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  • Ahmed Saleh

Aramco advances emissions reduction with lower-carbon hydrogen, DAC, CO2 storage, geothermal

Aramco, a global leader in energy and chemicals, is pushing forward with initiatives aimed at reducing emissions, including the development of lower-carbon hydrogen, Direct Air Capture (DAC) of carbon dioxide, a unique method of CO2 storage that transforms it into stone, and the utilization of geothermal energy.

These projects align with Aramco's commitment to achieving net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions across its wholly-owned and operated assets by 2050, as well as Saudi Arabia's national goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2060. Details of these projects were unveiled during MENA Climate Week 2023, hosted in Saudi Arabia from October 8 to 12.

Ahmad Al Khowaiter, Aramco's Executive Vice President of Technology & Innovation, emphasized the company's dedication to addressing climate change through innovative solutions. He highlighted Aramco's efforts to collaborate with leaders in various fields to advance technology solutions capable of making a significant impact. These initiatives align with Aramco's vision of a circular carbon economy, aiming to meet the world's energy needs while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

1. Lower-carbon hydrogen:

Building on the success of a pilot project in Denmark, Aramco is in the process of finalizing an engineering agreement with Topsoe, an energy-efficient technology leader. They plan to construct a lower-carbon hydrogen demonstration plant at the Shaybah Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) recovery plant in Saudi Arabia. The plant is designed to produce six tons of hydrogen per day using renewable electricity for electrified steam reforming of hydrocarbons. This process will yield lower-carbon hydrogen for power generation, with captured CO2 undergoing sequestration.

2. Direct Air Capture (DAC):

Aramco is collaborating with Siemens Energy to develop a DAC test unit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, with the capacity to capture up to 12 tons of CO2 annually. The test unit, scheduled for completion in 2024, will serve as a precursor to a larger pilot plant capable of capturing 1,250 tons of CO2 per year.

3. Novel CO2 sequestration:

Aramco has successfully conducted a pilot program for a unique CO2 sequestration method involving in situ mineralization. This process dissolves CO2 in water and injects it into volcanic rocks in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, where it undergoes permanent conversion into carbonate rocks. The pilot program was a collaborative effort between Aramco and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and featured innovative technologies to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.

4. Geothermal energy:

Aramco is exploring the expansion of its renewable energy portfolio by harnessing geothermal energy. This involves converting naturally heated underground aquifer steam into electricity. The company has identified and mapped three potential geothermal resource areas on the west coast of Saudi Arabia using advanced subsurface technologies. Ongoing efforts include evaluating the extent of geothermal resources at each location.

These initiatives demonstrate Aramco's commitment to advancing sustainable energy solutions and contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.

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