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Total, Engie partner to produce green hydrogen at biorefinery in France

January 18/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Total and Engie (Paris, France) will cooperate in developing, building, and operating green hydrogen production and storage facilities at the 500,000-metric tons/year La Mede biorefinery at Chateauneuf-les-Martigues, France, to create supplies for biofuel output, reported Chemweek with reference to the companiies' joint statement.

Subject to funding and relevant permits, the partners plan to erect a 40-megawatt (MW) electrolyzer at the refining site by 2024 that would initially produce 5 metric tons/day of green hydrogen, powered from solar farms with a combined capacity of more than 100 MW.

First-stage production could avoid 15,000 metric tons/year of carbon dioxide emissions, they estimate. The development of additional renewable power farms could lift hydrogen output later to 15 metric tons/day, utilizing the full capacity of the electrolyzer.

The carbon-free hydrogen would be used to produce renewable biodiesel at the La Mede biofuel refinery, which turns vegetable oil - such as canola, palm, sunflower - and treated waste - animal fats, cooking oil, residues - into hydrotreated vegetable oil. The rest would be sold to external users.

If built, the Masshylia project at Chateauneuf-les-Martigues could become France's largest site for hydrogen from renewable power, based on a concept that is "internationally reproducible," according to the statement.

The partners are seeking subsidies at the national and EU levels. They responded to a call for an expression of interest from the French authorities and are aiming to secure EU funding within the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) framework, which allows state aid, and through the Innovation Fund. France is among the countries that signed up to the cross-border IPCEI on Hydrogen Technologies and Systems initiative.

Total and Engie's aim is to overcome the renewables intermittency challenge by integrating several balancing solutions, to be able to produce a continuous stream of hydrogen supply. These include hydrogen storage to balance intermittent power production and hydrogen consumption, a digital piloting system, and supplies from several photovoltaic farms, directly linked to the electrolyzer.

Power-to-X developer CWP Renewables recently called access to inexpensive hydrogen storage a "game changer," because it allows to "time-shift" renewable power for release at a later stage. By comparison, storage with batteries is too costly, managing partner Dimitar Enchev said at the video-streamed World PtX Summit in early December 2020.

OPIS is an IHS Markit company.

As MRC wrote earlier, within the framework of its net zero strategy, Total will convert its Grandpuits refinery (Seine-et-Marne) into a zero-crude platform and will invest more then EUR500 mln into this project. By 2024 the platform will focus on four new industrial activities: production of renewable diesel primarily intended for the aviation industry, production of bioplastics, plastics recycling and operation of two photovoltaic solar power plants.

We remind that in November 2019, Total disclosed that itis evaluating construction of a new gas cracker at its Deasan, South Korea, joint venture (JV) with Hanwha Chemical.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.

Total S.A. is a French multinational oil and gas company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world with business in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. The company's petrochemical products cover two main groups: base chemicals and the consumer polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene) that are derived from them.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:bioplastics, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, homopolymer PP, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, Total Petrochemicals, Russia, France, South Korea.
Category:General News
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