Unveiling tomorrow’s sustainability: Leading decarbonization strategies for refineries and petrochemicals

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IEA analysis of Nov 2023 shows that while the rapid deployment of clean energy technologies in recent years has made a major difference to the climate outlook – shaving about 1°C off projected global warming – a huge amount remains to be done.

The IEA’s Net Zero Roadmap shows what must happen to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century and limit global warming to 1.5°C:

  • Doubling energy efficiency
  • Tripling renewable capacity
  • Cutting 75% in energy sector methane emissions
  • Massive ramp-up in electrification of heating processes

As the world pushes for decarbonization, oil refineries find themselves between a rock and a hard place, but as we have seen, these measures could be applied also to energy-intensive processes.

Refineries must adapt in a changing energy landscape

The uniqueness of each facility, including complexity, size, and feedstocks, and the wide range of processes integral to refining, make it hard to pinpoint a common source of emissions across the sector. Yet some general rules of thumb can be established for a 100.000 b/d refinery.

How do we navigate decarbonization in the next 5 to 10 years in a refinery and petrochemical site?

At Schneider Electric we have identified several key strategies to help our customers navigate decarbonization in a refinery and petrochemical plant over the next 5 to 10 years.

  • Energy efficiency measures encompass a wide range of strategies and technologies aimed at optimizing energy use, reducing waste, and minimizing environmental impact.
  • Electrification of processes in a refinery or petrochemical plant involves transitioning certain operations from traditional fossil fuel-based energy sources to electricity, often sourced from renewable energy.
  • Renewable Energy Integration incorporating renewable energy sources like solar and wind power into refinery and petrochemical operations helps reduce reliance on traditional fossil fuels.

Providing integrated solutions that empower refinery and petrochemical sustainability

At SE we have a comprehensive view of the processes of a typical refinery and identified the right solutions to propose to our customers in a refinery and petrochemical site.

Schneider Electric provides innovative solutions tailored to help refinery and petrochemical clients effectively reduce CO2e emissions. By leveraging state-of-the-art technologies such as digital twins, AI-driven analytics, and IoT-enabled systems, we empower real-time monitoring and optimization of energy usage, leading to substantial reductions.

Our comprehensive approach integrates energy management solutions, digital twin technology, AI-driven analytics, IoT-Enabled systems, sustainable design and engineering, and compliance and reporting.

By integrating these solutions, we enable refineries and petrochemical plants to impact CO2e emissions while enhancing operational efficiency, sustainability, and profitability.

Learn More

Discover more about our leading sustainability strategies in the Energies and Chemicals industry: Digital transformation in energy and chemical industry | Schneider Electric Global (se.com)

About the author

Author Profile

Renato Finol, Sustainability & Net Zero Operations Leader, Energies and Chemicals Industry

Renato Finol holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Grenoble Ecole de Management (France). After working for Repsol, he joined Schneider Electric in 2021, gathering broad oil and gas operations and energy systems experience.

With more than 10 years of professional experience in onshore and offshore drilling and production operations, project management, growth strategies, and business development, Renato is involved in several strategic moves and in developing decarbonization and sustainability solutions for Energies and Chemicals at a global level. He is helping customers in their decarbonization transformation and energy transition and is based in Paris, France.

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