PETRONAS is positioned to offer low-carbon and sustainable solutions
There is intensifying global pressure to decarbonise, and the consequences of inaction are not just theoretical. However, we cannot rely on electric vehicles (EV) alone, says Ahmad Adly Alias, vice president of refining, marketing & trading at PETRONAS. There are still many challenges in electrification, and EVs are not going to totally replace the combustion engine, he says.
During a presentation at F+L Week 2023 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on June 14 on Solutioning for Industry Excellence in Fuels and Lubricants Through Partnership & Collaboration, the PETRONAS executive noted that the phase-out of liquid fuels will not be immediate. He stressed the merits of drop-in biofuels in engines with minimal modification.
Adly noted difficulties around electrifying aircraft and large marine vessels due to energy density concerns. PETRONAS is placing significant focus on the area of biofuels and is strategically positioned to offer low-carbon and sustainable solutions, namely EV fluids solutions and biofuels.
The energy transition towards net zero is accelerating growth for low-carbon solutions in fuels and lubricants. During his presentation, Adly outlined three main driving forces shaping the fuels industry. Emerging policies and legislation will be at the forefront, he says. He highlighted several global and regional policies and standards including CORSIA, a global offsetting scheme whereby airlines and other aircraft operators will offset any growth in carbon dioxide emissions above 2020 levels, North America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), Europe’s RED III proposal on advanced biofuels, and ReFuelEU—that sets out the high-level expectations for the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Technology and Innovation will help drive the scale and economics of low-carbon and sustainable solutions. In particular, Adly discussed the technological development of biofuels with nine certified pathways to produce biofuels available as of April 2023. Hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) is the most mature pathway.
PETRONAS intends to complete its first greenfield biofuel refinery for SAF and hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO)—in collaboration with Eni and Euglena—in 2025. The facility will produce up to 12,500 barrels per day of biofuels.
Finally, Adly acknowledged growing pressure from stakeholders and consumers and stressed the need for industry players to be agile and adapt to the evolving needs of these increasingly socially conscious and discerning customers.
Challenges in the energy transition are complex and multifaceted. Adly called for greater partnership and collaboration to progress the industry towards excellence. It is industry’s problem and because of that we need to solve it together, he says. “The best way to predict the future is to shape it for ourselves.”