Future energy solutions

Passion for replacing fossil fuels also powers our R&D of new, sustainable and innovative CO2 -aware energy solutions.

Renewable diesel production in Gothenburg

St1 is building a new renewable diesel plant at its oil refinery in Gothenburg. The biorefinery will have an annual capacity of 200,000 tons of renewable diesel production and is expected to commence its operations in 2023. The combined value of related investments will be in the order of EUR 200 million. The design brings flexibility to the process allowing a wide range of feedstocks to be used. The unit can meet the current and future specifications for renewable fuels to be produced, such as HVO diesel, jet fuel, and naphtha. The produced renewable fuels will have significantly lower CO2 emissions compared to traditional fossil fuels. Preparations for the procurement of feedstock for the plant and related negotiations with various partners are ongoing.

As the first step, the construction work of the new hydrogen unit in Gothenburg was finalized at the end of 2019 and the unit was successfully commissioned in 2020. In addition, the civil construction work at the Green Process Unit started at the St1 refinery last year, along with the erection of new storage tanks related to the project.

Carbon sequestrating through afforestation in Morocco

St1 ran a pilot project in Morocco between 2018 and 2022, during which fast-growing tree species were planted in an arid area and their ability to form a significant, measurable carbon sink was studied. The aim of the pilot was to find an optimal solution for cost-effective forest growth and carbon sequestration with the help of soil improvement and irrigation systems. The pilot was carried out in cooperation with the local university, Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique. The Natural Resources Institute Finland LUKE directed and monitored the field tests at the plantation area in Benguerir.

Research report confirms that increasing vegetation that sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere and at the same time brings other benefits locally is possible, even in dry and long-barren conditions. Carbon sinks created by new vegetation offer a significant tool for mitigating climate change, increasing the earth’s green cover and at the same time substantially improving local living conditions.

The results of the pilot suggest that under conditions similar to the pilot area, the most viable option for maximizing carbon sequestration and crop production involves a mixed system. Key components of this system include moringa and carob trees as the primary species, complemented by shrubs, other crops, or alleys with quinoa and fava beans. Eucalyptus trees could be incorporated as windbreakers.

St1 wants carbon sinks to be seen as an incremental tool, not a substitutive one. If carbon sinks are to become an official and commercial method of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, an internationally accepted verification method of carbon sequestration is also needed. 

Climate change does not know national borders. Increasing carbon sinks through afforestation of arid and semi-arid unused areas can both remove carbon emissions and help people in areas affected by drought and desertification.

Affordable energy from Arctic winds

Norway's arctic coastline is known for its rough weather and beautiful landscapes, but less so for its excellent potential to produce affordable renewable energy. It may come as a surprise to many that Norway’s Arctic coastline could in fact be the best suited place for wind power production in Europe.

Arctic winds blow fast and they blow steadily. The region has high average wind production and the variability of production is 40% lower compared to inland forest areas. Even if balancing and grid access are accounted for, the cost of energy for Arctic wind power is very low. In fact, Arctic wind power is so cheap that it is more competitive to build a new wind power plant in the Arctic than operate an existing coal power plant. This is great news for the climate, if we can harness the potential.

St1 is part of the Arctic Energy Forerunners, a group of companies and research institutions seeking to make the most of this potential. The group - ABB, Eltel, Empower, GE Renewable Energy, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Spinverse, SSAB, St1, Tesi, ABO Wind, Outokumpu, Wicetec and Wartsila – is developing new forms of cooperation and partnerships to push for clean and cheap energy investments in the Arctic. They are also keen to pinpoint obstacles on the way of renewable energy projects and thus hasten the societal change needed to realize the potential.

The area of Finnmark in Northern Norway has some of Europe’s best wind resources, but currently investments are being slowed down by the lack of central grid connection to Southern parts of Norway and Finland.

St1 has been planning a wind park in Eastern Finnmark, Norway, with Grenselandet AS, where St1 is a minority shareholder. Permitting process has started for Davvi wind farm of 800 MW. If the central grid connection was in place, the park could provide much needed clean, affordable energy for the needs of heavy industry in the Arctic and around the Bothnian Bay. The demand will only grow as industries will decarbonise in the Nordic countries. Data centres that need huge amounts of energy are also set to become more common in the Arctic because of new data connections through the area.

Feasibility study on synthetic fuels pilot plant

LUT University and a group of companies including St1, have started a feasibility study for a synthetic fuels pilot production plant. The intended industrial scale pilot facility is based on the Power-to-x concept, and the target is to produce carbon neutral fuels for transportation.

The pilot plant would use CO2 from Finnsementti cement facility in Lappeenranta and the excess hydrogen from Kemira's production as the main raw materials. CO2 and hydrogen can be combined together in a synthesis process, giving synthetic methanol as a result. Methanol can be further processed into for example synthetic, emission-free transportation fuels. LUT University has piloted the production of hydrocarbon to replace fossil fuels on a laboratory scale since 2017.

The feasibility study would be located in Joutseno, Eastern Finland and it focuses on the production possibilities and profitability of transportation fuels including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel. "The use of fossil oil and gas as transportation fuels is coming to an end. They need to be replaced with carbon neutral fuels, which can be used in current engines and in this way set the CO2 emissions caused by transportation to zero. Recycling of CO2 released to the atmosphere by the industry offers a major opportunity for Finnish companies to advance carbon neutral fuel production", says Petteri Laaksonen, Research Director, LUT School of Energy Systems. He continues that the production costs for synthetic fuels are already reasonable in areas where the price of hydrogen or electricity is low.

Jarmo Partanen, professor and dean at LUT School of Energy Systems describes the interest towards the study as exceptional. "Decarbonizing traffic is a huge challenge, and it makes the pro-duction of carbon neutral fuels a rapidly growing business. This opens opportunities for a wide range of companies", Partanen concludes.