Aramco & ENOWA create the first e-fuel demonstration plant

As Saudi Arabia cements its leadership role in green hydrogen, we’re excited to showcase capabilities of sustainable tech, says Peter Terium, ENOWA CEO

As concerns mount that global leaders aren’t on track to hit the targets set in alignment with the Paris Agreement, attention turns to both increasing tried and tested methods of lowering emissions, but also new avenues. 

Electro fuel (e-fuel) technology, built on a circular carbon economy approach, has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by over 70% on a complete life cycle basis, compared to conventional fuels.

Global integrated energy and chemicals company Aramco has partnered with ENOWA, NEOM’s energy and water company, to create a first-of-its-kind synthetic e-fuel demonstration plant. 

“Synthetic fuels can play an important role to accelerate the decarbonisation of the global vehicle fleet,” shares Ahmad O. Al Khowaiter, Executive Vice President of Technology & Innovation, Chief Technology Officer at Aramco.

Al Khowaiter has been CTO at Aramco for nearly a decade, having been with the company since 2009. Previously, he was Vice President of Economic Development at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, having gained his MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MSC in Chemical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara and his bachelors in Chemical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.

“We are excited to be working alongside our partners to demonstrate a potential path towards realising this vision.”

Innovative technology promoting emission reduction

The pioneering centre will be in ENOWA’s Hydrogen Innovation and Development Center (HIDC) and aims to demonstrate technical feasibility and commercial viability by producing 35 barrels per day of low-carbon, synthetic gasoline from renewable-based hydrogen and captured CO2.

“This partnership represents another significant milestone for ENOWA,” shares Peter Terium, ENOWA Chief Executive Officer. 

Terium has been at NEOM since 2018 — also taking on the role of CEO at ENOWA in 2021 — where he is building an energy system entirely based on renewable energy, as well as sustainable water and food systems. He has previously run RWE AG and Essent as CEO, rounding out his 15 years experience in the energy sector. 

“As Saudi Arabia cements its global leadership role in a circular carbon economy driven by green hydrogen, we have an unprecedented opportunity to showcase the transformative capabilities of pioneering, sustainable technologies. ENOWA is looking forward to collaborating with Aramco in the development of a state-of-the-art facility for e-fuels in NEOM, which will drive innovation and promote the economic implementation of future clean energy supplies.”

The 12 tons of synthetic methanol generated per day from green hydrogen and CO2 will be converted into low-carbon gasoline using ExxonMobil’s Fluidized-Bed Methanol-to-Gasoline (MtG) technology.

The HIDC will also produce green hydrogen by leveraging an on-site 20-megawatt electrolyzer, powered by renewable energy sources. The innovation centre being created by ENOWA will showcase the region’s vast potential to generate and use wind and solar power commercially.

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

Alongside his role at ENOWA, Kaeppner is an Advisory Board Member for Monaco Hydrogen Alliance and KAUST Circular Carbon Economy Initiative. Before moving to ENOWA in 2022, he was Executive Director Hydrogen & Green Fuels at NEOM from 2019. 

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

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