Honeywell Q&A: Renewable energy & sustainable aviation fuel

Barry Glickman, GM of Honeywell’s Sustainable Technology Solutions business, shares insights on the sustainable energy market and barriers it faces

With more than 25 years of experience in the energy sector, Barry Glickman, General Manager of the Sustainable Technology Solutions (STS) business arm of Honeywell, works with a team which provides products and services in renewable fuels, hydrogen, carbon capture, energy storage and plastics recycling.

The energy executive, thanks to experience gained through his previous leadership positions at the likes of TechnipFMC, General Electric and McKinsey & Co, now utilises his expertise to help leverage Honeywell's technology, global infrastructure, workforce and partner ecosystem to accelerate the move to a lower carbon world in areas such as sustainable fuels.

Here, he shares his insights into the current state of the sustainable energy market, and what barriers stand in its way as it works towards a greener future, specifically when it comes to the aviation industry.

What is the state of the sustainable energy market currently?

Environmental data shows the impact of climate change and reinforces the need for remediation efforts to move faster. The IEA’s recently released net-zero energy (NZE) scenario showed that we can still hit the 1.5C target of the Paris agreement, but we need to increase the rate of spending on energy transition from the current US$1.8 trillion to US$3-4tn per year. This transition requires sustained, multi-decade investment. 

What technology is currently available in the sustainable energy market?

Honeywell has a wide range of ready now solutions to support the sustainable energy market, including: 

  • Expanding Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) availability: Honeywell's solutions include a range of feedstocks to meet the rapidly growing demand for renewable fuels such as SAF. Honeywell's portfolio includes Ecofining™, Ethanol-to-Jet and UOP eFining.
  • Energy storage solutions: Implementing energy storage solutions that fully leverage the generation capabilities of renewable energy sources. Honeywell’s Iron Flow battery system provides long-duration battery solutions focusing on large-scale implementation.
  • Scaling carbon capture and hydrogen: Honeywell currently has more than 1,100 installations of H2 purification technologies around the world. Retrofitting existing hydrogen production assets with carbon capture technology is a ready-now, commercially proven and significant step towards carbon neutrality. We are working on the world’s largest blue hydrogen plant (XOM Baytown), which is being designed to capture 98% of the CO2 produced for CCS. This plant will sequester seven million t/y of CO2. 
  • Expanding the use of green hydrogen: Honeywell’s Catalyst-Coated Membrane (CCMs) technology helps electrolyser OEMs scale green hydrogen production by reducing production costs.
  • Tackling emissions: Methane is about 27-30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Honeywell has outcome-based offerings enabled by enterprise emissions management software-as-a-service, fixed and portable connected gas detectors (Signal Scout), Rebellion gas visualisation cameras, and Flare Gas Recovery Systems as well as Emissions 360 services program.
  • Digitalisation and automation: Beyond yield optimisation and on-stream availability benefits, digitalisation has become the first step in the energy sector’s sustainability journey — opening previously inaccessible energy and emissions reduction opportunities, highlighting and remediating inefficiencies and driving accurate reporting of sustainability metrics across the operation. Honeywell’s Forge Sustainability+ software gives real time insights into the biggest sources of Scope 1 and 2 emissions from operations and helps map the most effective path to net zero.

Which technologies might be best placed to meet the demands through legislation such as the ReFuelEU or the US’ Inflation Reduction Act? 

Ethanol offers producers a widely available, economically viable feedstock. Honeywell's Ethanol to Jet (ETJ) technology uses high-performance catalysts and heat management capabilities to maximise production efficiency, resulting in a cost-effective, lower carbon intensity aviation fuel. Honeywell's ETJ design is purpose-built to enable conversion of current or idle facilities into SAF production plants, potentially maximising use of existing sites for SAF production to meet the growing market demand. 

Honeywell’s UOP eFining technology also offers a highly integrated design that can process flexible feedstocks using commercially proven processes, resulting in operational reliability, minimised capital expenditures, and low energy intensity. Honeywell’s eFining is the latest technology in a line of offerings that are driving the decarbonisation of the aviation sector. 

What challenges and barriers are there in fuel production for jets and aircraft, and what are the main barriers to widespread SAF adoption?

Demand for SAF continues to grow, yet the aviation industry is challenged by limited supplies of traditional SAF feedstocks such as vegetable oils, animal fats and waste oils. HON is diversifying feedstocks (Ecofining, ETJ, biomass and eFuels) to open production pathways. We have now licensed 45 renewable fuels and SAF projects around the world.

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Sustainability LIVE Net Zero will be hosted live from the QEII Centre, London on the 6th and 7th of March, and streamed globally via our virtual event platform Brella. Sustainability LIVE Net Zero will delve deeper into the strategies, innovations, and collaborative efforts propelling us toward a net-zero future. The conference and exhibition gives the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers and actively contribute to crafting a sustainable future.

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Sign up to the The Global Sustainability & ESG Awards 2024, coming to London on the 10th September 2024.

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