Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, is contemplating a significant transformation in its refining processes. The company is actively exploring alternatives to replace fossil-derived hydrogen with renewable hydrogen, aligning with global efforts to embrace cleaner energy sources and reduce carbon emissions. William Franca, Petrobras’ Industrial Processes Executive Officer, sheds light on this strategic shift.
Petrobras currently relies on hydrogen produced from natural gas, contributing to unabated emissions, particularly in the production of low-sulphur gasoline. Franca reveals that approximately 500,000 tons per year of hydrogen are essential for this process. The company now aims to transition to renewable hydrogen sources, exploring options such as biomass, biomethane, or electrolysis powered by renewable energy.
The strategic decision aligns with Petrobras’ commitment to environmental responsibility and mirrors global initiatives advocating for the integration of renewable hydrogen in industries traditionally reliant on fossil fuels. The move signifies a significant step towards achieving sustainability goals and reducing the carbon footprint associated with refining operations.
The exploration of renewable hydrogen sources opens the door to multiple technological avenues. Biomass and biomethane, derived from organic materials, represent environmentally friendly alternatives. Electrolysis, powered by renewable energy sources like solar or wind, offers a futuristic solution for clean hydrogen production. Petrobras is strategically evaluating these technologies to ensure a seamless transition without compromising operational efficiency.
Petrobras’ initiative to embrace renewable hydrogen aligns with broader industry trends and recommendations from entities like the International Energy Agency (IEA). By incorporating renewable hydrogen in oil refineries, Petrobras aims not only to meet its internal hydrogen demand sustainably but also to catalyze market activity and stimulate demand for green hydrogen. The potential positive impact on the environment is substantial, as this transition holds the promise of significant emissions reduction.