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Impressive delivery: The two main components for producing sustainable fuels arrive at OMV’s Schwechat refinery

  • Arrival of the reactor and column, each around 40 m long and with a total weight of 310 t
  • Transport by ship from Venice to Vienna 
  • Co-processing unit should start up by mid-2023 at the OMV Schwechat refinery

With the extension of the OMV Schwechat refinery, from mid-2023, up to 160,000 metric tons of liquid biomass will be converted into sustainable fuels using an innovative co-processing method. The use of hydrogenated vegetable oil will reduce OMV’s carbon footprint by up to 360,000 metric tons of CO2 annually. The main equipment needed for this, namely the reactor and the column that form the heart of the unit, have now been delivered. 

Journey by sea
In light of the size of the equipment involved (reactor: length 37 m, weight 190 t; column: length 45 m, weight 120 t), the equipment was mostly transported by ship from Italy to the Schwechat refinery. The first stage was the transport by ocean vessel from Venice, Porto Marghera, to Constanta, Romania, which took about 6 days. There, the equipment was reloaded onto a river barge suitable for the Danube. After a 13-day journey upstream, the barge docked at the port of Albern/Vienna. The reactor was safely delivered overnight to the nearby OMV Schwechat Refinery by heavy goods vehicle, where it will be erected in the coming days.  The transport and assembly of the column will follow in the days after that.

Sustainable product of the highest quality
The new reactor will process substances including vegetable oil together with other feedstocks in a procedure known as co-processing. This innovative process involves refining the biogenic feedstock via a hydrogenation process using hydrogen. The high-quality hydrocarbon product resulting from this process has the properties of a fossil diesel fuel of the highest quality, but with a significantly lower CO2 footprint. In addition, this process can be used in the future for processing other types of biogenic feedstocks such as used cooking oils or advanced bio-oils.

“Planning the transport of such oversized equipment is already a major challenge under normal circumstances – and a mammoth task in times like these”, said Otmar Schneider, Senior Vice President OMV Schwechat Refinery. “The entire team has done an outstanding job and made a significant contribution to the upgrade of the OMV Schwechat refinery. This brings us another step closer to our strategic goal of becoming a leading, innovative producer of sustainable fuels and chemical feedstocks in Europe”.

Background information

OMV Aktiengesellschaft
With Group sales revenues of EUR 36 bn and a workforce of around 22,400 employees in 2021, OMV is amongst Austria’s largest listed industrial companies.

In Chemicals & Materials, OMV through its subsidiary Borealis, is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and circular polyolefin solutions and a European market leader in base chemicals, fertilizers, and plastics recycling. Together with its two major joint ventures – Borouge (with ADNOC, in the UAE and Singapore) and Baystar™ (with TotalEnergies, in the USA) – Borealis supplies products and services to customers across the globe. OMV’s Refining & Marketing business produces and markets fuels as well as feedstock for the chemical industry, operates three refineries in Europe, and holds a 15% stake in a refining joint venture in the UAE. OMV operates around 2,100 filling stations in ten European countries. In addition, the activities include Gas & Power Eastern Europe where it also operates a gas-fired power plant in Romania. In Exploration & Production, OMV explores and produces oil and gas in the four core regions of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, North Sea, and Asia-Pacific. Average daily production in 2021 included production from a joint venture in Russia and amounted to 486,000 boe/d with a focus on natural gas (~60%). As of March 1, 2022, Russian entities are no longer consolidated. Its activities include Gas Marketing Western Europe, where it also operates gas storage facilities in Austria and Germany. 

OMV intends to transition from an integrated oil, gas, and chemicals company to become a leading provider of innovative and sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials, while taking a leading global role in the circular economy. By switching over to a low-carbon business, OMV is striving to achieve net zero in all three Scopes by 2050 at the latest.