The 2.2GW Neom green hydrogen megaproject is set to supply green hydrogen to a pioneering e-fuels facility operated by Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco. This groundbreaking initiative aims to produce 35 barrels a day of synthetic gasoline using green hydrogen and captured CO2.
The collaboration between the Neom green hydrogen project and Aramco is a promising step towards cleaner energy production and reduced carbon emissions. Neom’s ambitious green hydrogen endeavor, with a capacity of 2.2GW, is at the forefront of the shift toward sustainable hydrogen solutions. Aramco, a global leader in the energy sector, is exploring innovative avenues for producing e-fuels, which have the potential to revolutionize the way we think about transportation fuels.
Central to this initiative is a 20MW alkaline electrolyser provided by Thyssenkrupp Nucera, a company with a solid track record in electrolysis technology. This electrolyser is the first of a planned 2.2GW installation for the Neom green hydrogen and ammonia complex. It is expected to generate a significant eight tonnes of green hydrogen daily, which will be directed to the Aramco e-fuels project.
Both the electrolyser and the e-fuels project will find their home at the Hydrogen and Innovation Development Centre (HIDC). Developed by the Neom Green Hydrogen Company (NGHC) and local utility Enowa, HIDC is gearing up to commence operations in the near future. This facility is poised to become a hub for groundbreaking research and development in the green hydrogen sector.
The 20MW electrolyser will serve as a testing ground at HIDC before the installation of a massive 2GW of electrolysis capacity at the nearby Neom green hydrogen and ammonia complex. The complex is slated for its initial production phase in 2026. This phased approach allows for rigorous testing and optimization before scaling up, ensuring efficiency and reliability.
Aramco’s vision for the project involves converting the eight tonnes of green hydrogen from HIDC into 12 tonnes of methanol daily, utilizing technology supplied by Thyssenkrupp Uhde. A fluidized bed reactor from ExxonMobil will then further process the methanol into synthetic gasoline. This innovative approach holds promise for reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
A crucial element of this venture is the source of CO2 for the pilot project. Hydrogen Insight has reached out to Aramco for more details on how the company plans to secure the necessary CO2. This information will shed light on the environmental impact and sustainability of the process.
E-fuels, while carbon-neutral on paper, have faced criticism due to their greenhouse gas emissions upon combustion. The production process requires a stringent accounting of avoided emissions to justify their environmental benefits. Some argue that e-fuels are less efficient than battery-electric vehicles, which have gained prominence as a clean transportation solution.
Despite these debates, the collaboration between Neom and Aramco marks a significant step forward in the quest for cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. As both entities continue to explore the potential of green hydrogen and e-fuels, the energy landscape in Saudi Arabia and beyond is set to undergo a remarkable transformation.