to be watching closely for any developments in this space that I can report back to EOG readers. We go from the vastness of quantum computing to the small batteries that are used to power tools or even vehicles – they may not be visible and are taken for granted, but still provide vital energy every day across the sector. While batteries may seem mundane, they still need to be stored and managed safely – see the feature on page 16 for more details. I also recommend the articles on coal and geo-data too; both include some really interesting points. Finally - if you are reading this in digital format, don’t forget this issue is also in print – if you’d like a hard copy, then do get in touch.

Advertising Sales Johanna Bailey, Mike Berger, Jessica Eglington, James Fuller, Will Gwyther, Alex Hartley, Reid Lingle, Sam Surrell Head of Media Global Programs Mark Cawston mcawston@schofieldpublishing.com Florida General Manager Ryan Finn Boston General Manager Joy Francesconi Custom Media Sales Dan Bess Digital Sales Mike Psimis Subscriptions i.kidd@schofieldpublishing.com Administration Natalie Fletcher, Rory Gallacher, Ibby Mundhir,

EDITOR LIBBIE HAMMOND Schofield Publishing Ltd - Corporate Head Office 10 Cringleford Business Centre Intwood Road, Cringleford, Norwich, NR4 6AU, UK T: (312) 854 0123 | T: +44 (0) 1603 274130

© 2022 Schofield Publishing Limited all rights reserved

Energy, Oil & Gas Magazine

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@EOG_magazine

PLEASE NOTE: The opinions expressed by contributors and advertisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, and correct at time of writing, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the property of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher.

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REGULARS

6

Pipelines

In order to minimize downtime and interruptions, companies must resolve any pipeline issues quickly and effectively – this is where Remote Telemetry Units (RTUs) can play a crucial role

8

32

Exo

Minerals

A low-carbon future isn’t possible without significant access to key minerals. This will increase demand and bring new opportunities to mining companies and mineral rich countries

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42

Digital transformation

Why digital maturity assessments are needed prior to any transformation projects, and the questions that need to be asked – companies must not only focus on the ‘digital iceberg’

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COVER STORY

56

Batteries

A vital source of energy for small handheld tools and larger vehicles, lithium-ion batteries must be stored and managed safely

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News

Some of the recent developments within the oil and gas industry

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Coal

In the short-term coal still has a future – a ‘necessary evil’ as countries try to make their electricity supplies more environmentally friendly

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68

72

VWS Westgarth

TAR

82

90

Braya Renewable Fuels

BW

Geo-data

Thanks to amazing technological innovation, the industry is heading towards entirely robotic fleets, digital delivery and evergreen 3D earth models

28

Glo

Mining

Mining businesses need to accelerate digitalization but many are unsure how to bring the tools together to achieve their vision for the future of mining

24

Nature Energy

Computing

Quantum computing represents a revolution – BP is embracing the technology to help ‘reimagine energy for people and our planet’

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PROFILES

4234

48

Exolum

Strategic Biofuels

56

62

Global Clean Energy

HydraWell

72

76

TARA Energy Services

VERBIO North America

90

96

BWSC Generation Services UK

Montana Renewables

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PROFILES

100

104

Canary Biofuels

Indaver

108

116

BKV Corporation

Desert Mountain Energy

122

128

Mega Industry Control Systems

San Joaquin Renewables LLC

134

Vattenfall

4

ENERGY,OIL&GAS

Your company profile here

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At PMF our strength lies in manufacturing what our customers need. As a specialist in structural steel, piping systems and pressure vessel fabrication we offer full execution and management of construction projects including detailed engineering, work preparation, procurement, mechanical fabrication and testing including E&I and insulation requirements, always in accordance with the project requirements and latest standards. We produce in carbon steel, duplex, stainless steel and various alloys and have proven project management procedures in place to manage construction projects of all types, sizes and degrees of complexity. We have the resources to manage your projects safely, efficiently and within schedule.

Visit us online at: www.pmfgroup.nl


Problem

solvers

MATTHEW HAWKRIDGE EXPLAINS HOW RTUS CAN HELP TO TACKLE THE COMMON ISSUES IN PIPELINES

While pipelines play an essential role in the oil and gas industry, they are not fail-safe. Common issues include structural failures such as cracks, leaks and corrosion. In order to minimize downtime and interruptions, companies must resolve any issues quickly and effectively – this is where Remote Telemetry Units (RTUs) come in. Operators face a wide range of issues when managing oil and gas pipelines. These large networks necessitate the

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continuous monitoring of remote fixed assets and data logging, while also managing complex remote automation and control applications without any operators in the field. This is where RTUs play a crucial role, particularly for ensuring critical data from the field is not missed and is available for analysis. Specific issues that RTUs can address include the monitoring of flow, pressure and temperature; natural gas flow measurements; optimization and secondary recovery;


PIPELINES

storage facilities; and pressure monitoring. However, because they are trusted to achieve so much, a number of practical considerations should be made when choosing an RTU system. An RTU must have several key features. First, resilience to the site environment - for instance, can the RTU withstand hazardous conditions or fluctuating temperatures? A unit should operate with minimal drain on local power resources, with enough processing power to perform any local control algorithms autonomously. Your chosen RTU should have extensive diagnostics capabilities. That includes a low Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), which reduces the time technicians spend on site, for improved efficiency and personnel safety. This is especially important for the oil and gas sector right now, as increased needs for efficiency, environmental protection and safety drive the market for data analysis and asset management. RTUs should be equipped to be deployed on a vast range of assets. Once installed, the RTU can perform autonomous control in real time and then report to the SCADA system. Put simply, the real value of an RTU is that it has everything under control - which also benefits human workers.

Better decisions With the right RTU in place, operators at the SCADA interface can supervise operations by setting new key performance indicators (KPI) or updating instructions examples include open/close or start/stop. RTUs can then act upon these commands and manage assets locally. With this accurate, real-time data, management teams can make moreinformed and better decisions. When critical devices run in remote locations, it’s inevitable that communications will fail regularly. However, RTUs can manage this. For instance, the data an RTU collects can be used to support maintenance decisions and to verify that environmental obligations are being adhered to.

Because they do everything locally, RTUs continue to run if communications break down. Historian capabilities mean the device maintains a historical log and reports back on it later. RTUs can support operators, benefit maintenance teams, health and safety initiatives and environmental management. It’s clear that RTUs offer a solution for many of the common issues facing pipeline operators - whether structural failures or pressure monitoring, asset optimization or logging critical data in remote locations. Through a careful choice of RTUs, operators can improve efficiency, environmental protection and personnel safety. If you found this article interesting, take a look at Ovarro’s RTUs in action in one of its oil and gas case studies: https://www.ovarro.com/ en/europe/case-studies/. For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.

MATTHEW HAWKRIDGE Matthew Hawkridge is chief technology officer at Ovarro. Ovarro is the new name for Servelec Technologies and Primayer. Ovarro’s technology is used throughout the world to monitor, control and manage critical and national infrastructure. Its connected technology is always there, always on. Secure, proven, trusted; integrating seamlessly with clients’ assets. Collecting and communicating data from some of the most remote locations and harshest environments on the planet. Enabling businesses to work smarter and more effectively. Ovarro works with customers across water, oil & gas, broadcast and transportation to help monitor, control and manage their assets. For further information please visit: www.ovarro.com

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Undergoing

transformation

DIGITAL MATURITY – THE VALUE OF THE TOOLS FOR TOMORROW. BY JACO VERMEULEN

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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

There have been some early, awkward attempts at assessing the technological maturity of a business before it undertakes a digital transformation. These have typically focused on the ‘digital assets’ of a company, limited to websites, search rankings etc. This is, however, woefully inadequate for most businesses.

To be of any real use, digital maturity must encompass the impact of digital on how a business operates, both now and in line with future plans. In a modern, integrated, datadriven world, businesses need to become more automated and make extensive use of technology to do so – this is at the core of digital transformation success.

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This cannot be understated. There are traditional specialist tasks that are no longer attractive to a younger generation – anything from invoice processing to demand forecasting to route planning to workforce optimisation, insurance claims processing and payouts; invoice validation; or tracking components and stock through production, warehousing, and distribution. These are not tasks that it would be nice to replace by automation, they are tasks that MUST be replaced by automation. But that process cannot begin without an awareness of the current state of the business: hence the need for digital maturity assessments.

What does digital maturity look like? This realization promotes an immediate set of questions: l How connected, integrated, and automated is the business? l How are ways of working tied to data? l How does the business operate from a technological perspective? l Are the tools and systems fit for the current job AND future objectives? l Does the business have the right tools, systems? l Are all technology and services appropriately licensed or contracted? l What is the data or compliance exposure to risk? l Are there security risks? This can be understood as a digital iceberg. Typically, most assessments of digital maturity focus on that which

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can be seen above the water, exemplified by online customer interfaces, some business intelligence, analytics, and machine learning. But most of the value of the transformation project lies beneath the water as technology determines operational, supply chain and even HR issues. For example, the implementation of a new ERP system within Total offered the opportunity to revisit processes, operating models and services throughout distribution, sales, stock and replenishment. Technology was leveraged to automate the monitoring of fuel levels across a diverse portfolio of locations, including forecourts, airports and ports. The huge leaps in value were then delivered by developing a predictive supply capability fed by sensorbased, on-site data capture. The project also used IoT for maintenance of the assets, driving further value as proactive and strategic maintenance saves both cost and time of downtime. This example shows that it is critical that businesses explore – at quite some depth – the anticipated state of the business in the coming three to five years, and ensure that technology is there to support those changes. All too often assessments are made without consideration to the deeper issues such as code development, security, and data flow that may develop beyond the first 12-18 month period. This gives a very static picture of the digital maturity of a company at any one point in time, rather than future value of efficiencies and opportunities, or indeed the risks that may arise.


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Applying this to industry: case study Our client is a utility infrastructure asset owner and operator, specializing in gas and electricity networks. They have over half a million connections in the UK across both residential and industrial markets. Amidst some of the most buoyant conditions for housebuilding seen in the past three decades, it became critical for our client to be able to onboard new assets and customers quickly, with minimal friction. However, our client was restricted by manual, inefficient paper-based processes, and systems. Poor data quality was endemic and ageing systems were not integrated, leading to a great deal of duplicated effort. This was particularly acute within the finance function where there were multiple occasions of the same documentation both in paper form and stored in different systems. With no online capabilities and all the systems only accessible at a single office location, our client suffered from huge silos of information and fragmented operations. Off-line, manual processes led to substantial issues with customer experience, seen in high customer attrition and a lack of visibility into the value of any given account. BML Digital installed a technology figurehead and initiated a complete strategic objectives review. This included both an assessment of the operational model and business functions, as well as a ‘current state’ IT review. From this, we proposed a change approach with an investment plan that would deliver defined phases of change with incremental improvements. This plan included the specification of technology solutions, supplier onboarding as well as technology leadership and change coaching with the establishment of a dedicated change team. We then tackled these processes to ensure compliance and governance, throughout both supplier and programme management.

The outcomes from this digital transformation programme have included: n The establishment of a core, foundational cloud native IT capability that enabled uninterrupted business operations during Covid-19 disruptions n A reduced need for headcount n The implementation of a seamlessly integrated Microsoft-based enterprise applications platform for customer, operations, and finance capabilities n The complete integration of necessary legacy systems and third-party services n Better collaboration across the workforce, with faster operations and reporting n A substantial improvement in customer service leading to lower attrition n Far greater visibility into both finance and operational departments Most critically, our client is now able to capitalise on an incredibly active market with consistent, standardised business practices that have formed the basis of growth.

JACO VERMEULEN Jaco Vermeulen is CTO at BML Digital. BML Digital is a consultancy that demystifies digital transformation. It simplifies the technologies most relevant to modern business to deliver focused, powerful, pragmatic, and effective digital strategy and transformation to some of the biggest names in commerce. For further information please visit: http://www.bmldigital.com

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Climate Change, Net Zero and Minerals

CHARLES BOND AND NAOMI SANDER LOOK AT THE ROLE OF MINERALS IN THE GLOBAL NET ZERO TRANSITION

Shifting to renewable energy sources plays a major part in global efforts to mitigate climate change. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement, renewable energy consumption has increased at a year-to-year rate of around ten percent. However, to continue to meet on-going targets, investment will be needed in the further wide-scale adoption

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of low-carbon energy alternatives, especially in light of the government’s long-awaited transport decarbonization plan that was announced recently. A low-carbon future isn’t possible without significant access to key minerals. Wind, solar and energy storage batteries are particularly reliant upon minerals. However,


MINERALS minerals required for the clean energy shift are more material intensive than traditional fossil-fuel-based alternatives. The 2015 Agreement climate stabilization targets require quadrupling mineral requirements for clean energy technologies by 2040. While new opportunities will arise for mining companies and mineral-rich countries, significant challenges will need to be overcome in mineral price volatility, mineral supply equity and resource sustainability.

The role of minerals in renewable technologies The most commonly used minerals here are aluminum (including its key constituent bauxite), chromium, copper, iron ore, lithium, lead, manganese, molybdenum, silver, steel, zinc and the rare earth metal indium. Below is an overview of the key mineral requirements of the three most important elements of renewable energy technology: wind power, solar power and battery storage technology. Wind Power The wind turbine industry predominantly uses geared turbines with coil-driven generators that require significant amounts of copper. They also require aluminum, chromium, iron, manganese, nickel, steel and zinc. Solar Power The most commonly produced Solar Photovoltaic (PV) cells are crystalline silicon, followed by copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), cadmium telluride (CdTe) and amorphous silicon/amorphous silicon-germanium. Energy Storage Batteries There are many technologies for energy storage batteries, including the two most popular forms – lead-acid and lithium-ion – and a variety of other battery chemistries, including nickel-metal-hydride and sodium-sulphur.

Increasing global demand for minerals: new opportunities for mining companies and mineral rich-countries The average amount of minerals needed for a new unit of power generation capacity has increased by 50 percent as the share of renewables has risen. As renewable energy technology demand continues to increase, so will demand for the necessary minerals. Under a 2-degree scenario (2DS) the production of graphite, lithium and cobalt will need to increase from 2018 levels by over 450 percent by 2050 to meet demand from energy storage technologies. Experts predict this global 2DC low-carbon switch will require $1.7 trillion of additional investment by mining companies over the next 15 years. The projections do not include the associated infrastructure needed to deploy renewable energy technologies, such as transmission lines and gas pipelines or that needed to support green societies, such as fully electrified public transport. As growth in demand for minerals soars, supply chains will need to keep up. The demand for renewable energy technology is global

but the required mining map of mineral resources required for these technologies is not. India is dominant in iron, steel and titanium. China’s position in mineral resources dwarfs that of other countries, including Canada and the US. In 2015 China was producing 32m metric tons of aluminum smelter. Russia was next with 3.5m metric tons produced. The map of untapped mining reserves is much broader with untapped pockets of the world holding huge amounts of resources. The largest share in 95 percent of world chromium resources, for example, are in Kazakhstan. More than 50 percent of global cobalt reserves are in Congo. The result is significant growth opportunities in supply for both mining companies and the currently under-served and under-producing mineral-rich nations. Latin America is in an excellent position to play a crucial role in global supplies of climate-friendly technology minerals. The continent holds particularly significant reserves of copper, iron, silver, lithium, aluminum, nickel, manganese and zinc. Africa has significant opportunity in supply, with large reserves of platinum, manganese, bauxite and chromium. Guinea alone holds 26 percent of known global reserves of bauxite, but is currently only responsible for 6.5 percent of global production. Developing countries overall hold 94 percent of the world’s bauxite reserves, 100 percent of chromium reserves, 67 percent of cobalt reserves and 46 percent of copper reserves. There is opportunity for investment in mining and mineral production in regions that have historically struggled to capture significant components of global supply chains. Better mapping of minerals in Global South countries will create more opportunities to develop sustainable mining in resource-rich countries, where mapping technology is currently weak compared with resource-rich Global North countries.

Challenges of demand and price volatility For investors, predicting mineral demand will be challenging. Demand patterns will shift with the evolution of our energy systems, market innovations and selected different designs for similar technologies. Part of the challenge of mapping supply and demand patterns will be predicting technology choices. If, for example, amorphous becomes the preferred solar technology, demand in minerals will be slower than if the mineral intensive crystalline silicon solar PV installations were to win the battle for the market in that technology. If hydrogen takes off as expected, the need for platinum, iridium and titanium for electrolysers will intensify. Concentrated minerals such as graphite and cobalt with fewer technological uses may be subject to higher demand uncertainty, particularly if technologies change. For cobalt, demand could increase by up to 30 times depending on the evolution of battery chemistry and climate policies. Minerals with applications across numerous renewable energy technologies, are likely to maintain significant demand. Current investors looking for opportunities see coal production revenues ten times larger than the energy transition materials. However, continued strength in global climate change policies would result in revenues from energy transition material overtaking coal by 2040. The significant

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increase in demand for minerals will have a knock-on effect on the affordability of those minerals. Plotting the effect of rising mineral prices on demand will be a key element in predicting mineral investment opportunities in the renewable energy transition.

A super cycle for minerals? The phenomenal rise in demand for minerals is not slowing and predictions for future usage are staggering. The Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI) index of lithium prices climbed 59 percent between April 2020 and May 2021; BMI also forecast lithium demand to more than triple between 2020 and 2025, rising to a million tons and outpacing supply by 200,000 tons. Nickel usage is predicted to grow seven-fold to 240,000 tons in 2023, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent. Graphite usage has increased 233 percent between 2020 and 2021. All of this growth is a result of recent increases in electric vehicle production alone. Are we heading for a super-cycle? The need for minerals for renewable energy technology and its infrastructure will only become more urgent as we head towards climate change target dates. Although China is beginning to slow, it still outpaces all other nations on infrastructure spend. The US has been lacking in spending on infrastructure for decades, but is changing. President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure stimulus plan will be the beginning. Total US infrastructure investment needs are estimated to be closer to $3.8 trillion. Yet as this demand soars, supply dwindles. It seems

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difficult to conceive of how to avoid a significantly prolonged period of rising prices, supported by phenomenal demand and limited supply. The drivers behind rising mineral requirements require unprecedented levels of long-term supply of minerals that are not mapped and ready to extract. The length of this super-cycle hinges on the ability of government and industry investment, so future supply has a chance of meeting demand.

Mineral supply equity and resource sustainability This increasing demand for minerals for renewable energy technology will pose a challenge for mineral supply equity and resource sustainability, with long-term impacts from supply chains of non-renewable resources and the potential for an increased risk of environmental and human harm resulting from increased intensive mining of minerals. Addressing these challenges will require a correlation of thought and action between the mining-metal industry, climate and environmental groups and clean energy technology actors. Historically the law of natural resources, including minerals, focused on facilitating extraction rather than protection and sustainability. Contemporary governance, however, is more attuned to both efficiency (reducing waste and unintended consequences) and equity (fairness in control and distribution) in mineral mining. Now, organizations such as the Goa Foundation in South India, are fighting for, and winning, legal recognition of rights of intergenerational equity in mineral mining. Now there


MINERALS is global consensus: sustainable development of mineral resources must meet contemporary needs, without compromising the needs of future generations. Respecting this sustainable development whilst riding the wave of increases in mineral demands, will require recognition of the fundamental rights that can be impeded by unsustainable mineral practices. Respect for indigenous land rights, genuine efforts in local community and stakeholder participation and preventing environmental contamination, will be at the top of the sustainability agenda in mineral mining. Significant political instability in areas with significant mineral reserves, instability likely to only increase as mineral demand rises, will also pose a significant challenge. This challenge not only impedes the attractiveness of investments and ease of doing business in certain regions, but also has foundational implications for the human development and well-being of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Beyond external impact, pressure is also building from government and policy groups, such as the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), for the decarbonization of mining companies. Long-term mineral supply will require climate change risk adaptation policies that address the sector’s particular challenges, such as assets that are particularly vulnerable to the volatile weather patterns that will arise from changes in global temperatures. One of the biggest current environmental concerns of mineral-intensive renewable energy technologies comes from the recycling of these minerals following the end-of-life of these products. Currently, recycling rates are only positive for iron and steel. Increasing rates of recycling of these metals could improve supply and sustainability but further research and attention is needed here, as recycling rates are currently poor. Reuse of minerals will play a key role in meeting future mineral demand. If, for example, end of life recovery and reuse of aluminum were to increase to 100 percent, there would be a reduction of 25 percent in global production needs. However, reuse rates vary greatly across minerals due to technological and cost issues. This is one area where increased policy measures can incentivize global action and mitigate some concerns. If there is no mitigation of the potentially harmful environmental and social effects of mineral production, clean energy technologies may not continue to have the same level of global support that they have today. Regional innovators in clean technology, such as Green Lithium in the UK, are working with strategic partners to develop clean and low-carbon processing of minerals for regional needs. Alternatives to traditional energy storage technologies, such as liquid energy storage, are developing. Globally, programs like the World Bank Climate Smart Mining Initiative will play a key role in marrying the opportunities and challenges of ensuring a stable and sustainable supply of minerals for renewable energy technologies, whilst limiting the carbon and environmental footprints of the associated increase in mineral production.

Conclusions There is a huge opportunity for valuable and equitable investment in mining and mineral-resource rich countries to support global support for renewable energy technologies. To ensure that this opportunity develops in a manner that is sustainable and equitable will require an open dialogue between the climate, clean energy and extractive industry communities, to allow for effective alignment of the mineral and renewable energy sectors to meet the net zero targets. Corporate, governments and policy leaders will need to take an active role in mitigating mineral investment risk to ensure adequate flow of capital into the sustainable mining needed to support the net zero transition. For a list of the sources and references used in this article, please contact the editor.

CHARLES BOND Charles Bond is a natural resources partner at international law firm, Gowling WLG. With more than 1,400 legal professionals in 19 cities worldwide, Gowling WLG provides clients with in-depth expertise in key global sectors and a suite of legal services at home and abroad. It sees the world through its clients’ eyes, and collaborates across countries, offices, service areas and sectors to help them succeed, no matter how challenging the circumstances. Gowling WLG (UK) LLP is a member of Gowling WLG. For further information please visit: www.gowlingwlg.com

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Safe

storage

MARTIN FOLEY DISCUSSES PROTECTION FROM LITHIUM-ION BATTERY FIRES AND EXPLOSION

While lithium-ion battery technology development has advanced over the last few decades, it has also presented new fire and explosion risks. For industrial environments, the proper storage and risk management of lithium-ion batteries is therefore critical. For the purposes of this article, we will address issues associated with small batteries, which are typically used in

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electronic devices and hand tools, and larger format batteries, used in mobile equipment such as lift trucks and vehicles. Each lithium-ion battery consists of cells, in which lithium is the agent for an electrochemical reaction that produces energy. When discharging, lithium ions in the battery cell move from the anode (the negative electrode) to the cathode (the positive electrode) through an electrolytic substance,


BATTERIES which is typically a liquid or gel and results in the release of energy from the battery. The process is reversed when the battery is being charged, with ions moving from the cathode to the anode.

Potential safety risks As well as many benefits, there are potential safety risks related to thermal stability and internal short circuits, which can cause overheating and even explosion. Safety problems arise due to poor design, the use of low-quality materials, incorrect assembly, or damage. Even for lithium-ion batteries with integrated safety features, an unanticipated breach in the battery separator material can result in a high current that overheats the battery’s electrolyte. While battery manufacturers and developers are continually improving lithium-ion battery design and performance, this can make them more vulnerable to small manufacturing defects or internal damage from the physical impact with another object. Variations in battery design, and the quality of materials and manufacture can also cause potential safety risks. Of course, this problem will be magnified if large quantities of batteries are stored on-site or transported between industrial facilities.

Reduce the risks Fortunately, there are important steps that operators can take to reduce the risks, including ensuring that the facility is equipped with suitable sprinklers. Idle batteries in storage are not typically subject to internal ignition. However, large-scale testing has shown that lithium-ion batteries behave similarly to unexpanded plastic commodities in a fire. Therefore, sprinkler protection should be provided. Fully charged lithium-ion batteries have a higher energy density and are therefore at greater risk of generating significant heat from short circuiting caused by internal defects. It is therefore important to ensure that lithium-ion batteries stored in the longer-term are charged at levels below 50 per cent charge capacity and kept at temperatures between 4-27°C. This will help to minimize the risk of thermal runaway from manufacturing defects or internal failures. While usually safe, as lithium-ion battery charging can cause safety problems, stations designated for charging large format batteries should be separated from other combustible materials by at least one meter. For larger format batteries, such as those used in mobile equipment, battery chargers and batteries being charged should be separated from other combustible contents by at least one meter. Stations used for charging small format batteries should be set on a firm, non-combustible surface and be separated from other combustible materials by at least 30 centimeters. Before disposing of damaged or unwanted lithium-ion batteries, in waste bins for example, their battery terminals should be covered with insulating material. This will help to ensure that the terminals do not accidentally come in contact with metal or other battery contacts that could close the battery circuit and result in an unintended energy discharge.

Likewise, bins holding damaged or discarded batteries should be separated by at least three meters from all other storage areas, as well as bins holding other potentially combustible materials. This separation will help to reduce the risk of spreading a fire that might originate amongst discarded or waste batteries. In addition, these bins should be metal and have metal lids whenever practical. Internal components and mechanisms in lithium-ion batteries are highly susceptible to physical or mechanical damage when the battery is subject to a severe external force or when it is dropped on a hard surface. Any external evidence of damage should therefore trigger concerns about a battery’s internal integrity, and it should be safely disposed of in bins intended solely for damaged batteries. For larger format batteries, such as mobile equipment batteries, ensure that battery chargers and batteries being charged are separated from other combustible contents by at least three meters. As lithium-ion batteries bring so many positive benefits to product innovation, they will continue to evolve as manufacturers seek new ways to increase battery density and reduce size. Therefore, the safety of lithium-ion battery technology will continue to be investigated to address unexpected hazards that emerge. As we learn more about the risks associated with the use, bulk storage and recycling of lithium-ion batteries, changes in standards and best practices can be expected to change as well. It is therefore vital that the safety of lithium-ion battery technology and its storage remains under scrutiny so that these evolving hazards can be addressed.

MARTIN FOLEY Martin Foley is Senior Manager at TÜV SÜD, one of the world’s leading experts in product testing and certification, with 150,000 product certificates in circulation globally. Its Product Service division analyses over 20,000 products each year in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, using its technical expertise to help customers optimize market access. For further information please visit: www.tuvsud.com/en-us

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NEWS

£10m renewables package Keltbray has been awarded a £10m renewables contract to deliver the design and construction of a windfarm connection for SSEN Transmission at Limekiln, Caithness in the Highlands of Scotland. The project will be delivered by Keltbray as Principal Contractor and the scope includes all civil and electrical design and build elements associated with the connection. On-site construction is expected to commence in July ’22, with the target energisation date for the windfarm as April ’24.

New contract Jumbo Maritime has awarded Fugro a positioning and metocean services contract to help guide the safe transport and installation of a new floating production system (FPS) for Vito, a deepwater development in the US Gulf of Mexico. Fugro services will support both inshore and offshore towing of the 24,000-ton structure as it leaves the coast of Texas and travels 800 km to the Vito field for final positioning and hook-up. The project is expected to be executed in summer 2022.

Growth plan Solenis, a leading global producer of specialty chemicals, has acquired Neu Kimya Anonim ¸ Sirketi (Neu Kimya). Located in Istanbul, Turkey, Neu Kimya serves the heavy/light water treatment and oil and gas markets in Turkey, Southeast Europe and the Middle East. The acquisition of Neu Kimya will offer customers in the region improved product and service offerings. “This new acquisition adds to our strategic growth plan following our recent ownership change to Platinum Equity,” said John Panichella, CEO, Solenis. “With the ongoing support from the Platinum Equity team, we continue to proactively seek other opportunities for similar acquisitions that enhance our ability to serve customers.”

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US solar deal Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has chosen Exus Management Partners (Exus), a leading expert in powering sustainable investments through operational excellence, to provide its full range of asset management services for the Greasewood, Misae, and Sage solar projects across Texas and Utah, totaling 750MW. The deal takes Exus’ partnership with CIP in North America to over 2GW across wind and solar, with CIP having previously appointed Exus as asset manager at the 477MW Fighting Jays solar farm in Texas and the 700MW Travers solar project in Alberta - Canada’s largest solar farm. The agreement marks the beginning of Exus’ relationship with Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ingka Group, a strategic partner in the IKEA franchise system. Ingka Investments is part-owner of the Misae and Sage projects. The recently signed deal incorporates a five-year initial term allowing Exus to fully demonstrate its scope of asset and financial management, operations and maintenance, and project management services. Both solar and wind projects require high levels of technical expertise to manage effectively. Exus’ in-house team of specialists will offer CIP advice and access to the company’s custom solar optimization and reporting tool BlueSky, giving CIP complete oversight and enabling it to analyze, maximize and set performance benchmarks across all three projects. Dhaval Bhalodia, Partner and Head of Asset Management North America at Exus, noted that the business is excited to continue building its relationship with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, and begin its journey with Ingka Investments, in the US renewables space.

Mine of information Hexagon’s Mining division has strengthened its leadership in production material monitoring and measurement by introducing HxGN MineMeasure Detect, a 3D camera hardware, software and data solution. MineMeasure Detect enables realtime optimization for plant production with automated digital-image analysis offering continuous, accurate and rapid measurement of oversize, volume, rock fragmentation and color analysis. MineMeasure Detect minimizes production interruptions and costly downtime with oversize detection of large particles. It enhances production efficiencies and reconciliation by calculating volume, density and tonnage. Advanced detection reveals an aggregate of previously unmeasured ancillary variables, such as material density and hardness, which is essential to throughput maximization and ore liberation. “MineMeasure Detect is built on more than 25 years’ experience partnering with international mining operations, allowing systems to be fully integrated with customer technologies,” said James Dampney, VP-MineMeasure, Hexagon’s Mining division. “Combined with our fragmentation tools, the solution’s immediate detection capabilities offer a critical early warning for operators to avoid catastrophic production stoppages. “With its image-analysis techniques ensuring that fragmentation is managed and optimized, MineMeasure Detect fits seamlessly in the MineMeasure portfolio, which delivers scrutiny and transparency in every step of the ore extraction journey.”

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Energy solution

Rising to the challenge The world’s largest offshore wind farm is about to become operational off the UK coast, with all 165 of its giant 8MW turbines being protected from the ravages of the North Sea by coatings supplied by AkzoNobel. Located around 89 kilometers off the east coast of England, Hornsea 2 is due to be up and running by mid-2022. It has the capacity to produce more than 1.3 gigawatts of energy – enough to power over 1.3 million homes. The foundations of all the turbines (which tower 204 meters above sea level) have been coated with Interzone 954 from the company’s International brand. Originally designed for the demanding protection of offshore oil and gas structures, the product has now also become the go-to solution for offshore wind farms. “It’s fantastic to be involved in such an ambitious project with this kind of size and scale,” says Simon Parker, Director of AkzoNobel’s Marine and Protective Coatings business. “As the world moves to a greener and more sustainable future, it’s essential that vital infrastructure isn’t just fit for purpose, but is equipped for the long-term as well.”

Emissions reduction at Plock ABB, working alongside Hyundai Engineering and Técnicas Reunidas, has been employed to install its market leading distributed control system (DCS) ABB Ability™ System 800xA at PKN Orlen’s Olefin III complex in Plock, Poland. The project is Europe’s largest petrochemical investment in 20 years. Olefin III will increase production capacity by approximately 60 per cent and represents a $3 billion investment, expanding the existing site by 100 hectares. By integrating ABB Ability™ System 800xA control architecture across the entire mega development, PKN Orlen will be able to constantly monitor and analyze plant productivity, maximizing asset performance, managing power consumption, ensuring product quality, and optimizing process efficiency in real time. Harnessing this continuous stream of data, the company, in line with its objective to achieve a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per ton of product, will be able to make more accurate, informed decisions to drive efficient use of energy. This includes maintaining tight controls over raw material consumption, plant energy levels and waste by-products. “As part of our sustainability strategy, ABB is committed to supporting our customers in reducing their annual CO2 emissions by more than 100 megatons by 2030. Combining our expertise in the market alongside our leading DCS technology for complex plant operations we can help PKN Orlen to maximize its return on investment,” said Brandon Spencer, President ABB Energy Industries.

Briggs & Stratton Energy Solutions has released its SimpliPHI Energy Storage System (ESS): an integrated, scalable solution with proprietary hardware and software designed to empower customers to store, manage and control energy from multiple generation sources to achieve critical power security and daily cost savings. Named after SimpliPhi Power, Inc. (SimpliPhi Power) - the California-based manufacturer of energy storage systems acquired by Briggs & Stratton, LLC in 2021 - the all-new integrated ESS comes as an answer to the rising demand for access to reliable, safe and affordable energy serving both residential and commercial markets. “Both Briggs & Stratton and SimpliPhi Power have a longstanding history of providing energy solutions built with quality and dependability as the highest priority. Coming together as one company, we’ve successfully leveraged the team’s complementary expertise to deliver more choice and more control than ever before so our customers have access to power when it matters most,” said Tom Rugg, senior vice president and president, Energy Solutions at Briggs & Stratton. “Our energy storage solutions are held to industry-leading standards. From the chemistry, form factor and manufacturing processes of the batteries to the testing and validation requirements on behalf of our customers, we seek to provide a safer and more reliable solution,” added Catherine Von Burg, president and CEO, SimpliPhi Power.

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Photo: Anglo American

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Coal today, gone

tomorrow

JEAN-PAUL HARREMAN TAKES A LOOK AT THE FUTURE PROSPECTS OF COAL-FIRED POWER

Countries across the world are currently trying to make their electricity supplies more environmentally friendly, primarily by producing more power from renewable sources and reducing the amount produced by fossil fuels. However, this has posed some difficult challenges – namely, keeping to planned timelines for ending coal-fired power whilst meeting future electricity demand. In Britain, this is not so much of a problem. Only around two per cent of this region’s electricity output comes from coal and the phasing out of this fuel source looks set to be achieved, as planned, by 2024. Germany, on the other hand, is facing a much stiffer challenge to cease producing coal by 2030 – eight years earlier than originally anticipated. Currently, coal is strongly entrenched in German energy systems so it would need a significant

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increase in renewable capacity to fill the future demand gap left by declining coal generation and the ongoing decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Also, such a fundamental change in the power supply will have consequences in the wholesale and balancing markets and requires smart allocation of resources – otherwise there may be greater electricity price volatility as well as potential threats to security of supply and grid stability. The process of greening up the world’s electricity supply has also been made more challenging due to the geopolitical instability in eastern Europe. EnAppSys data shows that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent wholesale gas prices in Europe soaring to record levels in the first quarter this year. This made gas-fired generation less attractive and increased Europe’s reliance on coal to offset a fall in nuclear generation and lower-than-usual levels of hydro output.


COAL For now, we need coal as a baseload supply along with gas. I don’t see Germany, Poland and some central and eastern European countries meeting demand without coal generation. As more renewable capacity is built, more flexible generation or storage will be needed to counter the intermittency of solar (on a daily basis) and wind (for longer periods). Low start-up costs and major flexibility will be crucial in most countries with heavy renewable development, but this will not be provided by coal. In countries where renewable development is currently lagging, some form of baseload generation may be necessary. Is this going to be coal? Maybe, but even relatively poor countries are looking to invest in alternatives to coal. Would a complete phase-out of coal lead to too much reliance on gas and/or nuclear to fill the gaps in periods of low renewable generation? The main question there is: how big would those gaps be and how long would they remain? Filling the gaps around renewables requires very fast ramping speeds as can be observed in the British and Netherlands markets. Coal is much less suited for this than gas or pumped storage. A high baseload generation, be it with nuclear or coal, can lead to inflexibility and extreme (negative and positive) price fluctuations that we’ve seen recently in Belgium and France. A lower reliance on gas is politically important at the moment, but the climate consequences of keeping coal online are significant. With a large share of the public (and the politicians they vote for) rejecting the use of coal for power generation, the energy transition may well speed up, introducing new fuels and other types of flexibility. So, ultimately, does coal have a future? In the short term, yes; in the long term, no. The political direction of Europe and beyond is clear and public opinion is also clear: while coal/lignite generation is currently tolerated, it’s clear that this is seen as a necessary evil to cope with the current energy crisis. There’s simply no support for keeping coal plants open any longer than absolutely necessary.

All of this emphasizes that, in the short term, market circumstances indicate a need for coal-fired generation. With low French nuclear generation and the planned nuclear phase-outs in Germany and Belgium, together with super high gas prices, limited LNG capacity and a potential shut-down of Russian gas flows, it appears that Europe cannot do without coal for the moment. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) clearly indicates that climate goals cannot be met if coal generation is not significantly scaled down. This means that in the mid to long-term, coal must shut down to meet climate goals. In the context of the Ukrainian war, there’s a tendency to reduce dependency on Russian gas, but also a strong reluctance to fill the gap with coal generation. The war may even become a strong catalyst for a faster decarbonization effort across Europe.

JEAN-PAUL HARREMAN Jean-Paul Harreman is director of EnAppSys BV. He established EnAppSys BV in the Netherlands in February 2017 and since then has grown the company’s presence across Europe, building a solid customer base for EnAppSys’ popular IT platform. The business is a highly respected provider of data, consultancy and information services to companies in the energy and power generation markets. These services are used by generators, stakeholders, suppliers and traders to improve their understanding and maximize the value they are able to extract from the market. For further information please visit: www.enappsys.com

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Putting the pieces

together

THREE PRACTICAL STEPS MINING BUSINESSES CAN TAKE TO ACCELERATE DIGITALIZATION. BY JOSEPH GALDES

Digitalization is like completing a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece by itself won’t complete the scene. Only when you start putting the pieces together will the big picture become clear to you. You might already have a vision or a guide for how the completed puzzle should look – an end goal to achieve. But that doesn’t guarantee success. You still need to put in the work to bring it all together. And that’s where the challenge lies for the mining industry. Operators have access to the digital tools that can drive productivity, safety and sustainability. Still, many are unsure how to bring them together to achieve their vision for the future of mining.

The digital canary is already deep in the mine For mining businesses, digital transformation is no longer a case of ‘if’ or ‘when’. ‘How’ is the question on everyone’s minds.

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Digital technology is already transforming mining. For instance, tools already in use include sensor networks that enable predictive maintenance to prevent vehicle and equipment failure, real-time GPS systems that track machine utilization to improve efficiency. And you can’t have missed the various stories about operators using drones to map out their sites. It’s not like the options aren’t there. Shell solutions like MachineMax and OREN are already helping operators overcome their major challenges through digital innovation1,2. The desire to adopt these new tools exists as well. Businesses are keen to make progress on their digital transformation journeys. In fact, our latest research highlights how seven out of ten mining leaders see it as an urgent priority3. So, what are the barriers standing in the way of their digital vision?


MINING

Legacy systems are holding back progress A major issue for many is that, while they’re keen to accelerate digitalization, it’s a difficult ask. And it comes down to not knowing how to combine the old with the new. Existing systems pose a challenge, with 94 percent of mining companies saying that legacy infrastructure is a barrier to further digitalisation1. Also, 84 percent are struggling to navigate the complex mix of digital solutions available to them1. To overcome these barriers, operators need practical tools and solutions that meet their specific individual needs and budgets. They also need to understand how to build links between the new solutions they’re adopting and the existing systems they’re often continuing to invest in.

The three next steps your business should take All of this is easier said than done. However, there are three practical steps that mining businesses can take to start piecing their digital jigsaw puzzles together: 1. Create a digital roadmap I know. This might sound like a backwards step to some, but it’s vital. If you jump ahead too quickly, your next steps will be difficult. So, before you start looking at all the exciting digital tools that could transform your operations, you need to answer some vital questions. Firstly, what problems are you trying to solve? What are the use cases for these new tools? How do you need them to interact with your other systems, and what happens if it doesn’t? How will your digital ecosystem enable and accelerate meeting your strategic goals? These aren’t the only elements to think about, but the answers will help you make more informed choices when you select your solutions. 2. Choose solutions that meet evolving needs With a clear understanding of the problems to solve and the digital gaps to fill, you’ll have a much better chance of finding the right solutions for your needs today and tomorrow. Also, you’ll be able to have much clearer conversations with suppliers about the tools you need, reducing the risk of choosing the wrong solution. This means, when exploring the digital marketplace, you can assemble a package of proven and vetted technologies. A package you can be confident will meet your specific requirements and work alongside your existing systems. 3. Integrate solutions intelligently It’s worth remembering that there’s no single solution that can resolve every issue. This means you’ll need a way to bring a range of tools and platforms together. And to do that, you don’t even need to integrate the solutions themselves. Instead, you can integrate the data behind them – simplifying the process by avoiding the need to create

anything new. This makes it easier for you to connect new solutions to your existing systems (because, in some cases, you’ll already have the technology you need). It also means that any time you adopt a new digital tool, you can simply link it to the rest of your set-up through the data.

Accelerating your digital journey with intelligent integration Intelligent integration of solutions is vital to any operator’s digital transformation journey. After all, the conversation doesn’t stop when you’ve implemented one solution. You need the ability to future-proof your business and add extra tools as new challenges arise. Integration via data can help you to do that. And, by making a complex process simpler, it can drastically reduce the time it takes you to link your digital tools. Some customers we’ve worked with on this have seen what would have been four-year programs completed in just three months using intelligent integration4. It can also play a role in helping you to decarbonise your operations. In this area, you need to understand and monitor on-site emissions, so it’s all about being able to gather and analyze data. Link the right tools and you can create the ability to do this in real-time – giving you the insights to inform decision making and drive impactful actions. No doubt you have a vision for what the future of your business could look like. Now you need to put together the pieces of your digitalization jigsaw to make it a reality. 1 https://machinemax.com/pages/customers 2 https://www.orensolutions.com/s/integrations 3 Based on a survey of 300 global industrial business leaders carried out by Shell and Edelman Data Intelligence in June 2021 4 https://www.shell.com/business-customers/lubricants-for-business/ perspectives/mark-hannan.html

JOSEPH GALDES Joseph Galdes is Associate Global Sector Manager for Mining, Shell. Shell Lubricant Solutions works with organizations to deliver more value while maximizing profits and minimizing the negative impact through its end-to-end lubrication and services offering. No matter the industry or challenge, Shell Lubricant Solutions has a complete offering of products, services, and expertise to enable customers to put their potential in motion to get the most from their equipment, people, and processes. Find out more about how digital transformation is driving decision making in mining with our Under Pressure: Leading in Paradox Industries research report: https://shell.com/leadershipreport

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Better insights,

faster

THE FAST-CHANGING WORLD OF GEO-DATA. BY JAMES FAROPPA

The Geo-data service industry is undergoing a period of transformation. Demand for renewable energy is soaring, and the Geo-data requirements of these emerging industries are rapidly changing how geophysical and geotechnical data, is acquired and analyzed.

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Offshore windfarms especially have advanced rapidly as operators, governments and society alike demand clean, secure and low-cost domestic energy. An increasing number of new projects and expedited timelines for existing projects have dramatically increased the volume of data that is required.


GEO-DATA

A challenging offshore environment The holding costs of licenses awarded in the recent global license rounds increases the pressure on developers to accelerate timelines. This is happening across the globe as the geography for the offshore wind farm market is growing; the Mediterranean is opening up and around Northern

Europe projects are expanding beyond just the North Sea. Additionally, floating wind projects are currently being bid for aggressively and require an entirely different blend of Geo-data to minimize risk in their foundation design, installation and operation. There is also an increasingly acute challenge emerging

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between offshore developers and electrical companies when it comes to the issue of connectivity and energy supply. There have been recent innovations focused on addressing this challenge, in 2021 Denmark announced the construction of the world’s first energy islands, creating better connections between energy generated from offshore wind and the energy systems in the region. While this is an important step forward, these connectivity issues will continue to present an ongoing challenge to the delivery of a fully integrated energy industry. Across these challenges one theme is clear - the need for efficient and effective Geo-data acquisition and analysis. Without reliable and timely Geo-data offshore windfarm developers could put project timelines and economics at risk. The Geo-data parameters to measure and how much to acquire also needs to be critically assessed to meet time and cost objectives. The increasing scale of wind farms and the variable foundation design options, compounded by the new theme of floating wind, demands the need for Geo-consultants to be integrated as early as possible with the operation team. There is no single global solution. The correct combination of geophysical and geotechnical data is key when considering the ground conditions

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and the proposed foundation types. This will dictate the investigation and characterization plan for the site.

Better insights faster There is a time related cost associated with all offshore development projects – and developers need innovation to drive better insights faster. The demand for accurate data, delivered at speed, is fueling an industry wide shift towards remote solutions, powered by technology. Remote and autonomous, uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), are at the forefront of this technology shift. These uncrewed vessels have obvious HSE benefits, reducing the need for engineers to go offshore with the elevated risk this brings and instead work from the safety of remote operation centers. While improved safety and overall carbon reduction are fantastic benefits of these vessels, another key aspect is the way they are changing entire processes and people’s roles within them. Geoscientists are now able to sit onshore, analyzing data in real time as it is collected by the remote vessel, allowing their time and expertise to influence more projects. A future powered by remote technology requires exceptional data management and data communication


GEO-DATA

from acquisition teams through to decision makers. The data captured by these vessels can be delivered in almost real-time, in the form of a 3D visualization of the seabed and the sub-surface. This 3D model is continuously updated as more data is captured, reducing uncertainty and project risk. Ultimately driving improved decision making and shorter project timelines. It is a far cry from waiting for and having to decipher insights solely from a written report.

Keeping up with the pace of change Technology advancement is not the only need. Laws, regulations, and certification also need to move quickly. Operating uncrewed vessels requires significant licensing and government approvals. The traditional rules for crewed vessels, developed over centuries of crewed operations, are not fully applicable to the new uncrewed solutions. By integrating the acquisition teams, Geo-consultants and turbine installers, OWF developers can be confident that the data acquired has the right quality assurance. Any new technology will face some hesitancy, but clients are keen to make these digital transitions due to the significant sustainability benefits. Change, however, takes time and the right partnerships based on trust and cooperation are key to success.

A future powered by technology Only ten years ago hard copies of data from vessels were the norm. Digital delivery has revolutionized the speed of delivery and made it easier to consume. As little as five years ago, insight was only delivered through interpretive reports. Today these are complemented by integrated 3D earth models, which combine all the available Geo-data. This isn’t just an end-of-project handover either, but a continuous process throughout the project lifecycle.

The pace of change is being driven and celebrated by the operators and service companies alike. Attitudes are positive, open and collaborative. Together we are building businesses that embrace transformative change and we are starting to deliver the energy mix society demands. In the near future, Fugro aspires to have minimized its offshore crew by up to 50 per cent. And in ten years, at least half of its surveys could be fully uncrewed. The industry is heading towards entirely robotic fleets, digital delivery and evergreen 3D earth models. A future state in which technology fully leverages talented experts. In turn, we’ll see an acceleration in project turnaround and more ambitious project goals, as better insights are delivered faster. For a list of the sources used in this article, please contact the editor.

JAMES FAROPPA James Faroppa is Service Line Director, Marine Geoconsulting, Fugro. Fugro is the world’s leading Geo-data specialist, collecting and analyzing comprehensive information about the Earth and the structures built upon it. Adopting an integrated approach that incorporates acquisition and analysis of Geo-data and related advice, Fugro provides solutions. With expertise in site characterization and asset integrity, clients are supported in the safe, sustainable and efficient design, construction and operation of their assets throughout the full lifecycle. Employing approximately 9000 talented people in 59 countries, Fugro serves clients around the globe, predominantly in the energy, infrastructure and water industries, both offshore and onshore. For further information please visit: www.fugro.com

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Taking a

quantum leap A STEP CHANGE IN COMPUTING POWER IS NEEDED TO MAKE ENERGY PRODUCTION MORE EFFICIENT AND MEET CLEAN AIR TARGETS, WRITES RICHARD MURRAY. QUANTUM COMPUTERS WILL PLAY A BIG PART

BP has an ambition to ‘reimagine energy for people and our planet’ by helping the world to reach net zero carbon emission targets. But to achieve this will mean new materials for solar and wind farms, breakthroughs in battery technologies, optimization of energy markets and networks, and autonomous intelligent systems. The calculations required for such a radical and rapid reimagination are beyond even the most advanced current computers. However, they are what a quantum computer promises to do without breaking a sweat. Quantum offers a growth and scaling of calculating power beyond the limitations implicit in Moore’s law that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double every two years. As everyone is noticing with increasing discomfort, circuit space is getting awfully tight. Quantum has no similar constraints.

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Another advantage from quantum power is that it comes without the embarrassingly high energy consumption associated with processing data using conventional computers. But the crucial distinction is in form: Quantum computing is fundamentally different, a revolution not an evolution. It works with completely new rules, architectures and programming languages. And these are what mean that new problem-classes, such as those facing BP, can be addressed. For example, direct quantum simulation of complex biological chemistry, which is not possible with conventional computers, will change the face of the pharmaceutical industry by removing a need for lengthy clinical trial. There are other good reasons to go quantum. The workload on existing high-powered supercomputers is rising, particularly as artificial intelligence and autonomous


COMPUTING which is a crucial problem to overcome. Currently, that fusion is not possible. But when it is integrated, light is not only freely available as a resource, but far less picky than a superconducting qubit about its environment. There is no freezing, for example An accepted wisdom is that quantum computing based will involve a million qubits to work, with platforms the size of a warehouse or football stadium. Photonics is going to be the only way to transmit quantum information from one side of that ‘stadium’ to the other. For all other platforms, the information decays too quickly and needs to be kept at very cold temperatures or very high levels of vacuum. This means it will be exceptionally difficult to connect and network non-photonic quantum systems. The easier transmission of information also gives photonics a second edge, allowing fast operation to match existing high performance computing (HPC) speeds. The first useful quantum computers are nearly with us and are even now being applied to real commercial problems. There remain some significant obstacles before quantum computers come close to displacing traditional ones, particularly around scaling and how the number of qubits can be increased without introducing errors as they complete a calculation However, the problems are being overcome. The question is not whether quantum computing will be available, but when. BP is one of the world-class companies with big, complex problems to solve now embracing the potential for quantum to open new calculating horizons and meet corporate needs. We are only at the start of that journey. It will be a thrilling one.

RICHARD MURRAY

robotic control and manufacturing are adopted. Computers now need to not just keep up with vast volumes of data, but adapt to new rules of engagement with it. Quantum has a big part to play in this transition, not least because its own architecture works in ways that mirror nature. The basic unit of quantum computing, a qubit, can be made in various ways. The most common involve a ‘superconducting’ current within circuits maintained at temperatures colder than deep space and shielded from magnetic fields. Yes, this is as finickity and fragile as it sounds. An alternative involves photonics and uses light to transmit information. This comes with the added advantage that photonics is already the backbone of high-performance computing and offers the best chance of integrating quantum computing with conventional computational systems,

Richard Murray is CEO and co-founder of ORCA Computing. ORCA is pioneering a breakthrough approach to photonic quantum computing. The company’s platform is the first to include a ‘quantum memory’. This allows quantum computers based on single photons (units of light) to become scalable. Photonic quantum computing has significant advantages over other approaches, providing simpler schemes for error correction without complex infrastructures, such as those necessary to maintain supercooling and vacuum. The novel quantum memory storage of quantum information reduces errors so that fewer components are needed to run the computer. It is what allows ORCA to build photonic quantum computers in optical fibre. ORCA is working with BP in a project titled ‘The quantum data centre of the future’. This £11.6 million project, funded by Innovate UK, is the largest UK government quantum project to date. It will coordinate with 12 other companies to deliver quantum architectures that can be integrated within current data center and HPC infrastructure. For further information please visit: www.orcacomputing.com

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Green gas goes global Biogas pioneer, Nature Energy, looks forward to major international expansion as it brings revolutionary new technologies to Europe, North America and Canada

As a leader of the green transition, Nature Energy is the largest producer of biogas energy in the world. Owning and operating 12 biogas plants across Denmark, the company is now looking to establish an international presence in Europe,

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Canada and the US. This expansion comes at a pivotal moment for Nature Energy, as it promises to play an important role in the future of sustainable power production. Nature Energy is one of the world’s forerunners of biogas technology. As the


PROFILE

company’s Chief Executive Officer, Ole Hvelplund, explains: “We started out as a gas utility company, back when it was common to have commercial businesses on the gas grid. In 2015, we started on biogas, and we now have 12 inbuilt appliance operations

NATURE ENERGY

across Denmark. We have designed and built a number of large-scale biogas plants, and we successfully operated a commercial gas sales business until its sale in 2018. “We now own and operate the country’s leading biogas production operation. We are ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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PROFILE

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX NATURE ENERGY

the largest company in the world to produce renewable gas for grid services, which makes us a really significant player, both in Denmark and across the world.” The company’s innovative spirit, and team of industry experts, continually sets it apart from competitors. “One of our main assets is our in-house engineering operation, which is supported by considerable equity. We also have established industry connections, meaning we can work together with local partners on almost all of our projects. One thing you can always rely on with Nature Energy is that we can walk the walk – we will use all of the resources available to us to make sure a plant is built to the highest possible standard. “The main difference between us and our competitors is that when we started in 2015, biogas was a small industry. We were making small-scale plants for farmers, and similar clients, and we realized that in order to grow the company we needed to scale up the industry. To make the switch to largescale plant production, we started collecting feedstock and waste from local farmers, households and industrial sites. Our expert team of biologists and biochemists then used those materials to continue learning about biogas. “We are now a large-scale company, with an extended team of professionals who are dedicated to building up that knowledge base. With our in-depth understanding of the biogas process, we have been able to move SCHUMANN TANKS GMBH COMPETENT, ONE-STOP AND ON-SITE SERVICES FOR YOU Schumann Tanks GmbH is specialized in the distribution, project management and worldwide assembly of high-quality bolted cylindrical steel tanks. We offer our customers all services – from consulting over project management till commissioning – one-stop performance from a single source. By pooling distribution and project management tasks at Schumann Tanks GmbH we ensure optimal customer support and highly efficient processing on a global scale. “Acting worldwide” is both our promise of performance and our reputation. A WIDE RANGE OF SERVICES Schumann Tanks GmbH is your partner in the distribution of high-quality tanks which feature various steel and coating types and are used for the storage of all sorts of liquids and media. We offer our customers the right solution for every installation and requirement by means of flexibly staggered tank diameters and diverse heights. We deliver open tanks as well as closed ones with covers and various roof constructions. Tanks for fermentation are also available as pressure-resistant variant. Schumann Tanks GmbH produces the tank kits which are made of prefabricated steel plates and the related steel profiles, bolts, sealants and accessories. The company also finishes the tank kits prior to delivery and distributes them worldwide. Welding, coating or joining works on the tank are not required during the assembly on site. The tanks are always assembled by our qualified personnel. They can be dis-and reassembled at any time in the case of a change of location. AN ECONOMIC VARIANT – CARBON STEEL TANKS IN A HYBRID METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION Our fermentation tanks in hybrid method of construction prove particularly successful in the field of biogas technology. Carbon steel with a reliable KTL anti-corrosion coating is used in the anaerobic medium zone, as a durable and economic alternative to stainless steel or glass-fused-to-steel design. The gas zone, the upper ring element and the roof construction are made of stainless steel. All external reinforcing profiles consist of hot dip galvanized steel. We look forward to informing you about further advantages and performance characteristics of our carbon steel tanks in hybrid construction. www.schumann-tanks.com

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PROFILE NATURE XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX PROFILE ENERGY

from single biogas plants to industrial sized operations. We also found a way to drive down the cost curve, and run the plant 24/7 with 100 percent efficiency, which has been a huge asset,” Ole comments. Thanks to Nature Energy, Denmark’s biogas production network is world-leading. As Ole details: “Our current footprint across Denmark is quite extensive. We have 12 large-scale plants, where we take in between half of a million to one million tons of feedstock, and

VOGESLANG GMBH & CO. KG

use it to produce more than 20 million cubic meters of biogas. Each of our plants is capable of this level of output, which puts into context the scale of our operation. “In addition to having considerable capacity, our facilities are also made to accommodate new technologies, as and when they are developed. We have a series of plants where we can introduce new technology, which is really important because it means we are continually getting the cost benefit of the latest machinery.

Vogelsang GmbH & Co. KG develops, produces and distributes highly-engineered equipment that is easy to maintain. The head office is located in Essen (Oldenburg), Germany. Founded in 1929, the company has grown to become a specialist in individually configurable machines, plants and systems for the agricultural, biogas, industrial, transportation and wastewater sectors. As a partner for the fermentation line, Vogelsang provides comprehensive advice to operators, consultants, planners and constructors of biogas plants, and delivers components for cost-effective and efficient plant operation. Solid matter feeders, cutters, pumps and disintegration systems optimize existing biogas plants, among other ways by ensuring efficient digester feeding (fluid feeding), mashing a homogeneous suspension of solid matter and a fluid, and pumping the suspension. At present, the mid-sized, innovative family business employs over 1000 people worldwide, and is present in more than 25 locations around the world, operating multiple production sites in Germany and abroad. www.vogelsang.info

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Our facilities provide Nature Energy with a really strong foundation, upon which we can continue to expand, both in Denmark and internationally.” These highly successful plants continue to play a vital role in Denmark’s energy transition. As Ole discusses, Nature Energy has worked hard to establish biogas as a viable sustainable energy alternative: “When we started out in 2015, no-one really believed that biogas could be a significant player in the energy transition. Their view was that it should all be electrified, but over time we have been able to challenge that perspective. Today, biogas accounts for 25 percent of Denmark’s gas consumption, and we hope to increase that to 33 percent in the coming years. “We have managed to make use of excess biomethane fuel, which is an important resource for power generation that actually works to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. That’s been a really significant achievement for us, because it has helped people recognize the potential of biogas technology.

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“It is becoming more widely accepted that biogas is a viable alternative to traditional methods of energy production. We are able to substitute natural gas, and provide a greater level of supply security, because our gas is locally sourced, and doesn’t rely on any international resources. “We are proud to produce a green energy alternative, and we always try to use our materials in as many sustainable ways as possible; for example, we produce a screen fertilizer for food production that can act as an effective substitute for chemical fertilizers, which are produced using fossil fuels. There are a lot of misconceptions about biogas, but when used correctly it actually forms a perfect, carbon neutral, circular economy.” Having transformed the way the world views biogas, Nature Energy now enjoys a strong strategic partnership with high-profile energy company, Shell. “There is a lot of demand from other energy companies who want to use our biofuel. With our green certifications


PROFILE

and credentials, it made sense for us to partner with Shell in 2020. “These large energy companies are under pressure from consumers to provide gas alternatives that don’t have so many carbon emissions, and that pull from the market has resulted in a considerable spike in demand for our services. We are also seeing more interest from utility companies who are looking to make the switch to biogas for use in household heating systems, which is an encouraging sign for anyone invested in sustainable energy,” Ole observes. Alongside these exciting partnerships,

NATURE ENERGY

Nature Energy’s success over the past five years means that it is now ready for international expansion. “We have seen considerable growth recently, and as a result we have focused our attention on growing into new territories. We have a plan at the moment to focus on European countries like France and the Netherlands, but we are also looking at various provinces in North America, including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Quebec. We hope to create a foothold for the company in these markets, so that we can then scale up our operation the same way we did in Denmark. “We have done quite a coherent screening of

BIOGASCLEAN

Biological desulfurization and methanation of biogas and CO2 Biogasclean has supplied more than 320 desulfurization systems in over 40 countries, including several projects for Nature Energy. Biogasclean’s plants combine low operation costs with an availability of more than 98 percent. In 2022, the company launched a new and groundbreaking biological methanation technology. Bio E-Fuel is a biological process that converts CO2 and hydrogen (H2) to methane (CH4). Bio E-Fuel can be applied on all CO2 sources. With Bio E-Fuel, biogas plants can increase the methane content in biogas to more than 95 percent, and increase the biogas production by more than 60 percent. Visit www.biogasclean.com for more information, or give us a call at +45 6617 2177.

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all the different countries, states and provinces that have gas consumption rates similar to those in Denmark in order to decide on a direction for our expansion. We also looked at gas grid availability, and all the parameters of those different systems. Using that information, we were able to create a ranking list of countries and states where it would be

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viable to implement biogas as an alternative energy source,” Ole reveals. “We have projects planned in all of the territories mentioned, but our work in Quebec is possibly the most significant. We have announced plans for a plant in an area called Farnham, where we have already acquired a site. The project is very similar to the plants that we are already running successfully in Denmark, with the same size, feedstock capacity and so on. “Our strategy is to replicate the Danish plants, with some changes that will help the new facility adapt better to the Canadian environment and culture. The farming and industrial landscape in Quebec is similar to Denmark, so we will be able to take and use waste from a variety of places, and in turn produce green energy for the local area. “The development of our technology means that we are no longer dependent on manure, which has helped open up the possibility of expansion into Canada


PROFILE

NATURE ENERGY

Nature Energy nature-energy.com ......................................... Services: Biogas plants

and other regions. We plan on working with numerous local partners, including farmers, landlords and food production companies, all of which can offer a variety of feedstock for the biogas plant. “It’s all about transferring our expertise to new markets around the world. We built a solid base in Denmark, we know how to organize things, and we understand the biology behind the process 100 percent. The challenge now is copying our work in Denmark, and adapting it to new local environments,” he elaborates. As it continues to redefine the capabilities of biogas technology, Nature Energy makes a valuable contribution to the sustainable energy revolution. These latest developments set the stage for an exciting new chapter for the company, as Ole concludes: “We have enjoyed fantastic growth over the last five years, and we expect even more in the near future. By 2026, we hope to be producing between ten and 15 plants per year, which is considerably more than the two we currently produce on an annual basis. “It sounds like a huge leap, but we have prepared the structure and organization for this level of growth, and we have the right people to make it happen. It’s an exciting time for us, we are right at the beginning of a very important international growth journey.” ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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Beyond borders

With new technology and acquisitions driving business growth, Exolum is maintaining its status as an innovative bulk liquid solutions provider

A year ago, Energy, Oil & Gas spoke with Spanish company, Exolum, about its 94 years in the energy industry. The company has become one of the world’s fastestgrowing bulk liquid solution providers, and it only continues to grow. When it started, back in 1927 as CAMPSA, the sector was largely state42

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run, but this began to change in 1992 when the market was liberalized. In 1997, the company was renamed CLH until last year, when it evolved into Exolum. As we learn from the business’s CEO Jorge Lanza, now Exolum is determined to push the boundaries of innovation to remain a key player in the energy sector.


PROFILE

With 39 terminals integrated across Spanish refineries and ports, the company has transformed into an impressive network, compared to its previous series of independent terminals. “We have a type of system that allows immediate product transfers between our different terminals. For example, a customer can

EXOLUM

bring in a shipment to Barcelona with an urgent need to lift their product in another location, and we can make that happen. Owing to how we operate, we can fulfil that demand as soon as possible,” Jorge shares. In order to assist in its current growth trajectory, Exolum acquired Inter Terminals ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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in 2020. “The reasons for the acquisition are threefold. Firstly, it had a footprint that was similar to what we already had in the UK, so there were opportunities to synergize our operations and scale up in the UK. We can now provide a better service to our customers by merging the former CLH pipeline systems and Inter Terminals together with what we have today. “Secondly, we wanted to expand our chemicals business, and these terminals provided that opportunity because they were already present in the industrial complexes across the UK and Germany. The expansion into chemicals is something that Inter Terminals is well-versed in. “Finally, it provided us with better stability to tackle bigger opportunities that we could not before. Previously, we didn’t have the company size or the human capacity. The way I describe it at times is that we have moved from being four family offices to one bigger multi-country company that is able to do greater things, such as increasing our involvement in the energy transition, and we needed to have more ‘muscle’ to actually do that,” he explains.

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When the company began, it had not yet mastered the art of handling chemical products. However, with this acquisition, Exolum can take on those capabilities and, in turn, open up more opportunities for growth. “We are now trying to expand our presence in the industrial complexes. Where we are, we are also looking to integrate ourselves within our customers’ supply chains to better help those that produce the products we store.” We then turn our attention to more practical developments taking place within the business, and Jorge shares that Exolum has made significant investments in automation to improve efficiency and the overall capability of its operation. “All our loading racks across our terminals, as well as the transfer between the tanks, are run from Madrid,” he says. “We initiated various digital automation projects over the years to make our plants run smoothly, and to ramp up our safety levels. For example, in our terminals, we have a proprietary technology that identifies when our trucks are loading, and there is a device that can read how much space is available on that truck, as well as the various compartments that can be utilized. The reason


PROFILE

why we have incorporated this is to ensure that we do not overfill the vehicle – a common mistake, which can lead to spills.” To complement its technological innovation, the business has subsequently included a number of safety measures and strategic applications to ensure greater efficiency for both its team and customers. “With these developments, clients can now connect to their mobile devices and see how much product they have in their tanks, as well as the best times for loading the trucks at our terminals to avoid any queues,” Jorge continues. An additional feature

EXOLUM

is directed at the oil operator’s drivers to help eliminate the use of excessive paper. “We used to keep an extensive paper trail, but now we’ve gone digital. If these drivers are stopped by police or they arrive at a service station, they will have all their details available on their phone. “In terms of safety, there are a range of different items that we have implemented to ensure that our team is well taken care of. We are also in the process of implementing artificial intelligence to our advantage. We have also installed surveillance cameras in our terminals to automatically detect intrusions or faulty leaks,

NTT DATA

NTT DATA has worked together with Exolum to implement transformation program ONE, a new SAP S/4HANA-based system in which back-end processes linked to administration, purchasing, and human resources have been redefined to simplify and increase efficiency. This system establishes a single operating model for the entire group, taking into consideration the legal, accounting, and tax nuances in different countries. A single data set, accessible from any place in the world and using any device, will help streamline and expedite the decisionmaking process. Additionally, the program creates a foundation for the group to leverage digital networks in its work on innovation, connecting people and building relationships with third parties.

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which has also played an important role in preventing any accidents.” Tying in with this, Jorge explains how the business is paying close attention to data research to inspect the integrity of the equipment. “We can tell, by analyzing the data and based on recorded performance, if any equipment in our facilities is likely to break down. The information we process helps us to perform predictive maintenance on our facilities so that we can make the necessary adjustments and avoid any major mishaps later on.” Our conversation then turns towards the future and what lies ahead for Exolum. Although Jorge notes that these are challenging times to predict, he is certain that the company will continue to fulfil its potential and take on new frontiers in the energy sector. “This year, we will keep adapting our infrastructure to meet customer demand, with upcoming advancements closely related to biofuels. I believe we also want to gain greater maturity within our ventures division, which is still a work in progress, but it is coming along quite nicely. “In addition to that, we are focusing heavily on reducing our CO2 levels to meet our 2025 goals, and I believe we are right on track to achieve that. In this regard, we have very ambitious aims, but we also have more capabilities now to do so.

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“We want to continue increasing our footprint as far as chemicals and biofuels are concerned and explore more opportunities in the aviation sector. We recently announced that we gained our concession in Lima, Peru, where we are building a new fuel farm and hydrant. That is a massive $80 million investment currently underway,” he says. Jorge believes that in five years’ time, Exolum will have projects in operation that will help push its momentum forward. Not only will this be as a result of the company’s years of expertise, but this will happen organically as the business continues to assess how the industry develops. “We want to be a relevant player in the energy transition that is able to share its knowledge with those on the ground, and I believe that is what will keep us as successful as we were when we began this journey,” he concludes.

EXOLUM

Exolum exolum.com ......................................... CEO, Jorge Lanza

Services: Bulk liquid solutions provider

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Fuels for the future From residual wood waste to carbon negative renewable diesel, Strategic Biofuels details the pioneering process it’s using to singlehandedly shake up the fuel industry

By developing a series of carbon negative and clean-burning renewable transportation fuels from responsibly managed and sustainable forest waste, Strategic Biofuels has undoubtedly become the leader of its industry niche. The company was founded in

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the summer of 2020, making it a decidedly positive pandemic progeny, and has since brought together an expert team of highly experienced individuals with petrochemical, synthetic fuels, renewable fuels, and oil and gas backgrounds.


PROFILE

Though the pandemic proved to be an impediment to many companies, Strategic Biofuels is an impressive exception. The company continues to offer value to the environment and the communities where it works, reducing greenhouse gas emissions

STRATEGIC BIOFUELS

by 400 percent (compared to fuel production from fossil fuel-derived sources). Such a staggering figure is attainable by doing two things: firstly, producing deeply negative carbon footprint drop-in fuels from nonfood-based biomass materials so that the ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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fuel can be used at 100 percent (unlike biodiesel); secondly, utilizing carbon capture and sequestration technology to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions by safely and securely storing the greenhouse gas deep underground. These two processes also represent the fundamental tenets underpinning the new Louisiana Green Fuels Project (LGF), which is currently being constructed on a 300-acre site at the Port of Columbia in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. By following these two core processes, as well as a host of other pioneering methods, the plant will achieve better than Net Zero emissions and remove more carbon from the environment than it produces. Proudly talking us through the landmark project, and the ground-breaking processes behind it, is Dr. Paul F. Schubert, CEO at Strategic Biofuels. “In total, LGF will produce approximately 33 million gallons of renewable fuel each year,” he begins. “When broken down, that equates to about 87 percent renewable diesel and 13 percent renewable naphtha. This fuel will have the lowest carbon footprint of any liquid fuel; it represents almost a 400 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to its fossil fuel-production equivalents. Indeed, while the carbon intensity of our fuel has been scored by Life Cycle Associates at -294 gCO2e/MJ, fossil diesel is usually scored much higher, at around +100 gCO2e/MJ. In simpler terms, the carbon intensity of the renewable diesel we produce is extremely negative. In fact, it’s the lowest carbon intensity fuel in the world.” Strategic Biofuels has secured more than $42 million in funding for LGF thus far, including a $15 million infrastructure improvement grant from the State of Louisiana to the Port, and will generate a total of 85.5 MW of biopower when fully operational. All of the power that LGF needs will be produced on-site through the conversion of a sawmill feedstock, which is garnered from waste generated by the lumber industry. This power will not only produce renewable fuels. It will also provide the amount of energy needed for carbon capture and the compression of the CO2 for sequestration. As Paul explains, carbon capture and sequestration are critical carbon mitigation methods, which, in turn, will be responsible for helping LGF achieve Net Zero status. “Strategic Biofuels has selected Louisiana as the location for its landmark project for several reasons, with one of them being the

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fact that Louisiana has the necessary geology to facilitate sequestration: the process in which CO2 produced alongside the making of renewable diesel is locked about a mile underground, where the same forces that have held oil and gas beneath the earth’s surface for millions of years will trap the CO2 forever. “The sequestration is the dominant element creating the negative carbon intensity of LGF’s fuel,” he adds. “Louisiana has a visionary legislative and regulatory framework that supports carbon sequestration. This includes defining that the surface owner holds the right to inject CO2 beneath their land under so called ‘pore rights.’ There is an eminent domain right for a sanctioned project to

STRATEGIC BIOFUELS

acquire those pore rights from individuals, meaning that no owners can block the project. Furthermore, after the project ceases CO2 injection and has validated that the lockedin greenhouse gas is secure, the state has created a fund to monitor and remediate the CO2 storage – those funds will come from the initial operating revenues of the facility. We expect to sequester roughly 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 per year.” For Paul, the most important part of the project was completing the sequestration test well in the first half of 2021. The company recognized that the project’s economics all depended on this one test as it would demonstrate whether LFG’s geological

CROSSBRIDGE ENERGY

Crossbridge Energy is thrilled to partner with Strategic Biofuels as the asset manager to operate and maintain (O&M) the Louisiana Green Fuels project (LGF). Crossbridge is bringing operating knowledge, organization, and standards to the project to assist in its development. Through our partnership with Becht, Crossbridge is applying decades of mega project production assurance experience to ensure all production risks have been adequately mitigated. The end goal is stable returns to LGF investors, by improving the day-zero operating readiness of the facility.

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foundations were, in fact, tenable. “The effort could’ve failed, and investors could’ve lost their money,” says Paul. “In our case, however, the sequestration test well was a complete success. The combination of our technology set and its use at scale is unprecedented. The technologies used in the plant are not new; they’re all well-established. However, it’s their new configuration, as applied at LGF, which makes them unique. “We are using gasification and partial oxidation to produce syngas (CO plus hydrogen) from a solid, carbon containing feedstock,” he details. “This is followed by hydrocarbon synthesis via the Fischer-Tropsch process to make paraffinic wax and oil, which

TRI

are then hydrocracked using standard refinery technologies. These technologies have been utilized at a commercial scale with coal (a much more difficult feedstock) since at least the 1950s. At LGF, though, we make the process unique by combining carbon capture and sequestration techniques with a non-foodbased biomass feedstock.” Since we’ve covered the former, let’s now turn to the latter: the non-food-based biomass at the metaphorical heart of the industrial process. By utilizing pre-commercial thinnings – that is, excess trees taken from sustainable forestry plantations, which have been removed to allow the natural maturation of more dominant trees – Strategic Biofuels has

TRI’s advanced gasification system utilizes proprietary indirectly-heated, steam-reforming technology to process a wide spectrum of waste biomass to provide a utility grade syngas. The process is uniquely capable of absorbing variations in moisture, calorific content and contaminants while producing a uniform syngas, which is so important to downstream conversion to fuels, chemicals, hydrogen, etc. This flexibility enables the owner to take advantage of changes in the biomass market to lower its biomass procurement costs. TRI’s process is the key step to convert solid carbonaceous wastes to syngas, which is then conditioned and converted to products with existing commercially proven technologies.

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ensured that its fuel feedstock is sustainable on multiple fronts. “First, it creates a new use for from forestry byproducts, improving economic returns in the timber industry,” explains Paul. “Second, since thinnings are non-food based and overly abundant, the feedstock doesn’t compete with food production and hence maintains food security. Unlike other crops, thinnings are produced all year. The amount of renewable fuel that can be produced per acre per year from thinnings is about 497 gallons, with a feedstock cost of about $0.53 per gallon of renewable fuel. Whereas, in contrast, soybeans yield about 53 gallons per acre per year, with a feedstock cost of about $6.00 per gallon.

STRATEGIC BIOFUELS

Soybeans also compete for the allocation of arable land which would otherwise be used for growing food. “The ultimate result of this process is an extremely high-performance synthetic diesel,” he adds. “Just like synthetic motor oil is superior to traditional motor oil, our synthetic diesel is superior to traditional diesel: it has a much higher cetane (the measure for diesel like octane is for gasoline), creates lower engine emissions with essentially zero sulfur, and is both non-toxic and biodegradable. Biodiesel is severely limited in terms of the amount which can be blended into diesel fuel; conversely, our renewable diesel can be used in any concentration – including 100 percent.

JCL SERVICE COMPANY, LLC

JCL Service Company LLC is providing dedicated safety, risk and material coordination professionals for the design, construction, and operation of Strategic Biofuels’ Louisiana Green Fuels project. Since 1997, the goal of our team is to operate with zero incidents and provide the highest quality and most experienced services available from any single source. Our award-winning results can be found in 47 states and six foreign countries. From the development of critical HSE procedures and process safety engineering, to O & M consultants and material coordination, JCL can customize a package and partner with you for success. Learn more at jclsc.com

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All this makes it truly sustainable.” However, sustainability does not refer to solely environmental factors. In fact, sustainability is a broad, wide-ranging term that also involves social and economic issues. Let’s zero in on LGF’s contribution to these two aspects of sustainability. The renewable fuels facility is, for instance, being built in the seventh poorest Congressional District (LA-5) in the US. In that region, the average household income is $36,000 per year, compared to a national average of $97,026. “The first phase of the plant will create about 900 full-time jobs,” observes Paul.

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“The direct employment of the plant, once operational, is expected to generate 150 full-time positions, with an average salary of $69,000. However, indirectly, more than 750 full-time jobs will be created. Indeed, over the plant’s 31-month build schedule, the number of construction jobs available will peak at 1500. Once plant expansions in Caldwell Parish are completed, we’re also expecting to create about 600 direct and nearly 3000 indirect jobs. Needless to say, our project in Caldwell Parish will have a highly positive economic impact on the region.” In fact, LGF has already received a Community Impact Award from Trade & Industry


PROFILE

Development Magazine as part of its 2022 CICI Awards. “Our engineering partner, Hatch, has also started a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program in Caldwell Parish schools,” he continues. “Hatch engineers will provide mentoring to local students for their robotics competitions. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for the students in this poor community. Exposure to Hatch’s program, which is being committed to by the company for at least three years, will create vital opportunities for international interactions.” As Paul has made clear, the work being carried out in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana

STRATEGIC BIOFUELS

is not only groundbreaking – it’s truly sustainable, and in more ways than one. Over the next 10-to-12 years, Strategic Biofuels intends to grow, carrying out a three-phase expansion that will create new job opportunities and increase LGF’s production levels. Currently in phase one, the new plant is expected to make around 33 million gallons per year; however, Strategic Biofuels aims to incrementally increase its output, ultimately leading to its remarkable third phase, where a staggering 161 million gallons of renewable diesel will be produced each year. For LGF and its surrounding region, then, exciting and sustainable times are certainly ahead.

HATCH

Hatch is passionately committed to the pursuit of a better world through positive change. We are known for highly differentiated engineering and project execution capabilities, particularly for effective and full integration of multiple technologies, as well as the required supporting infrastructure. Our energy sector has a longstanding history of involvement in innovative projects to capture value from not only unconventional resources, but also leadership in the development of renewable sources. Our dedicated and specialized ‘Anything to Liquids’ team has completed many assignments for the conversion of natural gas, biomass or waste, to either chemical products or re-deployable energy.

Strategic Biofuels https://strategicbiofuels.com ......................................... Products: Renewable fuels

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Making the green transition

As Global Clean Energy has made known through its extensive conversion of an old crude oil refinery, low-carbon biofuels are not an ephemeral trend – they’re the future

In 2020, Global Clean Energy acquired a crude oil refinery in Bakersfield, California. For 70 years, that refinery had been a cornerstone in the local community of Kern County. Getty Oil, Texaco and Shell Oil Company all took turns running it, producing and distributing fuel for the region’s local motorists and agricultural industry. In a way, that storied past is over. The

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historical legacy as a crude petroleum refinery has ended. However, that’s because a new one has begun. With CTCI Americas hired as lead EPC, Kern County’s largest oil refinery is going through changes. Global Clean Energy is shaking things up. To be more specific, the renowned renewable fuels producer is re-tooling the 510-acre site, transforming it into one of the largest


PROFILE

biorefineries in the western US – and the end is in sight. Following its conversion, the Bakersfield Renewable Fuels Refinery is expected to become fully operational by the end of this year. As Noah Verleun, President at Global Clean Energy, makes clear, the move is part of a wider, concerted national effort to decarbonize transportation fuels, and reduce overall impacts on the environment.

GLOBAL CLEAN ENERGY

“Stakeholders are looking for a way to fulfil a just transition from declining careers in the fossil fuel industry into careers in clean energy,” he says. “The Bakersfield Renewable Fuels Refinery is a model for that just transition. Consider the location of our refinery: Bakersfield, California. When purchasing this former petroleum refinery, we looked at Kern County’s economic development goals for renewable energy, and ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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their two biggest historical sectors (agriculture and traditional energy). By positioning ourselves in this region, we are taking all of that into account and combining it within a project that boosts regional goals as well as the local economy. “Our renewable fuels refinery is also aligned with the goals of AB32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, reducing GHG emissions within the state and outside of it,” explains Verleun. “The refinery is part of a disadvantaged community, too. It has some of the highest levels of pollution and unemployment in the state. To that end, we’re providing high-paying, premium jobs in clean energy in a county which has some of the worst air quality in the nation. We’re reducing tailpipe pollution and economically benefiting those in a region that need it most.” Indeed, the renewable fuels refinery has created more than 100 full-time jobs for members of Kern County, and has been indirectly responsible for another 900, thanks to the multiplier effect. That’s impressive, particularly for a region in which so much has depended upon the historic site. Once more,

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the Bakersfield Renewable Fuels Refinery will drive the local economy. At the same time, it will produce ultra-low carbon fuels and make the planet a more hospitable place for generations to come. “By repurposing a refinery that was part of the traditional energy infrastructure, and combining that with low-carbon agricultural methods, we’re creating a business that will reduce emissions from air transport, intermodal trains, and heavy transportation, and it will be viable for decades to come,” says Verleun. “What we are doing in Bakersfield is a full-scale case study on how to integrate fully developed agriculture supply chains into fuel supply chains. It takes two traditional value chains – energy and agriculture – and integrates them in a facility which will be tailor built to produce renewable fuels in an efficient, low carbon, and highly sustainable way.” For Global Clean Energy, though, that’s nothing new. The company describes itself as a uniquely positioned, vertically integrated nonfood feedstocks and renewable fuels company focused on producing fuel which is more sustainable, cheaper, and less carbon


PROFILE

intense, without impacting food security or causing land use change. “In the early 2000s, Global Clean Energy anticipated that spreads between agricultural and energy commodities would tighten and we made a strategic decision to focus on feedstocks and not biorefining conversion technologies like transesterification,” Verleun notes. “Today, those spreads have tightened and feedstocks account for an increasing share of production costs.” Consequently, Global Clean Energy decided to invest in a robust crop innovation program and began studying and advancing oilseed crops. “We spent years scrutinizing nonfood applications and the sustainable production of vegetable oils which can be easily converted using current technology to be drop-in for existing fossil fuels,” Verleun comments.

GLOBAL CLEAN ENERGY

“Along the way, we successfully applied for a Department of Defense (DoD) contract to create sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in partnership

HERMAN WEISSKER INC

Since 1959, Herman Weissker Inc (HWI) has been an industry leader in gas underground construction. Our core belief is ‘doing the job right, the first time.’ Today, HWI is considered a full-service construction company in Southern California. We are ready for all of your needs in gas transmission and distribution, including, but not limited to, oil and refining, plant and station piping, all earthwork and pipe fabrications, civil work and structural supports, foundations and paving, and relocation or repairs to oil/petroleum product lines. HWI works every day to fulfil California’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2045. We do this by monitoring our carbon footprint and choosing vendors that share our same goals for the sustainability and preservation of our environment.

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with a technology provider and, in the end, we provided the DoD with SAF made from camelina oil.” That’s key to the sustainable processes behind the Bakersfield Renewable Fuels Refinery. Their feedstock, camelina, is grown on idle farms between crop rotations. Cultivated on dry, fallow land, camelina doesn’t have an impact on food security or compete with food production – unlike traditional vegetable oil feedstocks like soy and canola. Since camelina is relatively quick to grow, maturing in as little as 80 days, it also requires far fewer inputs than traditional cereals and oilseeds. For Verleun, that’s paramount: “Over the years we have developed a robust portfolio of intellectual property for nonfood oilseed feedstock like camelina,” he observes. “We knew we could scale the crop considerably and we’re now positioned to be a market leader in the renewable diesel space, creating ultra-low carbon fuels which act as a drop-in replacement for traditional petroleum-based diesel engines on the road today.” When generating fuels such as these, though, the initial low-carbon feedstocks are essential

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to managing overall carbon intensity (CI). “Because Global Clean Energy is an integrated enterprise, we can further reduce CI at our Bakersfield Renewable Fuels Refinery through the implementation of efficient practices across our transportation and refining processes,” he adds. “To that end, we’re also evaluating solar implementation and carbon capture in our processes. Added together, these strategies can give our fuels a CI score of below zero.” Once operating at full capacity, the Bakersfield Renewable Fuels Refinery will produce up to 15,000 barrels of renewable diesel per day, making it among the largest facilities of its kind in North America. Renewable diesel produced by the refinery will be purchased exclusively by ExxonMobil for a minimum of five years, offering up an extensive retail and wholesale market for the Kern Countyproduced product. “The ExxonMobil deal will accelerate nonfood-based camelina cultivation in key growing regions in the US,” explains Verleun. “It will also progress the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions within the transportation sector.” On a similar note, Global Clean Energy has also


PROFILE

GLOBAL CLEAN ENERGY

goals,” he concludes. “We’re focused on the big picture. All these steps in the evolution of renewable fuels are valuable. We expect society to continue to demand sustainable sources of low carbon fuels that create social, economic and environmental value over time. By expanding our existing advantaged assets, further developing our IP portfolio, expanding our cultivated acres footprint, growing strategic partner assets, and increasing the sustainability of our practices, we’re taking into account not so much how markets look today, but the longterm view of these markets – markets that will exist for generations and improve the planet in the process.”

Global Clean Energy GCEholdings.com ......................................... Products: Renewable fuels

entered into an agreement with AmeriGas Propane (the nation’s largest retail propane marketer) to buy and distribute renewable liquified propane gas (LPG) made at the Bakersfield biorefinery. AmeriGas will leverage its infrastructure and sales teams to market and distribute renewable LPG to new and existing customers, primarily in the state of California, which has come from lowcarbon camelina feedstock. There’s no doubt that Global Clean Energy is a future-thinking company. Put simply, abiding by the consensus of the global scientific community, it has to be. “Climate change is happening, and both Global Clean Energy and the Bakersfield Renewable Fuels Refinery will continue to invest in advantaged assets with carbon reduction as a core principle,” asserts Noah. “We’ve taken a long look at renewable fuel programs around the country and around the world, and we’ve concluded that the need for low-carbon feedstocks and fuels will continue to expand dramatically in the coming years before plateauing in the coming decades. “As an organization, we’re not focused on short-term ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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A job well done Since 2008, HydraWell has been using its innovative PWC technology to provide effective well barrier solutions to clients across the world

Fourteen years ago, the founders of HydraWell recognized a gap in the well integrity market. Traditional methods of well abandonment and barrier assertion continued to prove themselves inefficient, and HydraWell was determined to find a safer, slicker and faster alternative. Through relentless engineering and innovation efforts, the company was able to develop the Perforate, Wash and

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Cement (PWC®) system. PWC® is an effective new way of working that cuts down on costs and carbon emissions, whilst remaining fully adaptable to a range of inland and offshore applications. As it continues to pioneer this boundary-defying technology, HydraWell enjoys organic growth, and ongoing global expansion. Originally established in Norway, HydraWell was set up in order to provide specialist


PROFILE

development services for new downhole systems and tools. The company’s primary goal was to develop an alternative to traditional methods, as Chief Commercial Officer, Tom Leeson, comments: “After HydraWell was incorporated in 2008, we were faced with the challenge of finding an alternative method that would re-establish annular barriers. Inspired by the limitations of existing section milling technology,

HYDRAWELL

our team came up with the concept of Perforate, Wash and Cement, or PWC®. From there, the company developed tooling that would streamline the process of building an annular barrier. “With PWC® technology, it is possible to save over a million dollars in materials and services. Since its creation, HydraWell has worked closely with its clients to help them bring ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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new and advanced systems into their existing abandonment strategy. We have faced various challenges, including some resistance to such new and innovative technology from operators and some industry regulators. We continue working to overcome this, by communicating our ideas and getting people comfortable with using the new system, which is backed up by consistent, effective results.” Taking a dynamic, disruptive approach to the problems they faced, HydraWell’s engineers were able to develop an entirely new, adaptable and unique way of working. The innovation process required significant analytics, and problem-solving aptitude, as Tom details: “To advance beyond traditional methods, we used computational fluid dynamic analysis to be able

GEODYNAMICS™

to predict fluid behaviors downhole, depending on the geometry, flow rates, densities, and viscosities. The end goal is to ‘change out’ fluids, in order to remove contaminants, loose solids and debris, and make all surfaces water-wet. The cementing process then installs a clean barrier across the whole of the wellbore. “Traditional cementing practices are not always applicable. When trying to cement an annulus by circulating from the base, we often run into the classic problem of seeing a channel on the narrow side of the annulus. The annulus is never symmetrical, and cementing the narrow (or low) side is often problematic. To solve the issue, we went back to the drawing board, rather than trying to force traditional cementing methods to work.

GEODynamics™ provides advanced perforating and completions technologies in partnership with Hydrawell, and enables operators to execute more efficient and cost-effective well plug and abandonment operations, as compared to other approaches. The perf, wash, cement method reduces time and costs by eliminating the need for heavy rig lifts required with cutting and pulling tubing, or with time-consuming section milling. To support this approach, GEODynamics provides several solutions, which optimize plug and abandonment operations, including Eclipse™ and Isoloc™ perforating systems, as well as cast-iron zonal isolation equipment. Eclipse™ systems utilize a high shot density and large hole sizes to maximize casing removal to allow for a more effective wash and barrier integrity upon recementing. Alternatively, Isoloc™ systems enable multi-string selective penetration of casing according to each individual well plan. Finally, Legacy™ cast iron bridge plugs used with baker style or GO style setting tools are ideal for temporary or permanent zonal isolation.

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“We began by trying to create as much turbulence as possible. The key is making sure that the turbulence and mixing is forced to take place at every point in the annulus, so there aren’t any dead spots. Continuingly adding fresh cement to this mixing eventually results in good cement being present at every point in the annulus. Of course, there are lots of variables here that can help us tailor the process to the specific job – for example, if the viscosity or perforated casing is changed then we can optimize the method and maximize efficiency. In some instances, the optimization process has enabled us to reduce required flowrates from ten barrels a minute, to less than two-and-a-half barrels per minute. With a lower flow-rate, we can consider using coiled tubing, and move away from running jointed pipe. “We now have a whole range of jobs that can be completed using a coil, which not only

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saves rig time, by moving away from section milling to PWC®, but we also have an impact on the client’s cost model and carbon emissions. Without the need for a rig, clients significantly reduce fuel consumption, which in turn reduces the environmental impact of the operation.” From this initial breakthrough, HydraWell has developed numerous tools to support the PWC® process. “When the company first started out, the first solution it produced was a cup-based PWC® tool, which we called HydraWash®. It works on the basis that you have two opposing cups above and below the circulation point. This allows us to define the circulation route, so that when fluid comes out of the stream between cups it only has one route back to the surface. We can then run the fluid through the perforations in the casing, up the annulus, through a secondary set of perforations and finally the well bore back up to the surface. “The PWC® system creates a singular flow path, which means we are able to wash the annulus and get cement fluid directly into it during the cementing process. However, this concept only works for relatively straightforward geometries and operating parameters. Once we started working with a significant amount of existing cement in the annulus, we realized how this complicates the circulation path. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to know whether or not the flow path is viable, so we have to take extreme care throughout the entire operation. It is possible to mitigate the risk of loss of circulation, but it requires the operation to be executed more slowly, negating the time savings that PWC® can deliver. “Once we recognized this complication, our engineers developed what we call ‘jet-based PWC®’. This system, known as HydraHemera® doesn’t use cups, so when necessary the fluid can bypass an annulus blocked by existing cement. It might seem inefficient but computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis, and results in the field, prove otherwise. Drawing on a combination of CFD predictions and operational results, we can use a data-driven approach to evaluate the most cost-effective PWC® for each individual job, considering different variables, including fluid densities and viscosities, to determine how we can effectively use jet and perforation systems without risking the quality of the barrier installed. “In our current tools we typically have four or six jets, with fluid exiting at around 450 ft a second, which is incredibly powerful. With this energy getting to the annulus, we no longer have dead spots. The effectiveness of our system has


PROFILE

been proven time and again, with over 500 jobs being completed with a successful barrier, and zero failures over the last three years. “We have definitely learned lessons from the early failures we did have. We now understand which wells are suitable for PWC® application and which aren’t, and our advanced screening process is used to make sure we apply the right methods to each individual situation. With such a complex task at hand, there’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In analyzing our progress over the years, we have been able to replicate positive results time and again. We are often able to repeat or adapt operations used in previously successful jobs for similar structures, and this helps promote the use of our PWC® technique. “We are always developing our technology. At the moment, we are working on a coiled tubing option called HydraCT®, which has been tested successfully by one of our clients in a simulation well. The results have been positive, and so we are looking forward to using the new tool in the field within the next month or so,” Tom insists. This amazing aptitude for innovation has helped HydraWell establish itself in a range of different territories, as Tom confirms: “We have recently entered the Brazilian market, and secured a long-term contract there, which is very exciting. Whilst we are preparing for our first job there, we are also completing our first Australian project, and mobilizing for a second one in May. There’s lots of growth in this sector, and we are seeing that on a global scale. There is activity in Australia, but also in South-East Asia, Malaysia and even the Middle East, particularly Qatar, Kuwait and UAE. “Alongside these developments, we are expanding our already more established operations across Europe. There are a lot of companies in the region that are looking to abandon onshore wells without a rig, which is a little bit more challenging because the unit has limited capability. In those areas we will be mobilizing our new coiled tubing technology, because it offers a really cost-effective, more straight-forward way of safely and securely abandoning those wells. Overall, we have a real focus on geographical expansion at present, and part of that is moving from offshore wells to onshore locations as well. It’s exciting, because there is still so much innovation and growth to come.” This is clearly just the beginning for HydraWell. As it continues to lead the industry toward new and innovative ways of working, the company also looks to optimize and

expand its own portfolio. As Tom reveals: “We are looking to introduce a number of new tools this year, including the HydraCT® and the HydraTyphon®. It’s important that we communicate the effectiveness of these new technologies in order to grow acceptance and increase use within the sector. In turn, we are looking to expand our range of applications, and the variety of problems that can be solved using PWC systems. “Looking further ahead, I think the challenge for HydraWell will be applying our problemsolving capabilities to new areas, whether they are in abandonment, production or maintenance. In order to expand our portfolio, we are open to continue working closely with other service companies in our sector. A combination of tools, systems and approaches will no doubt advance the technology, and increase our overall efficiency, so that’s something we are looking to invest more time into over the coming years. “The support of our clients will continue to be vital to the success of HydraWell. There are lots of operators across the industry who are looking to problem solve with us. Together we can pinpoint challenges in regards to emissions, cost, health and safety and even technical risk, so we really enjoy working collaboratively like that. At the end of the day, we all want the best results, and building synergy with others is an effective way of achieving that goal,” he concludes.

HYDRAWELL

HydraWell www.hydrawell.no ......................................... Services: Well engineering services

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Making a splash

As a leading specialist in the water treatment sector, VWS Westgarth supports its customers with innovative technologies and sustainable development solutions

As a subsidiary of the Veolia group, VWS Westgarth (Westgarth) is known for its advanced and innovative design and build work across the water sector. Drawing on decades of industry experience, the company is able provide customers with cutting-edge drinking and wastewater treatment plants, as well as a range of smaller, more standardized water treatment products. Now, Westgarth has an established global presence, and plans for major expansion into the sustainable energy space. Built on a long history of innovation, Westgarth has worked hard to become an industry leader. The company’s history began in Glasgow, as an important part of the Weir engineering group. As David Lothian, Head of Upstream Services, details: “Building upon

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the Weir Group’s depth of engineering ability, Westgarth started out by designing and building desalination plants. After a few years, it moved into offshore territories, providing the first commercial installation of sulphate reduction membrane technology on the then AGIP Tiffany platform. It has since gone on to become one of the world’s largest suppliers and operators of sulphate reduction membrane systems. “The Westgarth division was purchased along with other business units by Veolia Water Technologies (Veolia) in July 2005. VWS Westgarth Ltd, as an integral part of Veolia Water Technologies, is able to utilize the specialist research, development and process abilities of the world’s largest water treatment company.” Since becoming a part of Veolia, Westgarth has developed market-leading design and


PROFILE

build capabilities. The company’s advanced understanding of the water sector’s most innovative technology has helped it continue to prosper, as David discusses: “The Design and Build (D&B) segment of our business is unparalleled by anyone in the industry. With over 40 percent of the overall market share, our product range covers both seawater and produced water treatment. “We have a range of service solutions, which differentiate us from other companies in the water sector; our systems are bespoke, and our extensive, experience-based knowledge is fed back into the D&B designs and processes to ensure we are always offering customers the most cost effective and efficient service possible.” With the support of Veolia, Westgarth is able to offer research and development (R&D) services alongside its advanced design and build capabilities. “Veolia is a large corporation, and we are able to use our partnership with them to leverage internal expertise on a global scale. Through Veolia, we have access to a diverse portfolio of R&D initiatives. The company continually drives for innovation, especially in technology and service provisions. “Whilst we operate in our own industrial segment, we have a lot of synergies with other

VWS WESTGARTH

divisions in Veolia, which reduces R&D costs, and provides us with valuable input on and to our business unit strategies. This support works to elevate both our technology and our service,” asserts David. Having such an impressive variety of capabilities means that Westgarth is able to offer a diverse range of support services to its clients. As David reveals: “We offer a vast range of service solutions for through-life support. Our services include onshore and remote data monitoring with technical support (Hubgrade), offshore field service representative support, water treatment chemicals through Hydrex, spare part and Veolia consumables for operational support, and engineering upgrades for brownfield applications. “We also have a range of more advanced services, including bespoke training services, accessed through our eLearning platform on Hubgrade, offshore environmental services, such as hazardous waste removal, and general start-up support.” The company also works with a variety of advanced engineering applications, which means that it is continually designing and creating bespoke solutions for its clients. “Almost every project that we work on is made to order, due

We already provide a full EPC service to our clients for offshore water process technology, and as hydrogen has a water requirement, it has become the natural space for us to grow into as part of the energy transition

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to the range of variables that we work with in our industry. “Our work needs to account for vessel or platform designs, as well as the capacity of water treatment and footprint dimensions, which vary every time. Standardization, then, is quite difficult for us. We do, however, pride ourselves on the fact that these projects are ever-increasing in terms of capacity and output. Customers are driving high-availability designs, so the challenges posed by our work are becoming more demanding. The technology is ever-evolving, and as we make strides toward standardization, we have to maintain focus,” David comments. Staying focused on industry trends helps keep Westgarth nimble, flexible and efficient. The company is known for its ability to prevent issues through early detection, as David affirms: “The proactive approach pays dividends for our customers. Using our Hubgrade event detection program, we can capture potential membrane and operational issues early and ensure maximum efficiency on all of our systems. In addition to this, we categorize downtime causes, to capture any data pattern or problems that might come up, so that corrective action and preventative measures can be implemented.” The effectiveness of Westgarth’s technology has helped it break into the global water market. Maintaining its influence means making strategic movements into new territories, as David explains: “The global market for sulphate removal technology has always been concentrated in certain offshore clusters. In the past, this has centered around Brazil and West Africa, due to the specific reservoir requirements of these regions. However, more recently we have seen success in Guyana, which has become a regional hotspot for sulphate removal technology. We expect to see major growth in this area in the coming years, and we are responding to this insight by accelerating our development plans, and establishing a strong local presence.” This forward-thinking strategy also applies to Westgarth’s research and development efforts, which have recently been focused on the renewable energy market. “We already provide a full EPC service to our clients for offshore water process technology, and as hydrogen has a water requirement, it has become the natural space for us to grow into as part of the energy transition. “However, our capabilities as an integrator of offshore technology does not limit us to water components alone. We are well-positioned to

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PROFILE

support a range of offshore power projects across the energy transition landscape. Our ambition is for the Westgarth name to one day be as synonymous with hydrogen as it is now with water. “With our business being technology and services focused, this augmented approach will provide the new energy sector with a full turnkey solution, as our designs can provide remote operational services to a variety of autonomous sites,” states David. As it continues to be a forerunner of water solution technology, VWS Westgarth is making big plans for the future. As David concludes: “In 2022 we are looking at driving ecological transformation from a service sector standpoint, with the support of Veolia. We specifically define our transformation as a voluntary act, requiring

BOLLFILTER

VWS WESTGARTH

determination and will. It is a promise of action and a commitment to change from Veolia and Westgarth. “Our goal for the rest of this year is to make an impact in the energy sector by providing services and solutions that bring ecological value. This includes reducing plastic waste, driving operational efficiencies for lower carbon emissions, innovating new digital services in order to achieve reduced POB, and increased runtime of consumable parts. “2022 will be a strong year for the business, especially in terms of D&B technology, sales and services. All of this is positive progress, however we also need to look at transforming the energy sector, per our Veolia purpose. This is something we are going to be very focused on, now and in the coming years.”

The working relationship between VWS Westgarth and Bollfilter started more than 12 years ago on the occasion of VWS’s project for Petrobras, for which Bollfilter supplied customized automatic coarse filter units. Since then, Bollfilter has supplied both automatic seawater, and produced water filters, as well as manual CIP filters for 20 different global offshore projects for VWS Westgarth. Overall, Bollfilter has supplied its filtration solutions into this market segment for various offshore applications and more than 70 different worldwide projects, across all spots in the world, since it restarted its offshore activities in the year 2000.

VWS Westgarth www.vwswestgarth.com ............................................ Services: Design and build services for water treatment plants

...with exciting plans for new developments, upgrades and refinery expansions on the agenda, the business can be viewed as a leading light for not just Pakistan but for the wider energy industry

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Blessed to be a blessing From green initiatives to local apprenticeship programs, TARA Energy Services is set on turning the oil and gas industry upside down – and making it more sustainable in the process

Working closely with North America’s largest oil and gas providers, TARA Energy Services (TARA) has built a strong reputation for its comprehensive line of well testing services with its cutting-edge equipment, which seeks to positively change the industry in terms of optimizing its sustainability – all in just eight years of operation. Established in 2014, the Canada-based energy innovator burst onto the scene in spectacular fashion: a pioneering product was brought out

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by TARA that could heavily mitigate emissions by creating a closed loop production system. As we will discover, sustainability is at the core of TARA – the green beating heart of the entire operation. Since then, the innovator has continued to offer state-of-the-art custom equipment and field service solutions for the energy industry. Indeed, TARA now boasts the largest comprehensive high-pressure and high-volume fleet in North America, as well as numerous other divisions


PROFILE

for maintenance, heavy hauling, and logistics, all supported by highly trained technicians. “Working in tandem with our impressive team is a full fleet, which supports the frac, coil, and flow phases of completions,” explains TARA CEO Scott Bissell. “The fleet is built to a process specification, so that gives us the ability to streamline the manpower requirements and increase safety statistics in a positive manor. Streamlining TARA’s services in this way means that we can flow multiple wells to single

TARA ENERGY SERVICES

separators, all while recording and obtaining upstream data.” TARA works with a vast collection of bluechip companies and organizations in Canada and the US. Contracts are long-term, ranging anywhere from three-to-ten years, thereby anchoring the firm’s place at the fore of its niche. “While fulfilling our contracts, we’ve also been able to optimize clients’ capital spending, all the way from completions to production, so that they are better able to capture emissions,” adds Scott. “That’s all made possible through the completely closed loop system that TARA introduced. By capturing all vent and waste gas off the vessels, we’re giving our clients more value to the pipeline, but we’re also making their wells flow at zero emissions to atmosphere, getting them better royalty returns from the government in turn. The key, here, is eliminating gas that would otherwise escape up the flare stack by locking it into pressurized storage.” TARA’s attention to sustainability and Net Zero goals, Scott tells us, really began in earnest five years ago. Though, undoubtedly, the green commitment underpinning much of its operation is manifest in that first innovative emissions-mitigating product, which catapulted the company up the ranks of its market niche. “We were the ones that brought pressure storage into the completions of production, and that was new to the market from both a volume and design perspective,” he continues. “When we began working on reducing CO2 emissions, we were achieving figures of about 74 percent being mitigated. Now, with our second phase, which we launched alongside a government program, we’ve been able to accomplish a 98.9 percent emissions capture rate. Moreover, since we own the process for this technology, we will soon be able to bring it to the US.” The world is changing in two key ways, both of which are inextricably bound to one another. First, in a negative way, because climate change is rapidly disrupting billions of lives. Second, in a positive way, because some companies like TARA are recognizing the devastating impacts of the climate crisis that we’ve found ourselves in, and they’re intent on doing something about it. “Before it became a big public headline and buzzword, TARA was diligently working on sustainable solutions to complex industrial processes,” Scott comments. “Sustainability and emissions mitigation are the foremost priorities of TARA. It’s something we’ve been working on before the commitments to a Net Zero world started pouring in. We have been working on this for the last five years. Though the oil and

We want to bring our emissions mitigation strategy to the US, and continue to change industry standards by focusing our attention on generations ahead of ourselves. We continue to raise the bar and push our industry forward

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gas industry will be here for the long run, there is a big push to make it greener, and we are at the head of that drive. “We’re not looking at Net Zero by 2050 – we’re doing it today,” he asserts, highlighting the profound impact that the climate crisis has had on the company’s overall mission. “Everybody’s focused on the year 2050, but we’re doing it in 2022. That’s because we have an obligation to fulfil. We are blessed to be a blessing, helping the community and the circles we operate in.

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It’s a very important point for our company’s culture, and it spans from the bottom to the top: every member of staff is involved; it’s not just executive-driven, it’s employee-driven. What is at the forefront of people’s hearts is at the forefront of our organization.” To become more socially sustainable, TARA has recently focused its attention on the relationships it has with indigenous communities and groups. All team members are, for example, required to take a course


PROFILE

in aboriginal awareness to better understand the culture, history, and politics of indigenous people. As Scott elaborates, there are numerous sustainable threads running throughout TARA: “We run our own in-house TARA University, as we like to call it,” he explains. “Here, apprenticeships and other programs are made available to the public, including through local colleges – mechanics and engineers are created through proactive initiatives such as these. We love welcoming new people into the industry, and consequently we put a lot of time and money into their training.” TARA also puts a lot of time into fortifying its own internal processes. This meant that, by the time the pandemic had firmly established itself, the impact of Covid-19 was almost rendered null. “We took a different approach during the pandemic and the challenging years that followed,” says Scott. “We didn’t cut our employee base. Loyalty to our staff paid off substantially: we set in motion a positive evolution, actually scaling up with our clients throughout the pandemic. We led the charge; we were able to build equipment to facilitate scaling requirements coming into these better times.” As Scott has made abundantly clear, TARA is a growth-focused company, always intent on doing more and doing better. Turning towards the future, then, it’s certain that this will remain the case. “We’re focused on growing the Canadian market at the moment,” concludes Scott. “But we’re very eager to rejoin the US market. We want to bring our emissions mitigation strategy to the US, and continue to change industry standards by focusing our attention on

TARA ENERGY SERVICES

generations ahead of ourselves. We continue to raise the bar and push our industry forward. The oil and gas industry is not going anywhere. But, because of this, we do feel an obligation to improve emissions mitigation through continued innovation. One step at a time, we will help achieve a better future for all.”

TARA Energy Services taraenergyservices.com ......................................... Services: Industrial equipment manufacturer and tester

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Game changer

Launched in 2018, VERBIO North America is bringing years of European experience to bear on its Iowa-based Nevada Biorefinery, a project that’s set to shape the future energy mix in the US and Canada

VERBIO is no stranger to the biofuels industry. Based in Leipzig, Germany, the company has been a producer of biofuel products for over two decades, developing a range that spans biodiesel, bioethanol, and biomethane, along with feed, bio-fertilizers, and other high-value by-products for the nutrition, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries. With operations in Germany, Poland, Hungary, and India, and approximately 900 employees across its global footprint, the company is now established as a leader in the field. In January 2018, VERBIO took the decision to add to that footprint, officially launching

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its US-based subsidiary. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, the vision for VERBIO North America Holdings Corp (VNAH) is the building, owning, operation, and financing of biofuel facilities across the US and Canada. With its foray into the region, VERBIO entered a competitive market. Today, the US is by far the world’s leading producer of biofuel, while consumption is forecast to hit 95m metric tons of oil equivalent by the year 2030, driven in part by government mandates for secure, sustainable, and clean energy. But VNAH isn’t fazed. Instead, the technology leader is focused on doing what it does best:


PROFILE

developing innovative processes that drive highly efficient production plants. One of those plants is the VERBIO Nevada Biorefinery. Located in Nevada, Iowa (USA), it’s the first industrial-scale renewable natural gas (RNG) facility in North America using agricultural residues, primarily corn stover, as its feedstock. Greg Northrup, CEO and President of VNAH, explains the process behind both its acquisition, and its $115m development. “Back in 2017, we were looking at sites conducive to the production of RNG, consistent with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program passed by the US Congress in 2005,

VERBIO NORTH AMERICA

and subsequently amended in 2007,” he says. “Then, the chance arose to purchase a former DuPont cellulosic facility, a sale that we concluded in late 2018.” VNAH immediately set to work on Phase I of the site’s reconstruction, modifying its capabilities to incorporate the production of RNG. It’s a process that took approximately two-and-a-half years, culminating with successful production from corn stover in December 2021, at a capacity of 7m ethanol gallons equivalent (EGE) per year. “We have been making renewable natural gas on site ever since,” Greg remarks. “We built eight anaerobic ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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VERBIO NORTH AMERICA

digestion tanks, all at a capacity of roughly 2.6m gallons. Completing that was probably the primary challenge that we had to overcome in order to finally get up and running.” It’s not all been smooth sailing for VNAH. Following the arrival of Covid19 in March of 2020, and the subsequent pandemic, the US now finds itself amidst a protracted skills and labor shortage. Nevertheless, Greg is effusive about the experience of doing business in Iowa. “In today’s market, people are a critical asset,” he argues. “At one point, I did have concerns about identifying and securing the expertise we knew that we’d need from our contractors, subcontractors, and employees, given the technical skills required to run these kinds of operations. So far, however, we’ve been extremely pleased with our ability to find talent.” At its heart, RNG is a term used to describe biogas that has been upgraded for use in place of fossil natural gas. To execute that upgrade, moisture is removed from the initial biogas, along with carbon dioxide and trace level contaminants (including siloxanes, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, and hydrogen

BURESH BUILDING SYSTEMS

sulfide), before reductions in both the nitrogen and oxygen components. RNG, once upgraded, typically has a methane content of between 96-to-98 percent. As such, its use for the replacement of traditional diesel, gasoline, or fossil natural gas, has the potential to bring significant local air quality benefits. The biogas used to produce RNG comes from a variety of sources, including municipal solid waste landfills, digesters at wastewater treatment plants, livestock farms, food production facilities, and organic waste management operations. The number of RNG projects in the US has expanded dramatically throughout the last decade, but in its reliance on agricultural residues, and its industrial scale, VNAH’s Nevada Biorefinery remains an outlier. As part of the project, VNAH is capitalizing on the incorporation of advanced technology, which has been under development for close to eight years at VERBIO Germany. The application of that technology on North American soil represents an exciting moment, as Greg is keen to reiterate. “We’re very fortunate that our German parent company has really invested a lot in terms of our own internal proprietary technologies,” he comments. “Thanks to them, we’ve been able to achieve the operational excellence for the asset that we wanted. We’ll be looking to replicate that at multiple locations in the future.” By the end of summer 2022, VNAH hopes to hit full production capacity of approximately 7m gallons equivalent of RNG – and they won’t stop there. Upon completion of Phase II in the first quarter of 2023, the company expects its assets to be producing 60m gallons of cornbased ethanol as part of its integrated biorefinery process, along with an additional 12–13m gallons of RNG from stillage – the waste by-product created through the production of ethanol. “Typically, if we were a standalone ethanol facility, that stillage would be turned into

When you’re changing the game, or creating an entirely new one, project partners are crucial to success. Buresh Building Systems is a fullservice, design-build construction company with extensive experience in biofuels, agricultural, and industrial projects. Buresh Building Systems provided design-build services for several key components of the VERBIO Nevada Biorefinery. The VERBIO-Buresh partnership began with a grain receiving and storage project that included two truck scales, a truck-receiving building, grain-receiving equipment, two Sukup 500,000-bushel grain bins, and a grain reclaim and scalping system that transfers grain to the processing facility. The partnership grew with the addition of three large commodity storage steel building projects. The first building is a clear-span design with a length over 1,000 feet that stores thousands of stover bales for the facility. The second and third buildings store humus. All buildings included the required civil engineering and sitework to provide proper drainage and access roads. The Buresh Building Systems team is no stranger to pioneering projects. Having built the world’s largest grain bin, twice, we’re a partner who brings solutions to the table that make our customers’ vision a reality. We are a proud partner of the VERBIO Nevada Biorefinery project. www.bureshbuildings.com

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distillers dried grain, which in turn is sold as feed stock for livestock purposes,” Greg indicates. “Instead, we utilize the stillage as an additional feed stock in the anaerobic digestion process.”

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It’s with this in mind that Phase II of the project will see the construction of eight more anaerobic digestion tanks, doubling the number on site, and providing an additional source of RNG. “We’re really optimizing the capital investment we’ve made, by guaranteeing a better return from the integrated feed stocks being used across the site,” Greg confirms. It’s a capability that he describes as “the real synergy” moving forward, as VNAH looks to further expand its US footprint, with plans to open multiple facilities within the next five years. It’s a tough goal, but VNAH is confident in its ability to deliver. “We’ve been approached by a number of others in the ethanol business area who are interested in what we’re doing,” Greg says. “This is a site with a complicated history. After its initial development, DuPont tried and failed to produce cellulose gas ethanol despite 12 years of construction. It’s that lack of success that allowed us to buy the asset, which has turned out to be a wonderful thing so far. “When we came to Iowa, we said to the community: ‘Trust us, we’re here to put this asset back to work’,” he explains. “At the same time, we have German heritage, so it’s understandable that we received a degree of skepticism when we started our work. If you look at the history of the renewable fuels sector, there have been a number of facilities planned or talked about – that’s why it’s key for us to be able to demonstrate actual performance.” It’s apt timing from VNAH. Energy markets across the globe continue to reel following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an event that has shone a spotlight on the need to move away from reliance on fossil fuels. “RNG has to be a


PROFILE

massive component of our future energy mix,” Greg insists. “There’s a huge market available for us, if you think about the volume of agriculture residues produced by growers across the US, for whom it represents a whole new revenue stream. “To support that advance, it’s up to policy makers,” he adds. “The target for the original legislation was 16bn gallons of renewable natural gas produced. Last year, we did 562m gallons, so only about four percent of that original target. So, there remains a big opportunity. The pieces are there, we just need to put them all together.” At the time of our conversation, VERBIO had just celebrated the formal opening of VNB – an event attended by the Governor of Iowa, Congressional representatives, and local community members. The challenge now is for the company to finish the build out of the site,

FORGE

VERBIO NORTH AMERICA

with the goal of bringing the asset online in time for the first quarter of 2023. “It’s great to talk about this stuff, but you have to walk your talk,” Greg insists. “That’s our number one priority, and we have to stay focused to make sure we meet our targets.” Before we concluded, Greg made sure to give credit and thanks to the individuals whose hard work is helping to realize VNAH’s vision for the Nevada refinery. “To be able to produce the output we do, you have to have operational technology expertise,” he concludes. “On that point, I couldn’t be prouder of our engineers and production workers. We’re producing renewable natural gas in a way that’s profitable, and at the same time, we’re addressing what is already a critical need as we look to drive a more sustainable future for the US.”

FORGE (formerly Gulf Coast Tanks and Construction – GCT), is proud to have played a part in the VERBIO Nevada Biorefinery, the first industrial-scale natural gas facility in North America. Our team installed several renewable energy and bioenergy tanks to help VERBIO’s vision become a reality. For over a decade, we at FORGE have put our many years of combined experience in high-quality municipal and industrial storage tanks to good use, completing over 3,000 installations across many countries and building lasting relationships with our customers, like VERBIO, along the way. Our strength is in our service.

VERBIO North America https://www.verbio.us ......................................... Services: Biofuel production

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A renewed purpose After being idled amid Covid-19, Newfoundland’s Come By Chance refinery has found a new lease of life as Braya Renewable Fuels – now being converted into a renewable diesel biorefinery, it’s set to fuel Canada’s green energy transition

Stretching back more than 50 years, the story of the Come By Chance Refinery is one of ambition, determination, and renewal. The facility is located on the isthmus of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, overlooking Placentia Bay. The construction of the Come By

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Chance commenced in 1971, led by American businessman John Shaheen, with the support of British company Procon Limited, but despite launching operations in December 1973, they proved short-lived. By 1976, less than three years later, the refinery fell into bankruptcy.


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A second chance for the Come By Chance did indeed come when, after lying dormant for four years, the refinery was purchased for a fee of $10 million by Petro-Canada. The move was one of a number of acquisitions completed by the then-state-owned corporation, as it sought

BRAYA RENEWABLE FUELS

to establish itself as a major player within the domestic oil market. However, despite the Come By Chance’s promise, the corporation opted against reactivation. Instead, the refinery was sold to Newfoundland Processing Ltd., a Bermuda-based refinery, for just a single dollar. ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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PROFILE

BRAYA RENEWABLE FUELS

Throughout the ensuing decade, subsequent owners of the Come By Chance came, and went – before the cycle finally reached an end in 2020, with the announcement that the refinery was at risk of permanently closing amid the onset of Covid-19. But in November 2021, a new era dawned for the Come By Chance. Acquired by private equity group Cresta Fund Management, the facility is enjoying a new life as a biofuel refinery, and a new name: Braya Renewable Fuels (Braya). As Frank Almaraz, CEO of Braya explains, the conversion of the Come By Chance refinery is a development born out of the turbulence of the recent pandemic, which precipitated drastic

KELSON & KELSON LTD

reductions in petroleum-based fuel demand and refinery closures world-wide. Coupled with a growing global demand for renewable and sustainable fuels, Braya’s decision to pivot towards renewable diesel was a no-brainer. “Braya Renewable Fuels is focused on powering the decarbonized future of the heavy transportation sector, a critical component of our global economy,” Frank tells us. “This project is an ideal solution for meaningful greenhouse gas reduction, involving the conversion of a variety of clean renewable feedstocks such as soybean oil and other fats, oils, and greases. In doing so, we’re able to utilize existing processing equipment at the

Kelson & Kelson Ltd is very proud to have been selected by Braya Renewable Fuels to aid in the NARL Refinery conversion project in Newfoundland. By having access to the latest industrial equipment and technology, and, with its expansive expertise and experience, it can provide exceptional services to clients. The company looks forward to continuing the relationship with Braya Renewable Fuels on future projects. Its team provides many industrial coating services, such as lead abatement, industrial coating/lining applications, industrial flooring, remote lead abatement, abrasive blasting, vapor blasting and ultra-high-pressure water jetting (UHPWJ). Currently, it has clients in petroleum, nuclear, pulp and paper, mining, and food/beverage industries. Kelson & Kelson Ltd provides a superior product for each of its customers, while maintaining excellent health, safety, environment, and quality records.

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refinery that is well-suited for light modification to the new production scheme.” Renewable diesel, as a second-generation biofuel that is molecularly identical to petroleum diesel, can be consumed in diesel engines as a 100 percent replacement product. “Renewable fuels are produced from feedstocks that acquired carbon during their lifetimes,” Frank outlines, when asked about the science that underpins Braya’s innovative refinery conversion. “These materials are converted into renewable fuel and burned, during which they release CO2 back into the environment,” he explains. “However, the burning of these renewable fuels provides a net balance to emissions as the CO2 previously existed in the air before being captured by the original materials. This process differs from typical diesel and crude oil fuel production in that renewable diesel does not result in net additions of CO2. “The benefits of this project are many, from global greenhouse gas reductions to substantial emissions reductions at the refinery, to the health of the local economy,” he continues.

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“The location of the plant in the North Atlantic provides many advantages for transporting feedstock from anywhere in the world and moving our product to global lowcarbon markets.” Phase I of the Come By Chance conversion will retrofit a portion of the refinery to process primarily cleaner renewable feedstocks, such as soybean oil, tallow, used cooking oil (UCO) and Distiller’s Corn Oil (DCO) to produce up to 18,000 bpd of Renewable Diesel, with an option to add minor equipment to also produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel (Renewable Jet Fuel). The development will utilize a portion of the refinery’s process plants and equipment, with the main process components of the new plant configuration including a hydrogen plant, HydroDeOxygenation Unit (HDO) and HydroIsom Unit (HI). “We are also installing Hydroflex™ Green Diesel technology licensed from Haldor Topsoe A/S (HTAS), a Danish catalysis and process design company that specializes in carbon reduction technologies,” Frank reveals. “We will also be repurposing the utility systems, tankage,


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BRAYA RENEWABLE FUELS

and jetty for renewable diesel operations. We will share these resources with our partner, North Atlantic Refining Corporation (NARC), who will own and operate most of the logistics assets to support the refinery. NARC also uses some of these logistics assets to run their fuel supply and distribution business for Newfoundland.” As one of a few pioneering projects in industrial-scale biofuel conversion, the successful retrofit of the Come By Chance represents a significant undertaking for Braya. But it’s also a key project for Canada as a whole, as the country seeks to achieve the goals and objectives set out in the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS), and stand up to the challenge of the global energy transition. “As Canada’s strategy for lower carbon energy

LORNEVILLE

At Lorneville, we recognize our world holds many exciting and essential energy transition opportunities critical to our future. However, we believe this transition is not new. It has been occurring for as long as we have been in business. From the first CANDU 6 nuclear refurbishment, to Canada’s world-scale LNG facilities to refinery biodiesel conversions, we have been at the forefront of this movement across Canada for years. We are thankful and excited to have been entrusted with supporting Braya Renewable Fuels on their journey to support North America’s energy needs.

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progresses, we will be in a prime location to help supply the market close to home,” Frank argues. “While the details of the proposed CFS program are being finalized, we are anxious to see how the regulation will stimulate incremental demand alongside provincial programs already in place. In any case, Braya will be one of the largest producers of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the country and will be positioned to supply growing volumes of renewable fuels, especially in Eastern Canada.” As a vital asset to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the project will also bring benefits on a local scale. “Come By Chance is an important local employer,” Frank tells us. “The conversion of the refinery into a renewable fuel facility is a big benefit for Newfoundland and Labrador, as it ensures a bright, sustainable future for the refinery and its workers. The plant will provide hundreds of jobs during construction, and approximately 200 jobs during operation.

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“While the procedures and know-how are similar between the repurposed petroleum production facility and the converted renewable diesel production facility, there will be some level of new training required for the existing workforce,” Frank says. “We have no doubt in the ability of our workforce to make the necessary transition. Our deeply committed workers are personally invested in the success of Braya Renewable Fuels. The new chapter we are writing greatly benefits families, the community, and the province.” For Phase II of its project, Braya harbors plans to add feed pre-treatment capabilities to the plant, enabling the utilization of a wider range of less expensive feedstock, such as Canola. The addition of hydrogen production to the facility, meanwhile, is set to expand its capacity to 24,000 bpd of renewable diesel. “We’re actively analyzing opportunities to increase efficiency, including the potential for green hydrogen production,” Frank confirms. “After the completion of Phase II, the RDU will be one


PROFILE

of the five largest renewable diesel production facilities in the world. It will supply lower GHG emission fuel alternatives to Newfoundland and Labrador and to the global market.” With the conversion ongoing, and production of renewable diesel at Braya set to begin in late 2022, Frank expects a high level of activity at the refinery in the coming months, and cites the company’s “laser focus” on delivering what is set to be a world-class conversion project. “We’re on our way to positioning Braya as a leader in renewable fuel production and providing safe and sustainable jobs for the community and the province,” he goes on. “We have an incredibly strong and experienced workforce and we’re confident that the Come By Chance Refinery will soon be one of the world’s premier renewable fuel facilities.

HOOPER WELDING

BRAYA RENEWABLE FUELS

“Looking further ahead, the converted Come By Chance facility opens up other opportunities that we are interested in exploring, including new products such as sustainable aviation fuel,” Frank concludes. “As jurisdictions around the world change their regulations around CO2 emissions and fuel requirements, the number of potential markets for this facility increases. “California is the biggest market for renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, but with environmental regulations and sustainable fuel requirements being introduced around the world, new and larger markets may appear across the continent and globe. With that said, we will look for ways to meet the demand of a dynamic marketplace through increased capacity, production process efficiency, and feedstock flexibility.”

The success of Hooper Welding is built around developing and maintaining valued, long-term relationships. Hooper Welding has worked with the Braya facility for over 25 years, delivering best quality and value. We are grateful to see this Canadian refinery lead the decarbonization effort with renewable fuels. We look forward to supporting the new evolution with Braya and its success in the years to come.

Braya Renewable Fuels www.brayafuels.com ......................................... Services: Renewable fuel refinery

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The green generation With a global footprint, and more than a century of industry expertise, BWSC Generation Services UK is leading the way in the provision of sustainable energy solutions

There’s a rich history at BWSC Generation Services UK (BSCW). Operating out of its base in Allerød, Denmark, the global energy solutions provider for engine-based and boiler-based power plants traces its origins back to 1843 – the year in which Danish industrialist Hans Heinrich Baumgarten was awarded a

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royal license to establish a machine shop in Copenhagen. A partnership with Carl Christian Burmeister followed, as did Baumgarten’s retirement, before the arrival of a new partner, William Wain, led to the foundation of Burmeister & Wain (B&W) in 1872. B&W quickly established a reputation for


PROFILE

itself in the supply of steam generating plants for industry and power stations, a trade that, in 1898, brought the company into partnership with Rudolf Diesel, who granted B&W exclusive manufacturing rights for his innovative and, at the time, revolutionary engine. Even so, it would be another 80 years

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before the official inauguration of BWSC, or Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, in 1980 – a move that followed the sale of B&W’s contracting division to Japanese company Mistui E&S Holdings (MES). The company was awarded its first IPP contract, for the Sapugaskanda engine-based power plant in ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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Sri Lanka, in 1998 – one that it continues to operate and maintain to this day. A decade later, BWSC marked another milestone, securing its first ever turnkey biomass power plant contract, for the Western Wood Energy Biomass Plant, in Port Talbot, Wales. Today, BWSC enjoys a footprint that stretches across a total of 74 countries worldwide, and boasts annual revenues of DKK 1.8 billion, coupled with an order backlog of DKK 6 billion. Aided by its re-acquisition of B&W’s former steam division, Burmeister & Wain Energy A/S (BWE), BWSC’s broad repertoire encompasses everything from turnkey power plants, to boilers and conversions, and operations, maintenance, and service. When delivering on its contracts, BWSC is able to draw on this impressive track record of plant design and building. The company prides itself on having the flexibility and know-how to deal with almost any limitation or challenge – a capability that helps it to improve the quality of its stakeholders through initiatives to minimize environmental impact and maximise power production value. The result is affordable, reliable, and cleaner power at a reasonable price for consumers. BWSC has proven itself as straightforward, diligent, and proactive in its business approach, as well as in its ability to meet commitments to quality, deadline, and budget. Nevertheless, the global energy sector is changing fast. Around the world, energy consumption is expected to increase by 30 percent between 2017 and 2040, a shift driven primarily by countries positioned outsides the OECD, as they look to drive economic and industrial growth. In parallel, significant strides are underway in the development of alternative fuels. Coal, once the pillar of the industrial revolution, is now undergoing its gradual replacement at the hands of renewable energy and natural gas. Technological innovations, along with the everfalling cost of solar photovoltaics, onshore and offshore wind, battery storage, and more, have already ushered in a radically different future. But BWSC is not standing still. Fourteen years have now passed since the company’s completion of the Western Wood Energy Biomass Plant, in 2008. The first of its kind in Wales, that project marked the beginning of a strong presence for BWSC in the UK, where it has built, and now operates and maintains, a total of nine biomass plants. It’s a fact that is indicative of the refined role that the company now plays within its industry, as a provider of technical, operational, projects, and advisory

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services not only for diesel, hybrid, and boilerbased power plants, but now also for other types of green energy facilities and technology developers. One of the most recent examples of BWSC’s work within the burgeoning biomass sector is the Snetterton Renewable Energy Plant (Snetterton REP). Situated in the UK’s East Anglia region, between the towns of Attleborough and Thetford, the 44.2MW plant is the product of a £160 million investment. Developed in a single phase, with construction having begun in 2015, the plant was commissioned in April 2017, when it began generating energy through the burning of straw, miscanthus, and woodchips, providing power to meet the energy needs of approximately 82,000 homes.

BWSC GENERATION SERVICES UK

The Snetterton REP is a prime example of how BWSC is delivering projects that combine the environmental benefits of renewable power generation with more local benefits, including the placing of Snetterton at the heart of a new market for the supply of straw feedstocks. As part of its 15-year contract at the plant, BWSC is responsible for the design, manufacturing, supply, installation, and commission of the plant’s biomass boiler island, and exercises full oversight for the provision of O&M services. Developed by BWSC, the plant’s straw feeding system and patented scarifier is adaptable to different types of square bales, including Heston and CLAAS, which are conveyed through four sets of straw feeding lines to the boiler. That boiler, itself designed by BWE, is of the drum type with natural circulation, and has been

UNIT POWER SERVICE LTD

Unit Power Service Ltd has worked with BWSC on multi-sites, carrying out R&M through a 24/7, 365 call-out basis. Together with its partners, the company offers turnkey projects i.e. design, materials, manufacture, install and commissioning. From the conception of the company, it has supported BWSC on its Sleaford, Snetterton and Brigg power stations on a range of major outages and Emergency breakdowns. When you contact Unit Power Service Ltd, your enquiry will be answered by one of the UPS owners, not just a switchboard. The company is certified to ISO 45001/ 9001 & Achilles UVD Scheme

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designed and optimized to operate with the corrosive and sticky ash caused by cereal straw combustion. The water-cooled vibrating grate, also designed by BWSC, ensures homogeneous and stable combustion of untreated biomass, and forms part of the boiler evaporator system, a design which ensures the optimal utilization of the fuel with a minimum of maintenance. With an annual consumption of straw in the range of 270,000 tons, the plant’s equivalent CO2 reduction sits close to 300,000 tons per year. Beyond its work at Snetterton, BWSC has also been undertaking efforts to underscore its own transition towards a sustainable future. Most obviously, this was evidenced in the launch of the company’s new corporate identity in early 2022, including the release of a fresh logo, and altogether new slogan: Ever better energy. Despite this new name, BWSC’s transition is by no means name-only: it’s backed with tangible commitments to green energy, and continuous improvement. As part of the re-brand, BWSC has expanded the offerings within its Distributed Control Systems (DCS) unit, including renewables integration, plant surveys, and fuel conversions. The company has also outlined a promise to greater technology independence – a point on which it is already delivering, following a second announcement, in February 2022, of its strategic collaboration with PJ Diesel Engineering. Capitalizing on the companies’ shared background in the energy and maritime sectors, the aim of the collaboration is for each company to utilize the other’s network and technical competencies to promote the remanufacturing of engine and turbocharger components. In doing so, the hope is that BWSC and PJ Diesel Engineering will be able to accelerate the circular economy within the remanufacturing of engine components by encouraging others to take concrete actions to reduce their CO2 emissions, and to extend component lifecycles. The final element of BWSC’s transition is the launch of a new Green Energy Solutions business unit. Dedicated to pursuing sustainable solutions within the energy sector, the division is set to work with plant owners in Europe and beyond to tackle new challenges around energy storage, carbon capture, power-to-X, and related technologies. Away from its projects, BWSC continues to place a heavy emphasis on the carbon footprint reduction of its own activities. The company monitors and reports its energy use and the carbon emissions linked to its own activities, including the use of office buildings,

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PROFILE

construction sites, and business-related air travel. BWSC is also strongly committed to the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on SDG 7, ‘Affordable and clean energy’, and SDG 9, ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’. On a local level, BWSC is backing up this work, and the success of its Snetterton plant, with support for hydrogen East, a new body bringing together interested parties and key stakeholders on hydrogen within the East of England. The aim of the body is to raise awareness of hydrogen opportunities across the region, and to promote local supply chains.

BWSC GENERATION SERVICES UK

Given the dynamic nature of the energy transition, it goes without saying that it’s a time of opportunity at BWSC. The company is already working on proposals to support a new set of power providers, with potential new contracts already in the pipeline across Europe, including in Denmark and Sweden. At Snetterton REP, meanwhile, work is set to continue. BWSC is looking forward to evolving the plant’s range of feedstocks, with an increased focus on carbon-neutral and carbon-negative crops such as miscanthus – just one of many improvements the company is set to explore.

ONLINE CLEANING TECHNOLOGIES

The UK and Europe’s market leader in the use of controlled detonative shockwave technology, Online Cleaning Technologies (OTC) works closely with BWSC Generation Services UK Ltd (BWSC) across all its power generation sites in the UK. OTC’s shockwave cleaning solutions remove fouling and other deposits from boiler tubes, and additionally, the company’s high definition, high temperature camera can be used to determine the location of fouling for pre-outage furnace inspections and for fault diagnosis within the boiler. BWSC benefits from the fact that OTC’s services can be used while the boilers are still running, removing the need to shut down and manually clean - improving availability, increasing efficiency and ultimately making a plant more profitable. Harnessing its wealth of industry knowledge, OTC can make recommendations on boiler parameters, temperatures and triggers for when clients require its services. With the right frequency schedule, the boiler can be maintained in optimum condition, for as long as is needed to run the plant.

BWSC Generation Services UK www.bwsc.com ......................................... Services: Biofuel production

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Big sky goes green

In Great Falls, Montana, renewable gasoline blendstock producer Montana Renewables (MRL) is ushering in a new era in US energy

Poised on the Continental Divide, Montana is a state of two halves. Slightly greater in size than Japan, the dramatic ranges of the Rocky Mountains in its western half give way, in the east, to the expansive prairie, steppe, and grasslands that comprise the Great Plains. It is a state defined by its abundant natural beauty, and the diversity of its wildlife – two features out of which have blossomed a number of unofficial nicknames, including ‘The Treasure State’, and the popular ‘Big Sky Country’. In Great Falls, Montana, one of the nation’s smallest crude oil refineries is about to become one of the nation’s larger renewable jet and diesel producers. Calumet Specialty Products Partners is modifying the existing Great Falls facility to process up to 15,000 barrels per stream day (bpsd) of renewable feedstocks – including seed oils, used cooking oil, and tallow – into

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low-emission, renewable jet, hydrogen, diesel, and gasoline blendstock. These sustainable alternatives will serve as a direct replacement for fossil fuels, and will provide a major contribution to the western North American energy transition. This year also marks a special occasion for MRL, and Calumet: the 100th anniversary of the Great Falls facility. For Bruce Fleming, Executive Vice President of MRL, it’s appropriate timing for a facility, company, and state, sitting on the precipice of a new era. “This decision is the end result of a three-year study of our strategic options,” Bruce says. “We’re preparing for the next 100 years by pivoting toward renewable feedstock as part of the energy transition economy.” MRL’s renewable feedstocks are naturally occurring from a wide variety of oil seed crops,


PROFILE

by-products from ethanol production, and waste by-products from the food supply chain. “With our feedstock pre-treatment technology, MRL can run any renewable feedstock from anywhere in the world,” Bruce outlines. “Regardless, we’re focused on very local gathering, within roughly 500 miles of the plant.” Adopting a local lens has its advantages for MRL. Strategically located close to major feedstock sources in both the US and Canada, Great Falls can access ten-times the company’s feedstock requirements within a close radius, including preferential access to differentiated north-western oil seeds like Canola, while creating a future demand for non-food oils such as Camelina. Underpinning the decision, the expectation at MRL is that these non-food oils are set to become an increasing percentage of the future

MONTANA RENEWABLES

feed slate. But there are further advantages. As Bruce indicates: “Our proximity to feedstock and product markets decreases our carbon emissions, by reducing the cost of transporting both the renewable feedstock to MRL, and the renewable fuel to product off-takers.” Serving as an additional benefit are the set of five hydroelectric dams, positioned immediately downstream on the upper Missouri River, which provide the site’s electrical power. “Montana Renewables’ process represents a leap forward through lower capital costs, better product carbon intensity, better yield, and greater speed to market,” Bruce explains, when asked about the revolutionary nature of the technology, which includes first-of-its-kind renewable hydrogen production, next-generation renewable feedstock pre-treatment, and a singlestage hydrogenation/isomerization reactor. ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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“Each key technical element has been discretely demonstrated, and the flowsheet combination is a first. We have filed for a process patent for this superior approach to fossil fuel replacement by renewable fuel.” To launch the production of its renewable fuels, MRL is operating according to a clear three-phase plan. “We’re currently at the stage of purchasing feedstocks, with the expectation that processing will commence in September of 2022,” Bruce indicates. “We’ll then look to add renewable hydrogen production in the fourth quarter, and commission our feedstock pre-treater by year’s end. This sequential commissioning was optimal for us to level the construction workload on our small site.” Although MRL’s operations are about to click into full gear, the journey to this point has not been without its challenges. The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic could have posed a significant threat, but the company’s rigorous implementation of effective controls prevented events from having a material impact, and allowed MRL to remain focused on integrating the project into the local community. In this, Bruce is thankful for the support that MRL has received from local and regional

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governments. “The State of Montana has been very supportive at all levels,” he confirms. “We’ve been having great conversations with local government officials, the business community, and local farmers and ranchers for more than a year to make sure that we’re the best neighbor and partner we can be.” For those farmers and ranchers, the principal benefit of MRL’s operations is the arrival of a closer, fresh market for their seed crops and tallows. But the company is also active in its support for charities and community groups. “In Great Falls, specifically, we support United Way, Great Falls food bank, and provide energy assistance for Great Falls residents, educational grants, and more,” Bruce says. “We regularly engage a Community Advisory Panel to exchange information, perspectives, plans, and facts that matter to Great Falls, and get feedback on how we can be a valuable corporate citizen.” These actions point to the strong set of core values that run through MRL, and its parent company. “Calumet cares about the communities where we live and work,” Bruce continues. “We strive to be a responsible part of those communities by contributing to


PROFILE

the greater good through charitable giving, volunteerism, and employment opportunities. We have three key strategic purposes: education and youth development through science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM); first responder support; and support for our immediate neighbors via critical community causes.” MRL is already eyeing an expansion, with plans to process 18,000 barrels per day of renewable feedstock by 2024 – a move that will provide the company with increased flexibility for optimizing between renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. It’s an ambitious goal, and a credit to the hard work of MRL’s

MONTANA RENEWABLES

employees as they seek to continually push new boundaries. “MRL was merely an idea just two short years ago,” Bruce reflects. “You can’t pull off an intricate conversion project like this one, which also involves creating an entire business entity and its supporting structure, without the best team out there. Our team has really lived Calumet’s core values, collaborating and committing to making this project happen. Our team believes in this mission. We believe that we’re taking steps to benefit our families and communities for future generations, and giving this facility another 100 years of doing what is right and what is valuable.”

TOPSOE

Calumet and Topsoe have worked together seamlessly to define the scope for the best possible revamp of their renewable refinery. Topsoe’s HydroFlexTM technology is customized to reuse Calumet’s existing reactors and equipment, significantly reducing the revamp’s cost and schedule compared to a grassroots design. The result is a renewable fuels unit that meets Calumet’s exact business needs and production capacity, at a lower carbon-intensity score. This is the kind of challenge that their engineering experts seek out and excel at in close collaboration with our clients. For over a decade, Topsoe’s Renewables division has worked not only to stay at the forefront of this critical field, but also to help determine where it’s headed. We devote unparalleled resources to our R&D efforts, working with the latest feedstocks and technology innovations to ensure that our customers can deliver the highest-quality products, at the best yield levels possible. From feasibility studies, all the way to startup and ongoing support, we’re dedicated to our partners’ success – and we never settle for less. That’s why we’re the world leader in renewable solutions.

Montana Renewables montana-renewables.com ............................................ Services: Renewable fuel production

...with exciting plans for new developments, upgrades and refinery expansions on the agenda, the business can be viewed as a leading light for not just Pakistan but for the wider energy industry

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Starting afresh

Canary Biofuels may be a young business, but it certainly should not be underestimated; with determination, innovation and industry-leading practices, the company is proving itself to be a major player in the Canadian biofuels arena

Based in Calgary, Canary Biofuels (Canary) is one of the leading names in the energy sector taking part in the move towards a cleaner, greener industry through the use of biofuels. Biodiesel’s early growth was careful and deliberate, with a focus on sustainability for the industry. Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources, such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel

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engines without modification. Today, upwards of 80 percent of diesel vehicles coming off production lines are warranty-approved for up to B20 use, including major manufacturers of tractors, farmers, and other farm equipment. Canary was originally conceived in the fall of 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, based not only on the theory that demand for biofuels was growing, but that biofuels would serve as a viable and quick method to tackle transport GHG emissions. Combined with the knowledge


PROFILE

that a significant amount of poorly built facilities and businesses had been deployed over the last 20 years, the company believed that there was a compelling opportunity to take its existing expertise and resources in the energy sector and apply the same approach to the renewable energy industry through a brownfield rollup strategy. Thus, Canary was born. The management team at Canary have shared their insights into the company’s successes over the last year, and the plans they have to continue its trajectory to ensure the business’s longevity. “After building out the team in early 2021, Canary raised funds through a private placement and purchased its first facility in Lethbridge, Alberta in March of 2021. With commissioning underway and upgrade concepts proven, Canary is on the path to reaching full state production,” they highlight. The company’s mission is to abate one million tons of CO2 from the transportation sector by producing biofuels that will be blended into traditional fuels. “The use of biodiesel in place of fossil diesel reduces GHG’s emitted at the tailpipe from diesel engines by over 75 percent. Sustainability is achieved by utilizing non-food or waste sources of feedstock, combined with a lower cost production approach that allows Canary to generate profitability. By being profitable, Canary can not only continue to generate low carbon fuels for decades to come,

CANARY BIOFUELS

but can expand production to and above our one-million-ton carbon abatement targets.” According to the Canary team, a number of key factors allow the company and its operations to stand out from the competition. Firstly, the low-cost of production through its brownfield upgrade opportunities. Secondly, the business is continually upgrading its facilities to ensure it produces different grades of bio diesel using different feedstocks. Thirdly, Canary Biofuels optimizes each of its department’s capabilities to get the best value from its co-product generation. Finally, a level of feedstock integration is implemented to reduce costs, secure a portion of feedstock, and generate additional sources of revenue. The discussion then moves towards the technicalities of how the business is able to produce its product. The fuel is made through a chemical process called transesterification in which glycerin is separated from fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind two products – methyl esters and glycerin; the former is the chemical name for biodiesel, while the latter is used in a variety of industrial products such as soaps, freeze suppressants and many additional applications. The team then goes on to elaborate on the company’s production facilities, equipment, and technology, particularly the 201 retrofit that was recently added to the Lethbridge plant. ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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“The original Lethbridge plant was designed to process only vegetable oils such as degummed canola using a transesterification, water wash and resin bed process. As part of the upgrades, in addition to additional storage that had already been completed, Canary added an acid esterification process, a glycerin wash process and a methyl ester distillation module. The process can now handle vegetable and animal fats, and oils including feedstocks with color. The end result is a more flexible plant that can handle a wide range of feedstocks to produce a higher quality biodiesel.” The team reveals that its Lethbridge plant is in the process of completing commissioning and getting to full plant run rates of 20 million gallons per year, or approximately 70 million liters per year, or 190,000 liters per day of biodiesel, and about 50,000 pounds per day of crude glycerin production. One might ask, considering that a project of this size took place right before the world was struck by Covid-19, whether the venture fell prey to the consequences of the pandemic. As the team highlights, that this indeed was the case. “Covid-19 did affect the construction timing of completion, but it was only a minor setback in terms of delays,” they say. “However, we are now starting to see the consequences of an eroded supply chain making things more difficult. With regards to operating the plant, we have had a few Covid-19 cases during plant commissioning, but Canary was prepared for this by having an additional shift built into the work force. As a result, we didn’t have any downtime owing to cases among workers.” The team then moves on to discuss the people side of the business, beginning with relationships with vendors, each of which plays a key role in Canary’s success. “Vendors are highly strategic for us as our plants don’t run without feedstock. We spend a significant amount of time building relationships with them, as well as developing partnerships or offtake agreements, when possible, to ensure that Canary facilities have significant volumes of cost-competitive feedstock. In addition, we do team up with companies that can provide added value to what we already have to offer, usually on the technology side. “Just like any successful business, people are key, whether that be the leaders, the accountants, the engineers and chemists or the truck drivers. Canary’s approach was to start with a highly effective and efficient team of leaders that covered the disciplines of refining chemistry and engineering, logistics, supply chain, fuel

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CANARY BIOFUELS

marketing and corporate finance. Start with the right team, create a vision that has purpose, supported by a realistic strategy, and integrate that team into that strategy.” Looking ahead, the company is eager to continue pushing for long-term growth. In order to get there, this year will be spent laying down the foundation that ensures many more years of refined biofuels of the highest quality. “2022 is the year of building the Canary foundation, such that Canary will have a fine-tuned formula that we can use to repeat the process on additional assets. By having the right working formula, Canary will then be in a position to expand, which will allow us to have multiple facilities up and running between three- and five-years’ time, getting us to our one-million turnover target.” IRON CORE WELDING LTD./LIBERTY BOILER SERVICES

Iron Core Welding Ltd & Liberty Boiler Services is a full-service pressure equipment construction company, and a fully certified boiler and vessel manufacturer. We also construct and maintain various process mechanical systems throughout the food, agricultural, and oil & gas industries. We are proud to be one of Canary Biofuels trusted mechanical contractors. Canary Biofuels currently owns and operates a 500 HP Liberty Boiler for which we provide service & maintenance. Iron Core Welding Ltd & Liberty Boiler Services have also implemented, and currently maintain, the water treatment program for the steam and cooling systems at Canary Biofuels Lethbridge.

Canary Biofuels https://canarybiofuels.com/ ............................................ Services: Biofuels

...with exciting plans for new developments, upgrades and refinery expansions on the agenda, the business can be viewed as a leading light for not just Pakistan but for the wider energy industry

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Creating a circular economy By setting the standard for sustainable waste management, Indaver has secured a reputation for excellence across Europe – now, building upon that reputation, it is opening a pioneering facility in the UK

Established in 1985, Indaver initially provided waste management solutions for the local chemical industry in Flanders, Belgium. Over time, however, the company continued to concentrate on the construction and operation of high technology waste installations, expanding into several countries and developing associated activities like Total Waste Management on various customer sites. Rising from its local origins, Indaver now owns and operates facilities in more than 30 locations

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across Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the UK, and the Netherlands. Indaver has proven to be a reliable partner to industry and public authorities for sustainable solutions throughout the entire waste management chain, from on-site recycling services to final treatment processes. In total, the Indaver Group manages around five million tons of waste every year and employs around 1700 people. The company is widely recognized as an industry leader thanks to its complete in-house


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INDAVER

Above: Princess Astrid of Belgium, right, marks the official start of construction at Rivenhall

processing plants, reliable subcontractors, substantial logistics fleet, and high-volume treatment of municipal waste. “At Indaver, we’re leading the field in sustainable waste management,” begins Gareth Jones, Business Development Manager at Indaver UK, which was formed in 2007 and has since been active in the UK hazardous waste industry. “There’s always an emphasis on innovation; while we continue to take care of the waste we already manage, we’re constantly

looking for the next piece of technology which can help us turn waste into a valuable resource. “Finding a use for residual waste that cannot be recycled, and extracting energy and useful materials from that waste, means that those materials thrown out by society can offer one more useful service,” he continues. “As long as society continues to produce waste, it can contribute to the energy supply that we need – either via electricity export or through a district heating network like the one we’ll soon be ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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connecting to in Aberdeen from an energyfrom-waste (EfW) plant we’re commissioning this year.” Indeed, Indaver is motivated to facilitate the UK’s overarching transition from a linear economy, wherein raw materials are only used once and then discarded, to a more complete, circular economy. As part of the latter, a greater importance is placed on sustainability and the added value it can provide. In a circular economy, moreover, materials are recovered from waste streams and are reintroduced as highquality raw materials that can be reused for their original purpose or utilized in a different way entirely. To that end, Indaver is in the process of constructing its first facility in England – an integrated waste management facility (IWMF) in Rivenhall. Once completed, the plant will be capable of handling 595,000 tons of waste per year and will also house other waste management facilities. Additionally, more than 25,000 trees and shrubs will be planted across the site as it develops, preserving its natural surrounding areas and limiting the project’s overall ecological footprint. “The Rivenhall IWMF is being constructed in a rural worked-out quarry,” explains Gareth. “The site is being excavated to 15 meters below ground level. With an abundant surrounding screen of woodland, the building will be entirely hidden from sight from three different directions. It will also have a green roof to help it to blend in. Indaver joined the project and acquired the site in January 2021. Several months later, ground works began with the aim of excavating two and a half million tons of soil from the former quarry. Excavated soil will be used to restore parts of neighboring quarries back to agricultural land. In May of this year, site development contractors P J Hegarty began to carry out soil-nailing, construct access roads and carparks, and install site infrastructure in preparation for the arrival of Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), who will begin construction work on the IWMF later this year. “Taking in up to 595,000 tons of residual waste per annum, the EfW plant is undoubtedly the cornerstone of the Rivenhall facility,” he continues. “The plant will produce power and will both recover metals and form a secondary aggregate from incinerator bottom ash (IBA), thereby turning the byproduct of the residual waste management process into a beneficial resource instead.” Though the Rivenhall facility was originally designed and forecast to produce 50 megawatts

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PROFILE

of power, recent technological advancements have changed the scope of the project; currently, the facility is expected to export a staggering 65 megawatts. “EfW is a wellestablished technology, but the rapidly changing market and customer requirements, as well as increasingly stringent legislation, means that Indaver must continuously explore innovative solutions to meet evolving needs,” asserts Gareth. “For instance, by installing an advanced selective non-catalytic reduction system that can remove certain gases in a targeted way, NOX emissions from the IWMF will be one of the lowest for any EfW plant in the country. Furthermore, the Rivenhall facility will be heat network ready, facilitating the export of heat in the form of steam and hot water.” Across numerous developments, Indaver has invested in communities that border its facilities. As Gareth notes, little has changed when it comes to the Rivenhall IWMF: “We’ve already made contact with several local groups and organizations who are interested in various aspects of the site,” he says. “We’re really eager to work with them. The site includes buildings left over from a World War II airfield, a medieval moat, a great variety of wildlife, and historic Grade II listed farm buildings. The people we’ve met are keen to help us sympathetically develop these aspects of the site and make use of its rich historical assets.” Other recent projects include ECLUSE, a network of steam and condensate pipes between thermal processing plants and several companies in the Port of Antwerp, which supplies steam from Indaver’s EfW facilities to neighboring industries. In total, the network results in CO2 savings of 100,000 tons per annum. The Belgian waste management company is now beginning to investigate how it can produce sustainable methanol from CO2, generated as waste during the thermal treatment process, by means of carbon capture and utilization (CCU). “We’ve also recently been granted planning permission to install an electrolysis plant at our EfW facility in County Meath, Ireland,” adds Gareth. “By doing so, we will be able to make use of electricity that can’t otherwise be exported to the grid when a surplus of wind power is available. Instead, it will be used to produce hydrogen, which can then be fed back into the gas grid.” Following its approved construction schedule, Indaver’s Rivenhall IWMF is expected to become fully operational within five years. “That’s keeping us busy,” concludes Gareth.

“Once it’s completed, the plant will provide a solution for residual waste in Essex and its surrounding areas. However, in the meantime, we will continue to invest in new technologies like plastics-to-chemicals. Other exciting EfW projects in other parts of the UK and Ireland are also in development. There are lots of interesting projects in the pipeline!”

INDAVER

Indaver www.indaver.com/en/home ............................................ Services: Waste management

...with exciting plans for new developments, upgrades and refinery expansions on the agenda, the business can be viewed as a leading light for not just Pakistan but for the wider energy industry

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Innovating the future

BKV Corporation is passionate about combating climate change. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and unrivaled innovation, the company is producing leading solutions for the energy industry

When BKV Corporation (BKV) began its journey in 2015, the Founder and CEO, Chris Kalnin, had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve: a modern energy company geared for the battle against climate change. He has since succeeded in reaching that goal. Recently, the business joined the list of ‘Top 20 Natural Gas Producers in the United States’, and this magazine gains some insight into how low impact, sustainable energy

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makes good business, as Chris discusses why BKV’s operation is crucial to the future of the energy industry. “We wanted to build a highly modern E&P company that utilized technology and efficiency to its optimal potential,” he begins. “One of the most significant milestones was our first deal where we bought an asset in Northeast Pennsylvania in 2016. It was an overlooked, high-quality asset, and, although it was yielding


PROFILE

cash flow, it wasn’t being operated because it was located in an area of the basin where people were faced with infrastructure constraints. “However, as a team, we made a bet that those constraints would go away, and that we could manage this asset efficiently, while continuing to make money. Fortunately, everything we predicted happened,” Chris says. The accuracy of the team’s predictions then provided BKV with the license to grow

BKV CORPORATION

the business even further. “We invested an additional $400 million into our expansion. We picked up the portfolios of many operators in the basin and became their operator. So, our second milestone was putting that into place in late 2017. We shifted away from being a non-operator because we realized that to really push our value forward, we needed to be in the driver’s seat of managing our own assets. “We had been successful in consolidating ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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PROFILE

BKV CORPORATION

other people’s assets by optimizing and synergizing them through a process of what I like to call, ‘putting Humpty Dumpty back together again’, and it was a unique system! Many firms would lease out their technology, and then either went bankrupt, experienced financial trouble, or wanted to exit the basin completely. There was no company that was willing to jump in to piece them together effectively to create scale, size, or synergy. Until we came along. “Having proved that we could make a lot of money by doing this, we then repeated this move in the Barnett basin. At the time, there was a company looking to exit Barnett, which, because for them, had matured, and there was lot of upside left, and that’s where we saw potential. So, our next big milestone, which was supported by our bullish approach on gas, was going in and buying that company’s asset,” Chris expresses. Finally, in 2021, the company began pursuing a full energy value-chain strategy through

the purchase of a power plant in Texas, in partnership with Banpu Power Us Corporation The 750-megawatt plant is located in Temple, Texas and is one of six modern combined cycle powerlines in the state. “After closing on the Barnett upstream, the power plant will now give us access to end customers. In Texas, electricity is a deregulated market, which allowed us to sell from a power plant directly to retailers,” Chris shares. According to Chris, Texas has a rapidly growing electricity market, and having access to end customers takes BKV to a new level in its ability to combine quality assets with its ESG portfolio. “That’s where we plan to expand over time. Our strategy is to continue to explore the full energy value chain, while building and scaling our upstream portfolio, and build a net zero businesses around that. If we can stay on course with these three tactics, I believe that will put us in the position, as an energy company, to provide net zero natural gas from the wellhead to the electron,” he explains.

BRIDGEPORT FISHING & RENTAL TOOLS AND KREBS WELL SERVICE

Bridgeport Fishing & Rental Tools, as well as Krebs Well Service, has a very close working relationship with BKV. Bridgeport Fishing alone has an average of 19 years oilfield experience per employee with most employees being part of the Bridgeport Family for over ten years. Bridgeport Fishing is proud to serve BKV in the Barnett Shale with the knowledge and experience the company has gained over the last 40-plus years.

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As a leader in the energy industry, the company works tirelessly to innovate its capabilities and ensure optimum efficiency across its technology. So much so that even Amazon has recognized it as one of the leading E&P companies currently operating. “This is because our entire infrastructure, data, and architecture is based in the cloud, and I don’t know of any E&P companies of our size that have done that yet,” says Chris. Why did the company choose this approach for its operations? “Two reasons. It allows us to move and manipulate our infrastructure in a scalable and efficient way from an M&A transaction perspective. “Secondly, it prevents us from being beholden to major ERP software like SAP or Oracle. So instead of using one of the larger platforms, we’ve taken each discipline, like accounting, finance, or geology, and partnered them with best-in-practice applications to ingest all of that data into the cloud, and form it into a data link. This makes us fluid, flexible, and enables us to create this wonderful ‘analytics warehouse’ to analyze and optimize our production. “For example, let’s take another look at what

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we’ve done with the wells in the Barnett. We have over 4000 wells that we operate, and many are what we call ‘plunger-lift systems’, which means that to get the gas out of the ground, we have to use a plunger system that basically gets the water out of the pipes, and allows the gas to float. We took a huge number of our wells, and allowed the computers to decide how to measure the parameters of these wells so that they optimize production. This included factors like the timing of the when the plunger goes down and comes up, or the settings on the pressures of what triggers different things; each of these items are run by computers,” Chris explains. Through the efficiency of technically operated systems, BKV has found that this operation improves its performance level by five-to-ten percent, and the company can then expect to lower unit costs over time to match the declines of the production as the wells continue to age. “Keep in mind that the wells we operate in Barnett are some of the oldest horizontal wells that have been fracked in the entire nation, because that area was one of the first to be explored and developed. It is actually the birthplace of the shale revolution. We’re working


PROFILE

to continue perfecting this technology as we feel this really is the best way to go, and it will give us a massive lead in the industry.” But technology is not the only aspect that has brought BKV this level of success; company culture is just as paramount. When Chris began the business, he was determined to establish a business ethos rooted in unity, transparency and personal growth. “I actually met with consultants to design the culture because it was really important to me. We have made a huge investment in our values and how we look after our people. “For example, we are extremely supportive of females in our workforce, and we have a high ratio of women both in senior and critical roles. This came about by intentionally removing

BKV CORPORATION

biases in our interview process, and how we look at talent in general, and we’re really proud of that,” he shares. “In terms of the way in which we take care of our people, we contribute significantly to their healthcare costs. We also have flexible work models and we have an attractive incentive program that rewards a large portion of the workforce, rather than rewarding only the top. One of the things that I was very determined to do was push our long-term incentive program down into the employee population at the expense of over-rewarding the top, starting with myself. This is to guarantee that we avoid treating managerial employees with greater favor than those who work hard out in the field every single day, keeping our business running.

PRECISION COMPRESSION LLC

BKV’s philosophy to bring new technology to their assets has been a great opportunity for Precision Compression. We have been able to use our Precise-Sync Technology across their Barnett asset to ‘right size’ their compression all while optimizing production, increasing runtime, and lowering costs. By better utilizing the horsepower available, we have lowered the emissions by up to 75 percent. Precision looks forward to growing the relationship and applying it to BKV assets in other regions.

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“Having said that, we also work in an incredibly demanding culture. We hire the best, we look for productivity and efficiency, and we expect a continuous five-star performance. So, as hard as we work to support, train, provide flexibility, and encourage a great environment for our employees, we do expect an incredibly high standard from those who work with us,” Chris adds. With each of these facets aligned for the company’s prosperity, Chris is optimistic about the future of his business and the positive impact it will have on the industry. His dream is to see BKV’s practices catch fire across the entire energy sector. “I have a vision for us to be the modern E&P company that everyone cheers for; that we’re seen as a force for a good and long-lasting impact in the battle against climate change. Global warming is happening and it’s happening fast, and we have to do something about it. From my experience, I believe that energy companies are the strongest positioned allies of society to combat it. “But we also have to make money because that is what our investors expect from us, so I would love us to hit that sweet spot of being a company that is materially addressing the issue of climate change, while continuing to be profitable at the same time,” he expresses. In bringing our discussion to a close, the big question that Chris is left to tackle is: how does BKV plan to continue to address climate change in a way that is still economically responsible? “We will make material progress by offsetting carbon dioxide to establish carbon negative businesses, while ensuring that our overall operations work synergistically. I’m also confident in the support of our consumers. The change in mindset towards global warming means that many of them are willing to pay

BKV CORPORATION

a premium for the assurance that the energy they use is not having a negative impact on the environment. “We’re a big and profitable company that will continue to grow, and I couldn’t be prouder of the change that we are contributing to this industry,” Chris concludes.

BKV Corporation https://bkvcorp.com/ ......................................... Services: Natural gas producer

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One of a kind Driven by the expertise of CEO Robert Rohlfing, Desert Mountain Energy is threatening to shake up the US energy sector thanks to its advances in the exploration of helium and clean hydrogen

A relative newcomer to the field, Desert Mountain Energy (DME) began life as recently as 2018. Originally founded ten years prior as African Queen Mines Ltd, the once-mining company approached now-CEO Robert Rohlfing with a proposition to explore

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prospective helium, hydrogen, and noble reserves in Arizona’s Holbrook Basin, a large salt basin, situated close to the south margin of the Colorado Plateau in Apache, Navajo, and Coconino Counties. “Going back to 1999, I’d already conducted much of the geology


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DESERT MOUNTAIN ENERGY

We’re constantly thinking out of the box, trying to be as close to zero carbon as possible. Our intention is to lead the industry, helping to bring other companies around to a new way of thinking

and base work,” Robert explains. “So, when the offer came in, I accepted, and the project developed from there.” A seasoned oil and gas industry operations executive, Robert boasts a strong geological background and over 26 years’ experience

in formulating, conducting, and managing successful exploration, drilling, development, and production programs for oil, gas, and minerals worldwide. Armed with his expertise, DME quickly set to work acquiring additional leases, before drilling its first two wells in ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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2020. “They came in beautifully,” Robert reflects. “We had a very high percentage of helium, and soon after we moved 75 miles to the west, where we drilled our third well, and made another discovery.” A fourth well at Holbrook soon followed, before DME launched operations at a new location, south of the city of Winslow, Arizona. Known as the McCauley Helium Field, it’s now home to a further three wells, including an exciting discovery: North America’s first clean hydrogen field. “Although the helium content in the McCauley Field isn’t quite as high a percentage as in Holbrook, it contains fewer of the other noble gases, and therefore lends itself to being more easily processed,” Robert notes. “Hydrogen, meanwhile, is typically found in the form of hydrogen sulfide. Stripping the

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sulfur from that is extremely energy intensive, and generally not cost effective. “Since 2010, I’ve spent a lot of time rappelling down the canyons, conducting sampling, examining the upper structures, studying the ground, the water wells, to find trace levels of helium and hydrogen, including a very specific area without sulfur,” Robert indicates. “That’s where we’ve decided to explore. We’ve been very blessed and lucky to find clean hydrogen to varying degrees. In the McCauley field, we found a combination of hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, and other components, and we now have the field defined within our leases.” Water-free production of both helium and hydrogen is a key component of long-term operation costs. “In a situation where you find helium and hydrogen together, one of the components you’ll have is water – a precious resource in Arizona, which requires protection,” Robert points out. “To achieve that, we’ve chosen to set multiple strings of casing in the wells to protect what should be, if not now, then in the future, treatable water. We’re taking extra steps to ensure that we remain conscious and aware of the environment.” In November 2021, DME released new details surrounding the construction of the McCauley Finishing Facility for the processing


PROFILE

of helium. The first of its kind, the plant will be powered exclusively by solar and hydrogen power, produced from the pay zone of DME’s wells. With a nearly zero-carbon footprint, it will involve no permanent construction,

DESERT MOUNTAIN ENERGY

ensuring that the site can be easily returned to its natural state upon its end-of-life. “When I first began looking at this area back in 1999, there were very few businesses that needed helium in Arizona,” Robert recalls.

...with exciting plans for new developments, upgrades and refinery expansions on the agenda, the business can be viewed as a leading light for not just Pakistan but for the wider energy industry

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“Now, there are 47 of them, 30 of which have launched within the last three years, driven in part, but not exclusively, by the growth of semi-conductors. We recently brought in five ultra-heavy haul trucks to transport our rigs and equipment. There have been a number of logistics and supply chain issues we’ve had to address recently, so we’re trying to stay ahead of the curve. “Working with an engineering firm, the plant itself has been designed to be lowemission, to the point where it falls outside the normal permitted processes,” he continues. “It’s not perfect, but so far, we’re really close to zero-carbon. It’s a project that goes back to 2008, when we began working with the EPA and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to understand the regulations and to establish what was possible.”

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Due to come on board this year, the facility is set to be a key focus for DME in the short term. But Robert is already thinking about what might lie beyond. “Our goal is to use hydrogen to generate electricity for a state-of-the-art filling station, including the recharging of electric vehicles via hydrogen fuel cells,” Robert reveals. “We’re looking at dealing with two different companies to implement that between three-to-five years down the road. “We’ve also identified a few other potential areas for exploration that may have a similar hydrogen-helium component with nitrogen,” he continues. “That could fall between 2023 and 2025, and we intend to work with the state to execute that at an increased density, above one well per square-mile. Neon is another resource we’re looking to exploit.


PROFILE

DESERT MOUNTAIN ENERGY

Desert Mountain Energy www.desertmountainenergy. com ............................................ Services: Helium, hydrogen and noble gas exploration and production

In all, our goal is to become a leading independent company in the industry for the satisfaction of our future energy needs.” Once again, Robert is keen to emphasize DME’s commitment to responsible, environmentally friendly exploration. “We want to be an innovator,” he admits. “We’re constantly thinking out of the box, trying to be as close to zero carbon as possible. Our intention is to lead the industry, helping to bring other companies around to a new way of thinking. We’re proving daily that it can be achieved alongside sufficient profit margins.” Reflecting on DME’s success, and particularly its advances in clean hydrogen, Robert is proud of what he, and the company, have been able to achieve. “From a geological perspective, for clean hydrogen to occur requires 17 different conditions,” he says. “We’ve proven that in wells number two, four, five, six, and seven at McCauley. It remains the case that lots of people try to drill for hydrogen, but it always contains a sulfur component, which continues to require huge volumes of energy to strip out. Our goal has been to stay clear of that, and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to pull it off. “For new companies joining the rush for helium and oil, they often don’t give it much thought,” Robert concludes. “I want them to understand that it really is possible to do in a way that’s responsible, so let’s do it.”

...with exciting plans for new developments, upgrades and refinery expansions on the agenda, the business can be viewed as a leading light for not just Pakistan but for the wider energy industry

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Complete control

Equipped with its pioneering Flashtech® terminal automation technology, Ankara-based Mega Industry Control Systems is blazing a trail throughout the oil and gas sector

Established in 1997, Mega Industry Control Systems (MEGA) is a dynamic and fast-growing research and development company, producing state-of-the-art automation solutions for the petroleum industry. MEGA began life as a distributor for loose equipment, before broadening its capabilities over time to the delivery of complete hardware and software systems, including erection, commissioning

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and engineering services. Now the undisputed local market leader, with a loyal base of repeat customers, the company’s business is orientated primarily around distribution and downstream. The company operates a number of truck terminals across the oil and gas sector, along with sites in petrochemical, water, food and beverage, and various other industries. “Today, the company, with its team of highly


PROFILE

qualified engineers, backed by technical and support personnel, has expanded beyond its territory,” says Derya Toprak, General Manager at MEGA. “We’ve evolved into an internationally active organization, confident of our ability to compete in the world’s most sophisticated markets. Our technology combines cutting-edge systems and programming with an intimate, first-hand knowledge of the special needs of the

MEGA INDUSTRY CONTROL SYSTEMS

petroleum industry, a challenging environment in which every system is mission-critical, and potential losses are expressed not only in millions of dollars but also in human lives.” MEGA boasts an extensive product and service range, coupled with proven international project management EPC capabilities. “We offer a complete turnkey solution, encompassing consultancy, project ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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PROFILE

MEGA INDUSTRY CONTROL SYSTEMS

management and commissioning,” Derya states. “We supply industry-leading field equipment and instruments in accordance with our clients’ project requirements, and we’ve developed strong relationships in the regulatory environment, ensuring that we’re recognized as an authority in custody transfer systems.” When it comes to terminal automation solutions, there’s a number of factors that set MEGA apart from the competition. “As a singlesource supplier, our wide range of functionalities in terms of custody transfer metering, in conjunction with our powerful SCADA system support, have been key factors in our success,” Derya confirms. “Add to that our first-hand expertise and proficiency in combining the metering and the industrial automation technology into a single user-friendly solution package, plus our exceptional flexibility when it comes to tailor-made design, and you can see why we’re a favorite among end-users.” Based in the Turkish capital of Ankara, MEGA’s factory stretches to an impressive 7500-square-metres, two-thirds of which is indoor. It’s a footprint that allows MEGA to continually deliver on its promise of impeccable

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quality. “We manufacture metering and transfer skids for the oil and gas sector according to required standards, such as MID, EN and API,” Derya says. “In addition to our liquid metering and transfer stations, we also build all naturalgas measurement and regulation station types A, B and C.” A cornerstone of MEGA’s efforts to develop and implement end-to-end control systems for the petroleum terminals industries is the company’s in-house Flashtech® automation system. Designed as a complementary solution to terminal equipment, Flashtech® initiated a new era for the oil and gas sector upon its launch in the early years of the new millennium, when it put engineering and software technology development at the center of operation control. “Flashtech® monitors all key terminal functions, linking seamlessly with a customer’s business system to deliver unmatched insight,” Derya reveals. “The technology supports a large set of application programs, including order management and inventory systems, multiple communication interface support such as OPC and Modbus, pipeline pay and check with automatic proving, access control systems,



LPG loading and unloading, and much more besides. As a result, Flashtech® equips our customers with a critical foundation from which they can push their business to the next level.” Not only is the technology renowned for its powerful, state-of-the-art capabilities, it’s also valued for its flexible and user-friendly operation. “In-built automatic start-up and shut-down procedures avoid the need for operator intervention,” Derya notes. “Even the most critical applications are started by doubleclicking the appropriate icon, and can be freely stopped and restarted for any reason during

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the course of loading without loss of data. “It’s also fully user-configurable: there isn’t any hard coding of the base configuration tables, meaning that the software is suitable for any future expansion,” she goes on. “The user has the ability to add and maintain all masters without any modifications to the source code. Hence, there’s no additional charge involved for changes in the load rack and base terminal configuration in terms of metering positions, products, additives, injectors, customers, or vehicles. There’s also no theoretical restriction on the number of metering points that the automation supports.”


PROFILE

Ultimately, the technology is intended to help prevent losses and ensure profitable operations. “It’s a proven system, with a remarkable degree of reliability,” Derya remarks. “Among the hundreds of terminals, and the thousands of loading positions that have implemented Flashtech® since its launch more than 20 years ago, we’ve had not a single recorded plant-wide shut down. Database support for ORACLE or SQL is also included as standard, as is native-language functionality for reporting, faceplate displays and messaging. That’s all without mentioning the low cost of installation and ownership.” To maintain its place as an industry leader within the sector, MEGA invests significant capital in innovation, research and development. “Our goal is to produce solutions with the future in mind,” Derya insists. “In view of the technologies that are being developed, our plans are to add some artificial intelligence to our existing automation system wherever possible. One project we’re actively working on within our R&D Center is an Industrial Business Intelligence Dashboard – an information management software, capable of tracking and displaying KPIs, metrics, and other significant data aspects regarding a particular process, department or business. By rendering information visually, we’re able to improve the readability of complex sets of data, thereby facilitating our customers’ decisionmaking abilities. “Another innovation under development is our Customer Support Center Application (ÇMU), which aims to categorize support requests,” she continues. “Problem resolution is a major concern for our customers, and without tracking, they can’t analyze and improve their operations. We’re also exploring the potential for Industry 4.0 performance monitoring and measuring, allowing our customers to monitor their production environment in real-time, and we’re looking closely into Internet of Things (IOT) Agents – an area that holds significant potential when it comes to the collection of data and detection and prediction of possible systems failures.” MEGA is also actively working on a new HFO Loading/Unloading Plant in Iraq. “It’s a complete turnkey installation,” Derya outlines. “The scope of the project includes the design, building and implementation of the complete terminal as per the customer specifications, along with the design of the civil, mechanical, automation, SCADA and fire-fighting projects. We’ll also be implementing our gantry truck

MEGA INDUSTRY CONTROL SYSTEMS

loading weighbridge automation system – another in-house solution package, in which weighbridges are installed at the loading gantries together with the metering skids, significantly increasing terminal throughput by reducing truck loading times.” Underpinning its ability to execute these projects, it goes without saying that MEGA relies on the advanced skills and capabilities of its team – the product of the company’s heavy emphasis on continuous learning. “Since its establishment, MEGA has always put a premium on education,” Derya admits. “We have a nice blend of experience and youth, and we think that’s a key contributor to our success.” The company’s expertise within the field of technology has proved particularly useful in recent years, as the arrival of Covid-19 thrust operations into the digital sphere. “Right from the beginning of the lockdown period, our status as a technology company enabled us to adapt quickly and efficiently,” Derya suggests. “Our business communication platform and infrastructure already offered workspace chat and videoconferencing functions, application integration, cloud file sharing, and synchronization services. As a result, we started to work from home offices immediately, and managed to do so with relative ease.” The company is now looking optimistically towards the years ahead. “Our intention and projection is to maintain our current position as a pioneer within the oil and gas sector,” Derya reflects. “Thanks to our flexibility and willingness to adapt to new technologies, MEGA will continue to be a first choice for its customers when it comes to meeting their most stringent requirements. We plan to continue our research work, further pursuing the ideas and technologies that will shape the future. “Furthermore, we firmly believe that sustainability is set to become one of the foremost of points of discussion within the sector,” Derya concludes. “We plan to develop and expand our product range with new software and systems in green energy, smart cities, and online education. Currently, we view ourselves as one of the unsung heroes of the oil and gas sector, but we believe we’re on the precipice of major success. We’re well-positioned to capitalize on the expected growth in Eurasia, the Middle East and Africa, and we expect to become an active EPC company across those regions. We hope to enjoy the continued expansion of our business worldwide.”

Mega Industry Control Systems www.megaendustri.com.tr ......................................... Services: Petroleum terminals monitoring and automation

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From biomass to natural gas

After successfully securing $165m in capital funding, work is now underway at San Joaquin Renewables LLC for the rollout of what is set to be an innovative gasification project

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PROFILE

SAN JOAQUIN RENEWABLES LLC

In SJR, we’ll input the feedstocks into our gasification process to produce syngas, which we’ll then upgrade to the quality required to synthesize methane. Because the byproducts of that process include CO2 and water, we then added a carbon sequestration element. In all, that gives us a pretty carbon-negative profile, at about a 200 percent reduction relative to fossil fuels

Tucked away in Kern County, California, a project is underway to revolutionize the world’s relationship with natural gas. Known as San Joaquin Renewables (SJR), the project involves the design, building and operation of a facility for the conversion of agricultural waste

biomass into approximately 30m gasoline-gallon equivalents of fuel per year. Based in the town of McFarland, this facility is the brainchild of Frontline BioEnergy (Frontline). Launched back in 2005, Frontline has a long history in the design of systems and ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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Above: TJ Paskach, President of SJR, and Chief Technology Officer at Frontline BioEnergy

Above: Frontline gasifier at CVEC

proprietary equipment for biomass gasification. Already with a glittering history of successful project development – notably, its work with the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) for an ethanol plant boiler in Benson, Minnesota – and a mission to become a global leader within its field, SJR is Frontline’s first venture into a project developed and operated entirely in-house. It was in 2009 that TJ Paskach, now President of SJR, and Chief Technology Officer at Frontline BioEnergy, first joined the company. He did so at a difficult time for Frontline, as the onset of the financial crisis and the success of fracking brought an end to rapidly increasing prices for natural gas. With a market strategy predicated on the production of renewable fuel gas for the ethanol industry, Frontline was forced to pivot towards new outputs. To do so, the company invested heavily in research and development. “We reinvented ourselves,” TJ says. “Gasification can be more than just making boiler gas; if we can create higher-quality syngas, we can produce fuels and chemicals – and so

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Above: Frontline CEO Jerod Smeenk

that’s what we did. Together with Frontline CEO Jerod Smeenk, we co-invented what we now call TarFreeGas®, a unique and scalable technology that nobody else has. We also became more involved in the downstream, first creating an integrated pilot plant for the production of renewable methanol as an input for biodiesel.” With the decision taken to pivot towards renewable natural gas, Frontline quickly revamped its pilot plant from methanol to methane synthesis. “That, ultimately, is the basis of the SJR project: through syngas re-methanation, we’re creating a fungible, transportable biofuel. Right from the start, we were successfully making methane,” TJ reflects. “Technologically, we had no problems. From a business perspective, the yields were exceptionally high, with a conversion efficiency


PROFILE

Above: Frontline filter at CVEC

of about 60 percent. It’s now been about three and a half years since we started developing the project, and we’ve built a lot of momentum. We did an initial private placement memorandum, and last October we announced our equity funding deal, which will provide all the capital cash equity that we need for the project.” In its delivery of SJR, Frontline is supported by investments of $165m from Cresta Fund Management and Silverpeak Energy Partners – a commitment that speaks to the project’s immense potential. “California is the largest market for compressed gas as transportation fuel in the US,” TJ notes. “Natural gas has a carbon intensity of about 68 grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule as a transportation fuel. If you’re able to come in lower, then you’ll be eligible for carbon credits under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That in turn creates value for the project.” It’s not all about economics, however. The location of the project, within California’s San Joaquin Valley, is of vital importance. “The input for the SJR plant is the agricultural waste found throughout the valley,” TJ indicates. “A lot of the crops grown in the local area, including almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and citrus, have an economic life of somewhere between 20-to-30 years. Once that period expires, the orchards are replaced with more productive trees, creating a large mass of leftover wood. This region, owing to its dry climate, has a longstanding bioenergy industry founded on the incineration of that wood for electricity, although that’s declined with the advance of solar and wind energy. “Several alternatives have been tried, but gasification is perhaps the best,” he continues.

SAN JOAQUIN RENEWABLES LLC

“In SJR, we’ll input the feedstocks into our gasification process to produce syngas, which we’ll then upgrade to the quality required to synthesize methane. Because the byproducts of that process include CO2 and water, we then added a carbon sequestration element. In all, that gives us a pretty carbon-negative profile, at about a 200 percent reduction relative to fossil fuels.” This isn’t the only way in which the SJR project is setting new standards with regard to efficiency. “Another push within our engineering process design is to eliminate the consumption of water,” TJ notes. He then asks, “Is that possible? As it turns out, yes. Because we’re in a desert location, there’s very little water. We’re not going to put up a cooling tower, nor are we going to use a well to evaporate all the water, because it’s needed for agriculture. Instead, the gasification process produces water, as does methanation, as a result of the oxygen and hydrogen components within the biomass. “In terms of what we do with that the water,

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PROFILE

SAN JOAQUIN RENEWABLES LLC

San Joaquin Renewables LLC https://sjrgas.com ......................................... Services: Renewable natural gas production

we could clean it up and sell it, and some does go back into internal consumption,” he goes on. “However, there’s greater value to be had by mixing it with ammonia – another coproduct of gasification – to produce a green fertilizer, which we then sell as a 40 percent aqueous solution. Similarly, water also has application as a de-dusting agent for our biochar coproduct, which is created from the heating of biomass material in limited oxygen at a high temperature. By adding water to that, it helps turn it into a product with uses across soil enrichment and water treatment.” Beyond its work on SJR, Frontline is exploring further avenues for innovation. “We’re involved in a couple projects in western parts of the U.S. and Canada,” TJ confirms. “The objective of one of these projects is to make renewable aviation fuel from forest residues, utilizing our technology on the front end to produce the syngas. Another project that is similar in kind to SJR, albeit at a reduced scale, will produce renewable natural gas from forest and mill residues.”

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This year is set to be a busy one for Frontline, as project engineering for SJR gets underway. Nevertheless, it’s not the company’s only focus. “We’re replacing our current pilot plant with another at ten times the scale, and we’re currently ironing out the kinks,” TJ reveals. “We’re also licensing our technologies to several other biofuels projects, actively participating in the project engineering work, with the expectation of winning further contracts in the years to come. It’s a wide-open field in terms of biomass, with a lot of the market available to us. “Although our focus remains developing projects in the US, we are open to partnering with a company in Europe to license our technology overseas,” he concludes. “Likewise, we’re interested in expanding into gasification for municipal solid waste. It’s a real challenge technically, but one that we’ve managed to meet. The market is very promising, and it’s been a lot of fun so far. We know that we have something the world needs, and we’re excited to demonstrate that further.”



Seizing the future

For more than a century, Vattenfall’s power has driven cities and industries – now the company has set itself a new challenge: to make fossil-free living possible within a generation

The state-owned Swedish energy company Vattenfall has shifted its focus in recent times. Once reliant on lignite and hard coal in its continental operations, the company has divested operations of the former and has already shut down several assets of the latter. In doing so, Vattenfall has reduced its emissions to around ten million tons. Undoubtedly, there’s still a fairly long way to go – especially if, as Mattias Lindqvist, Project Director at Vattenfall, points out, the company

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expects to make fossil-free living a reality within one generation. Fortunately, however, the commitment to action is there; to live fossil free tomorrow, the company has set about striving beyond convention today. Vattenfall has committed to Net Zero by 2040 for its full value chain and has set a 50 percent emission reduction target for its suppliers of goods and services. Moreover, Vattenfall aims to collaborate with partners to facilitate the decarbonization of the energy industry and


PROFILE

parallel sectors. The knock-on effect of this means that, for its key markets in Europe (Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and so on), customers will also be able to adopt clean, recycled, and fossil-free ways of heating their homes. “As a company, we’ve set a clear target,” explains Mattias. “We want to make our ambition of fossil-free living a truly sustainable one. We want all our customers to be able to join us on this journey, and consequently we’ve

VATTENFALL

started a fuel transformation program. We’ve transformed too in our Uppsala operations: our fuel sources have changed from peat to pellets to biomass in our plants, and we’ve changed regular oil to bio-oil for our oil-fired units. In addition, we use other heating sources such as e-boilers (power-to-heat), geothermal, and waste energy. “That’s a fundamental part of our long-term strategy,” he adds. “From our perspective, though, it’s not just a climate decision; it’s a ENERGY,OIL&GAS

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business one, too. In that sense, we’re sure that renewable and recycled energy is the future of business. Yet, as a business, we want to be profitable and long-lasting in the energy sector. Sustainable energy production is our route towards this.” To enact that vision, Vattenfall is making key investments in renewable energy. Recently, operations began at Carpe Futurum, a new biofuel heat plant in Uppsala, Sweden. The facility will slash carbon dioxide emissions by 200,000 tons per year, when compared to previous figures from peat-powered generation and has an impressive heat capacity of 110 megawatts – enough to supply 76,000 households in Vattenfall’s Uppsala heating district. Carpe Futurum marks a significant milestone in Vattenfall’s overall journey to phase out fossil fuels from its operations and allows families to join the company on its sustainable mission. For Uppsala, moreover, it represents a huge leap towards the city’s anticipated future of being fossil-free by 2030 and climate-positive by 2050. “The driving force behind the project was our transition away from peat,” says Mattias. “We were firing peat in our units and, quite simply,

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we needed to stop in order to live up to our purpose and our commitments. Old facilities of ours have seen a lot of fuel transformations – from oil to coal to peat – but the last step, drawing energy from biomass, was untenable. Therefore, we needed a new asset to supply renewable and sustainable energy to our customers.” That asset has been aptly named Carpe Futurum (seize the future), recalling the company’s ambition to phase out fossil fuels in Sweden by 2025. Indeed, the Uppsala-based plant is fired with bark, wood chips, and recycled biomass in various combinations. “The first year of the project was taken up by construction ground works,” remembers Mattias. “We had one initial supplier carrying out all the excavation, foundation, and concrete works. A year later, we switched contractors to a full EPC supplier – they delivered all the process equipment needed for the build, took care of the fuel coming in, and managed all the ashes and waste products going out. The EPC contractor started installations early 2020, and quickly moved on to a commissioning period, which began in August of last year. Following on from that, it was time for fuel handling:


PROFILE

Carpe Futurum’s fuel pocket was filled, and the fuel was transported to the two storage silos, and then on to the boiler. “Looking at the project as a whole, the main benefit we can take away is that it’s a biomass plant,” he continues. “This means we will generate heat from recycled biomass – for example, forest residue or construction and sawmill waste – and, by tapping into these waste streams, our plant will become more sustainable. Since low power consumption and high efficiency are fundamental to the project, we’ve installed a large flue-gas condenser to capture the energy we cannot take out in the boiler. The flue gases leaving the stack have a temperature around 40 degrees Celsius, meaning we really get the most out of the fuel we put in.”

VATTENFALL

Despite the pandemic, Carpe Futurum followed its original schedule and was completed with more than 850,000 man-hours put into the project. During that time, the plant had zero LTIs (Lost Time Injuries). Ironically, as Mattias informs us, the schedule of the project meant that it actually started and ended with the arrival and recession of the pandemic. “It was incredible how the timings worked out,” he admits. “We were very happy that we managed to complete the project given the circumstances. Our suppliers were really committed; we owe a lot to them. In all the time it took for us to finish the facility, only one supplier of boiler parts took slightly longer than intended because of Covid-19. Otherwise, we managed without any spread of the virus; tests were abundant, and rules were followed closely, with extra

ANDRITZ

ANDRITZ is proud to have supplied a complete EcoFluid biomass boiler plant, including biomass receiving and handling system to Vattenfall’s Carpe Futurum project in Uppsala, Sweden. The delivered plant includes a EcoFluid Bubbling Fluidized Bed (BFB) boiler, with very low emission values and high efficiency due to optimized flue gas condensing equipment. The successful project was delivered on time according to the agreed schedule and performance. ANDRITZ is especially proud to have completed this extensive project without any lost time incidents, showing commitment to its ‘safety first’ principle.

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PROFILE

VATTENFALL

precautions being taken around deliveries and newcomers to the site. “There were other challenges, though, that didn’t link to the pandemic,” he recalls. “For instance, the first challenge was to maintain heat operation while construction services were onsite. It proved very difficult for our fuel department to keep those plants running while we were building. When it came to construction, the relative lack of space across the site meant that deliveries of equipment were taxing, and often it was hard to fit the amount of people we required into smaller spaces. “From Vattenfall’s perspective, the success of Carpe Futurum would ultimately come down to the people working on it,” continues Mattias. “In the end, we’re a project organization, and executing projects like this one requires collaboration and teamwork. Our people enabled us to achieve the plant we wished for. In terms of construction, we maintained a very good relationship with our EPC contractor, ensuring that problems were solved before they could hinder or halt progress. That was a common goal across the project: keep progress coming and always overcome challenges. “People and local communities will also

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benefit from the plant – 170,000 residents in our Uppsala network, to be exact. The plant has a nice architecture, too. It really made a positive impact on the city skyline.” Ultimately, however, Carpe Futurum represents just one piece of the overall puzzle that Vattenfall is intent on solving: the pathway to a fossil-free future. To seize it, the Swedish energy and heat supplier is also investigating the viability of electrofuel for sustainable transportation. “We’re now planning a very interesting project called HySkies. With our partners in the project: SAS, Shell and LanzaTech we are planning for a facility for electrofuel production and deliver it as a sustainable fuel alternative to the aviation industry,” explains Mattias. “We will collect carbon dioxide from our waste-toenergy plants, using recycled fuels, at our site in Uppsala, liquify it, and then transport it to a new refinery, which is actually yet to be built. At that refinery, the carbon dioxide will be mixed with hydrogen in the refinery to create ethanol. Once refined, we will have created a sustainable fuel that not only support the aviation industry’s green transition but will also facilitate our own. In this way, a fossil-free future really is only a generation away.”

Vattenfall group.vattenfall.com ......................................... Services: Energy generation and supply



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