Danish decarbonisation technology solutions company Topsoe has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with South Africa-based global energy and chemicals company Sasol with the intent to establish a 50/50 joint venture to develop sustainable aviation fuel production. The JV aims to build, own and operate ventures producing SAF based on Sasol’s Fischer-Tropsch technology and Topsoe’s own relevant SAF technologies. It will produce SAF derived from non-fossil feedstock, utilising green hydrogen, sustainable sources of CO2 and/or biomass. The companies say their unique and complementary technologies offer multiple pathways to SAF production at scale. Topsoe has also signed a global licensing agreement with Steeper Energy for Steeper’s Hydrofaction technology, used for converting biomass to renewable biocrude oil. With the agreement, Topsoe will be able to provide a complete waste-to-fuel technology solution, with end products including SAF, marine biofuel and renewable diesel.
Commenting on the MoU with Sasol, Topsoe CEO Roeland Baan said: “It underlines our ambition to help decarbonise some of the most critical sectors in the world. If we are to reach net zero on a global scale by 2050 in order to fight climate change, all solutions need to be put into play. Creating a low-carbon aviation sector is an important piece of the puzzle, and we’re excited to extend our partnership with Sasol to help speed up decarbonisation. Combined, we have the technologies, capabilities and willingness to take the lead.”
Sasol has over 70 years’ experience in Fischer-Tropsch technology and says its Sasol EcoFT business has the expertise to produce sustainable fuels and chemicals from green hydrogen and sustainable carbon sources via the power-to-liquids process. Sasol and Topsoe have been strategic partners for more than 25 years.
“Sasol is excited to enter this MoU with Topsoe to further Sasol’s long-term global sustainable aviation fuel ambition, as advanced in recent years by Sasol ecoFT, which was established to pursue SAF opportunities globally,” commented Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler. “The MoU is underpinned by decades of collaboration between our companies in technology development, commercialisation and operations. The combination of these building blocks and know-how to offer solutions in aviation decarbonisation is very exciting.”
The waste-to-fuel licensing agreement with Steeper Energy means Topsoe will be able to offer a one-stop solution for refineries, project developers and industries having access to excess waste biomass, such as residues from forestry and agriculture. Steeper’s Hydrofaction proprietary technology is based on hydrothermal liquefaction, which applies supercritical water as a reaction medium for the conversion of biomass directly into a high-energy density renewable biocrude oil. With the technology, it is possible to convert up to 85% of incoming biomass on an energy basis, claims the company, “making it one of the most effective conversion technologies available”.
“Combining our technological capabilities with Steeper will make it easier for refineries and project developers to access the technology they need for advanced biofuels,” explained Peter Vang Christensen, SVP Clean Fuels & Chemicals – Technology for Topsoe. “It will also allow them to access new renewable feedstocks while supporting decarbonisation of the transportation sector, not least aviation and shipping.”
Photo: Copenhagen Airports A/S