Haldor Topsoe helps industries get the most out of their processes and products

Backed by exceptional R&D, Haldor Topsoe leads globally in energy-efficient technologies to produce ammonia, methanol and hydrogen that are universally seen as fuels and chemicals of the future, Yaqoob Kamal tells OGN

Haldor Topsoe, a world leader in high-performance catalysts and proprietary technology, process design, engineering and services for the chemical and the refining industries, is at the forefront of developing sustainable technologies. Its solutions address pressing global challenges, such as improving energy efficiency, enhancing food production for the world’s growing population, and protecting our environment.

Founded in 1940 by Dr Haldor Topsoe, the Danish company enables companies in the chemical and oil and gas industries to get the most out of their processes and products, using the least possible energy and resources.

Thanks to decades of exceptional R&D, Haldor Topsoe leads globally in energy-efficient technologies to produce clean transportation fuels as well as ammonia, methanol and hydrogen that are universally seen as the most important fuels and chemicals of the future. It has made its mission to lead the transition of these areas into the renewable future.

Elaborating that further, Yaqoob Kamal, Account Manager, Chemicals Business Unit, Haldor Topsoe, tells Abdulaziz Khattak of OGN: "When the entire world was battling Covid-19, some interesting development turned the tide in favour of the renewable energy industry. The production of green hydrogen, ammonia and methanol is rapidly becoming a focal point of the energy transition discussion in many areas of the world, and the Middle East is no exception as governments seek to diversify their energy sectors and economies. Energy and utilities delves into the potential for green chemicals in the region and what needs to be done to turn plans into reality.

The potential for green energy carrier chemicals in the region was given stark focus in July 2020 when US-based Air Products and Saudi-based ACWA Power signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a $5-billion hydrogen-based ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia. The project will be powered by more than 4 GW of renewable energy and will be able to produce 1.2 million tonnes of ammonia per year using Haldor Topsoe technology.

"We strongly believe that green chemicals have a massive potential for the GCC given the excellent renewable energy resource, abundant availability of land, stable economic climate, and physical and intellectual infrastructure dealing with large scale oil, gas and power projects. With that in mind, green chemicals are projected to grow rapidly in the coming years."

With global energy leaders identifying these earlier this year as a potential key accelerator of the energy transition and enabler for a wider global decarbonisation, Haldor Topsoe has determined to play a decisive role in reducing carbon emissions globally as part of chemical and petrochemical plants operation sustainability.

"For decades Haldor Topsoe has been perfecting chemistry for a better world as expressed in our vision. In the 1980s, acid rain was one of the most pressing environmental problems; today that is under control. Topsoe’s world-leading technologies to remove sulphur from fuels and emissions have played a significant role in making that happen. Today, our biggest challenge is carbon emissions, and again we want to lead the way and deliver the technologies to reduce carbon emissions from chemicals and fuels," says Roeland Baan, CEO, Topsoe.

Early this year, Haldor Topsoe signed an MOU with the Saudi Aramco to begin collaborating on sustainability-related research, development and deployment topics. One of the key topics that would be addressed in this collaboration is the eSMR (Electrified Steam Methane Reforming) Technology, which will allow for a practical zero-emission chemical plant with complete carbon utilisation.

The same technology could be used for existing Syngas plants, whether ammonia, methanol or hydrogen plants utilising fossil fuel to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint. The size of this eSMR is almost 80 times smaller than the conventional steam methane reformers of the same production capability, which is in one great capex and opex saving on the long run.

Another sustainable concept technology that we are providing to the market is the eMethanol Technology. This is Haldor Topsoe’s aggregated solution for the production of sustainable methanol (non-fossil).

With eMethanol, we are talking about using a large variety and very inhomogeneous feedstocks and then using a variety of technologies and catalysts to produce sustainable methanol in one way or another.

There are different routes to this technology in order to produce eMethanol, for example, using electricity from renewable resources like the solar or the wind energy to operate an Electrolyzer to generate hydrogen and/or by simply capturing CO2 and using it as a feedstock.

One of the pathways for the production of sustainable methanol would encompass the hybrid methanol production and the revamp of fossil plants to include non-fossil elements as well.

With the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic and the need to ensure proper plant data monitoring, Haldor Topsoe ClearView Technology plays an excellent role in improving the plant performance and reliability.

The ClearView Technology helps us to gather critical data from the client’s plant and then apply our simulation tools and modules to deliver performance enhancing insights to the plant process engineers and managers.

Another useful digitalisation technology that Haldor Topsoe has provided the market with is the Topsoe Furnace Manager (TFM), which is a service technology that ensures providing continuous surveillance of the furnace or the steam methane reformer operation for early detection and prevention issues.

In addition to the above technologies and services, Haldor Topsoe has reinforced its clients’ business sustainability by the Integrated Methanol Ammonia Production Technology (IMAP Technology).

This technology empowers syngas plant operators to have value-added product diversification. For example, if you are operating a 3,000-MTPD methanol plant, you may utilise the loop gas purge to produce around 1,000 MTPD of ammonia rather than setting up a separate full ammonia plant investment.

With this technology, our valuable clients can co-produce both ammonia and methanol products with minimum investment and thus achieve product flexibility.

Enhanced production capacity with diversified product flexibility is also a possibility to improve the economics of the entire complex with respect to current market demand.

• Yaqoob Kamal is a chemical engineer, who graduated from Bahrain University with distinction. Right after graduation, he joined the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) Bahrain in the Methanol Plant Operation Department for eight years, and then worked for a few years as Technical Sales Manager in the aluminum industry. He also worked for a few years in the steel industry in sales and marketing, quality control, and raw materials and final goods logistics. In 2009, he joined Johnson Matthey as Regional Sales and Technology Licensing Manager. And in March 2020, Kamal joined Haldor Topsoe as Account and Technology Licensing Manager looking after the business in the Middle East region.