Refineries opt for advanced technologies to address global warming challenges

Refineries opt for advanced technologies to address global warming challenges

Being alert to the world’s agenda on climate change, oil refineries in Thailand are striving to employ advanced and proven technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption derived from their operations. The undertaking is part of efforts to make meaningful contributions to address the global warming problem.

At a recent webinar entitled “Sustainable Refinery Trend and Technology”, organised by the Petroleum Institute of Thailand (PTIT), representatives from Dow Thailand, the leading materials science company, spoke to the audience about the proven, reliable and affordable technology invented to cope with refinery efficiency and environmental issues. In addition, a speaker from IRPC Public Company Limited shared with participants the company’s experience in applying those solutions to achieve energy saving and environmental protection. 

Vichan Tangkengsirisin, Asia Pacific Commercial Director, Dow Industrial Solutions, told the webinar that, “The world population is waking up to the climate change crisis.”

Many countries are attempting to achieve carbon neutral targets and aiming for net zero emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) by 2050. This is in order to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement that seeks to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. Considering that GHGs are emitted from combustion of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, the global trend is towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels and moving to clean energy. However, the transition is still going on and reliance on fossil fuels can’t be cut off immediately. The solution to this situation is finding out how to use energy efficiently and reduce GHG emission at the same time. 

Vichan pointed to six current trends in the refinery industry: 1. Improvement of asset utilisation to resolve bottlenecks in the operations; 2. Decline in number of quality crude oil sources, forcing refineries to use crude oil from sources that have more sulphur content; 3. More stringent sulphur specifications in refinery products such as marine fuels required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO); 4. Tightened sulphur dioxide emission standards; 5. Having sustainability target that involves lower emission of sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide; 6. Reduction of energy consumption.

“What refineries are looking for now is proven, reliable and affordable technology that can improve operational efficiency by reducing energy consumption as much as possible while also minimising unplanned shutdowns and turnarounds, reducing corrosion, achieving longer operational lifecycles of equipment, and extending catalyst life and environmental protection consistently. All this has to come without additional capital investment.”  

To cope with the expectations for refineries, Dow has developed UCARSOL as the latest innovative gas treating solution. UCARSOL captures GHG emitted by sizable industrial plants, including oil refineries, gas separation plants, electricity generating plants, and fertilizer factories, achieving both improved efficiency and enhanced environmental protection.  

Chee Pin San, APAC Technical Leader, Energy Segment, Dow Industrial Solution, and Wichai Sriprasertkarnka, Account Manager, Dow Industrial Solution, told the seminar that around 1,500 organisations in the world apply UCARSOL solvent in their operations, including around 380 refineries. In Asia, UCARSOL solvent is installed at over 80 oil refineries and gas separation facilities.

UCASOL solvent can help reduce gas emissions into the environment while reducing corrosion and optimizing energy consumption. Meanwhile, Dow’s Amine Management Program is a comprehensive service program designed for refineries and users. Users of UCASOL, including refineries in South Korea and power plants in Japan, have successfully achieved their energy consumption and GHG emission goals. 

Nattapon Pumwisate, Senior Engineer, IRPC Plc, said: “IRPC has successfully adopted UCARSOL technology in its operations to achieve lower steam consumption with savings of THB 41.5 million a year. We have also minimised our gas emissions into the environment.”

He added that IRPC is the 1st in Asia and 4th in the world to implement successful UCARSOL installations.   

Following on from its energy saving and enhanced environmental protection, IRPC won Thailand Energy Awards 2020 and represented Thailand at the Asian Energy Awards 2021.

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