Energy giant Saudi Aramco has formed a partnership with ENOWA to set up a synthetic electro-fuel (e-fuel) demonstration facility.

The e-fuel plant will produce 35 barrels of low-carbon, synthetic petrol per day using hydrogen derived from renewable sources and carbon dioxide (CO₂) that has been captured to demonstrate both the technical and commercial viability of the project.

It will be located in ENOWA’s Hydrogen Innovation and Development Center (HIDC).

According to Aramco, when compared with traditional fuels, e-fuel technology, which is based on a circular carbon economy strategy, has the potential to reduce CO₂ emissions by over 70% throughout its entire life cycle.

When finished, the integrated production facility in NEOM will use ThyssenKrupp Uhde-developed proprietary technology to produce 12 tonnes of synthetic methanol per day.

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By GlobalData

Subsequently, utilising ExxonMobil’s Fluidized-Bed Methanol-to-Gasoline (MtG) technology, the synthetic methanol will be transformed into low-carbon petrol.

ENOWA is the energy and water company of the city of NEOM, which will supervise the construction of the facility.

Aramco and ENOWA will collaborate to manage operations and funding for relevant research initiatives.

Aramco executive vice president of technology and innovation Ahmad O Al Khowaiter said: “Synthetic fuels can play an important role to accelerate the decarbonisation of the global vehicle fleet. We are excited to be working alongside our partners to demonstrate a potential path towards realizing this vision.”

ENOWA managing director of hydrogen and green fuels Roland Kaeppner said: “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.

“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.”

This week, Aramco awarded a $2.4bn (SR9bn) contract to Hyundai Motor Group’s affiliates to build a gas processing plant.