Petrobras Develops Technology to Cut GHGBy Joseph R. Fonseca
Petrobras develops a new technology that reduces the emission of gases that cause greenhouse
A new technology to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) is developing a demonstration scale in Shale Industrialization Unit (SIX) in Paraná, in partnership with Petrobras Research Center (Cenpes).
Called CO2 capture, this technology is being tested in a prototype fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCC) - process that transforms heavy oil lighter oil derivatives. This is the first unit to preindustrial scale of FCC in the world using oxyfuel technology (replacement of air used in the combustion of fuels by pure oxygen) for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) gas released during the industrial refinery processes.
The FCCs are very important units in the production process of derivatives, such as gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and are the largest single source of CO2 emissions from refineries - represent about 1/3 of the total emissions of gas. The aim of the tests performed so far is to evaluate the new technology at a scale closer to the industrial and identify areas for development.
From the data obtained in the most recent tests, hopes to capture at least 90% of the CO2 emitted when technology is used in industrial units. And also generate a stream of CO2 with a purity of 95%, ready for sale to industries that purchase CO2 injection wells for oil removal (called advanced oil recovery), or injection into natural underground reservoirs where is trapped (called geological storage).
The oxyfuel process has proved more economically viable when compared with post-combustion technology, traditionally used for CO2 capture. An evaluation in the previous stage of the project has shown that oxicombustión would allow a significant reduction of costs, around 40% compared to traditional technology.
CO2 capture is still a challenge for companies in the oil sector in the world, this challenge also includes transport and geological storage of carbon dioxide. For the implementation of this technology is developing legislation and rules defining the technical, social and environmental criteria that must be met.
Although there is no specific legislation in Brazil in terms of emissions reduction targets for greenhouse gases, or the obligation to publish those numbers, Petrobras published annually its Social and Environmental Report, the inventory of emissions of greenhouse gases and measures taken to contribute to the mitigation of climate change and its voluntary targets.