Hard-to-abate industries explore paths to energy transition

Written By: Ken West, CEO of Honeywell UOP

When you think about sustainable energy, you probably picture fields filled with solar panels, mountainsides covered with wind turbines and highways occupied by electric cars. These are important elements of our world’s ongoing energy transition, for sure.

But the evolution to a lower-carbon economy also includes reducing the environmental impact of hard-to-abate industries like heavy-duty road transport, aviation, shipping, steel, aluminum, cement and chemicals.

Moving forward in any meaningful way means finding ways to shrink these industries’ environmental footprints without affecting their ability to deliver the products and services essential to our quality of life.

At Honeywell UOP, our world-class teams of chemists and engineers are actively pursuing innovations to help customers in these and other industries achieve their sustainability goals. In fact, we’ve already fielded proven solutions to drive energy transition in such areas as carbon capture, utilization and storage; sustainable aviation and diesel fuels; hydrogen recovery; and energy storage. Many of the technologies needed for the energy transition are not new – they’re built on the foundation of proven technologies applied in new ways.

Carbon capture, utilization and storage 

Honeywell UOP pioneered carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies that can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants, iron and steel mills, cement plants and other industrial facilities. As its name implies, the CCUS process captures CO2 from flue gases so it can be safely moved, reused or stored. More than 15 million tons of CO2 per year are currently being processed using our technology and our customers  have the capacity to capture 40 million tons annually through our installed projects.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)

The SAF Grand Challenge and the increased production of SAF will play a critical role in a broader set of actions by the United States government and the private sector to reduce the aviation sector’s emissions in a manner consistent with the goal of net-zero emissions for the U.S. economy, and to put the aviation sector on a pathway to full decarbonization by 2050. Honeywell UOP pioneered SAF production with its Ecofining™ technology. Initially, the process used animal fats, vegetable oils, waste cooking oil, algae oil and other noncompeting feedstocks to produce highly efficient biofuels. Now, our new ethanol-to-jet fuel process builds on that original innovation to support the global aviation sector’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions and meet SAF production targets with an abundant feedstock like ethanol. Honeywell's UOP eFining - the latest technology in a line of offerings that are driving the decarbonization of the aviation sector - is a methanol to jet fuel (MTJ) processing technology that can convert eMethanol to eSAF reliably and at scale.

Hydrogen recovery

Hydrogen is a game-changing green energy source with a diverse range of applications, including industrial and transportation uses. Demand for hydrogen is expected to grow 5-7-fold over the next 30 years. Honeywell UOP has leveraged decades of experience to enable the production of hydrogen and we are leaders in the creation of processes to produce “green hydrogen,” through electrolysis.

For more than 100 years, Honeywell UOP has been delivering cutting-edge solutions for the refining, petrochemical and gas processing industries. More than half of our research and development is dedicated to improving environmental and social outcomes for our customers. We’ve pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 in our own facilities and operations while continuing to develop and produce products, services and software solutions that help customers achieve their goals.