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Comment Sustainability

OMV outlines decarbonization efforts at Austria’s Schwechat Refinery

By Mary Page Bailey |

OMV AG (Vienna, Austria) has pledged to reach net-zero emissions of operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 2050 or sooner. On its path to net zero, OMV has set concrete interim targets: By 2025 it will strive to reduce its carbon intensity in refining by at least 20% (versus 2010).

One factor in achieving net-zero operations in the OMV refineries is energy-efficiency measures. One such measure is the audit program at Schwechat Refinery. 85% of the electricity needed to operate the refinery is generated by four steam turbines. In the course of the audit program, three of the four steam turbines were overhauled. Two of the turbines have already been fitted with modern 3D blade geometry, with the third set to follow in the coming year. Cutting-edge blading enhances the performance of the steam turbines and thereby their efficiency, while simultaneously reducing CO2 – by 40,000 metric tons already this year. From 2021, savings of 60,000 tons of CO2 are expected per year.

“Climate protection and efficiency go hand in hand. The audit program at Schwechat is a great example of how we are continuously applying innovation to make our operations more efficient and thereby more environmentally friendly in the future”, says Thomas Gangl, OMV Chief Downstream Operations Officer.

Another energy-efficiency measure is the development of a “digital twin” to optimize the preheat train of the crude distillation unit in the Schwechat Refinery: Here process simulation is used to help optimize the selection of cleaning cycles and flow conditions in the heat exchangers. The result is another increase in efficiency and reduction of up to 18,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.

Digital controllers are being deployed in the refinery to balance out fluctuations in the control loops, for example in the butadiene unit or when reusing exhaust process heat. The CO2 saved here comes to around 4,000 metric tons a year and the measure is about to be completed.

OMV has formed an internal team to develop and implement energy-efficiency measures and save CO2; this team is responsible for implementing these optimizations based on the needs of each individual site.

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