Innovative fuels, chemicals & technologies
Innovative fuels, chemicals & technologies

Innovative fuels, chemicals & technologies

In the context of the energy transition, innovative fuels and combustibles, their production processes as well as new technologies are gaining prominence, which, among other things, make it possible to store and utilise renewable energies by making them usable for other sectors, such as the transport or heating sector. In the following, we highlight a few examples.

Synthetic fuels
Green hydrogen (H2)
Efficient Power-to-X storage systems for hydrogen (H2)
Chemicals - ammonia (NH3)

Synthetic fuels as a contributor
to the energy transition

Synthetic fuels (SynFuels, e-fuels, future fuels, PtL)

Synthetic fuels (SynFuels, e-fuels, future fuels)

Synthetic fuels, especially e-fuels or Power-to-X products, are seen as a great hope in the mobility sector. Fossil fuels are based on hydrogen and carbon, so-called hydrocarbons. However, they can also be produced synthetically with the help of technologies. These synthetic fuels - also called SynFuels, future fuels or e-fuels - are almost identical in their properties to fossil fuels, but are produced in processes from electricity through renewable energies ("e-fuels").

How exactly does the production process of e-fuels work?

Renewable electricity from wind turbines or solar power is used to split water into oxygen (O₂) and hydrogen (H₂) by electrolysis. This produces hydrogen as the first basic material. In the next step, the hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide (CO₂), which is a waste product from industrial processes or which is extracted from the ambient air. There are two main synthesis processes: Methanol to Gasoline (MtG) and Fischer-Tropsch (FT). The end products are synthetic diesel fuel, synthetic petrol (gasoline), heating oil, jet fuel and other chemical products. Production is currently still in small quantities mostly in research and pilot projects.

Where do e-fuels come from?

Large quantities of this synthetic fuel can be produced mainly where there is a surplus of wind and solar power, this is the case for example in regions like Chile.

Synthetic fuels will be crucial for decarbonisation by 2050

As Mabanaft group, we want to be the preferred independent supplier of liquid fuels and combustibles in our core markets and make a sustainable contribution throughout the energy transition. In order to provide our customers with innovative energy solutions in the transport, heating and industrial segments, we are contributing to various investment projects and initiatives, such as our partnership with HIF (Highly Innovative Fuels) to distribute climate-neutral e-gasoline, our joint venture P2X Europe to market Power-to-X products, and our membership in the eFuel Alliance.

HIFP2X EuropeeFuel Alliance

We believe that liquid fuels will continue to play an important role in fuelling the mobility of tomorrow. We want to support our customers’ own transition to cleaner fuels by providing alternative long-term solutions, such as synthetic fuels. In a video, we explain why synthetic fuels are important for the energy transition. The video was produced for Mabanaft by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions.


Hydrogen (H2) as a contributor
to the energy transition

Green hydrogen (H2)

Green hydrogen (H2)

The EU and Germany aim to become climate-neutral by 2050. Green hydrogen will be one of the key components of the transformation path towards a cleaner and lower-carbon economy. Not least in Germany, for example, also due to the adopted National Hydrogen Strategy of the Federal Government, which aims to make green hydrogen marketable and enable its industrial production, transportability and usability. The production of green hydrogen from renewable energies at sea can make a significant contribution to this (see AquaVentus).

How is green hydrogen produced?

With the help of electricity, water is split into hydrogen and oxygen. This process is called electrolysis. Both drinking water and desalinated seawater can be used to produce hydrogen (H2). When renewable energies such as wind power and solar energy are used to produce hydrogen, this is referred to as green hydrogen.

Green, grey, blue, turquoise hydrogen

Hydrogen is generally a colourless gas. Depending on whether fossil or renewable energy sources are used in the production process, it is referred to as green hydrogen, grey hydrogen, blue hydrogen and turquoise hydrogen. Green hydrogen is produced by electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar energy and is therefore CO2-neutral. Grey hydrogen is mostly produced from fossil natural gas, producing about 10 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is somewhat more climate-friendly than grey hydrogen, as a maximum of 90% of the CO2 can be captured and storaged in the ground - this is called CSS (Carbon Capture and Storage). Turquoise hydrogen is produced by the thermal splitting of methane (methane pyrolysis), the process is currently still in the development phase and results in the production of solid carbon instead of CO2. Accordingly, only green hydrogen is climate-friendly, which justifies its great importance in relation to the energy transition.

Areas of application in the energy sector and mobility sector

Green hydrogen and its derivatives (such as green ammonia) will play a key role in the decarbonisation of the industrial and transport sectors. The most important application area is the use of hydrogen as a raw material and fuel in industry (especially in the production of chemicals, plastics, steel), as green hydrogen is the only way to make certain processes in the chemical industry more climate-friendly and, for example, to replace coal in the steel industry.

Hydrogen can also be used as a fuel in aviation, shipping, for trains, buses & trucks as well as for cars. H2 is an alternative regenerative energy source, especially in areas of application where electrification is difficult or does not make sense, such as air traffic, long-distance traffic, heavy goods traffic and shipping. Here, hydrogen serves as a feedstock for synthetic fuels, in addition to direct hydrogen refuelling.

Furthermore, hydrogen can serve as a source of electricity and heat, thanks to fuel cell technology. Thus, another area of application is to supply houses and buildings with energy (heat, electricity).

Hydrogen as part of Mabanaft's sustainable fuels strategy

We believe that the transformation towards cleaner and lower carbon economy will require a broad range of solutions to secure the future energy needs of our customers. Green hydrogen will be one of the key components of this transformation. We are a member of the AquaVentus association, which aims to install a total of 10 gigawatts of offshore wind turbines in the North Sea between Helgoland and the Sandbank Doggerbank by 2035. One million tons of green hydrogen per year could soon be produced on the high seas. 

Our stake in energy-storage specialist NACOMPEX underlines our commitment to play an active role in shaping the energy transition and to offer our customers innovative solutions that they can use to reduce their CO2 emissions.


Future technology hydrogen: Efficient Power-to-X storage systems

Efficient Power-to-X storage systems for hydrogen (H2)

One of the central technological problems of the energy transition is the efficient and safe storage of hydrogen. In order to bring hydrogen as an energy carrier right to the customers’ doorsteps, work is currently underway on energy-storage systems that aim to significantly boost the efficiency of the electricity-hydrogen-electricity energy conversion chain. Storing H2 is still complicated and expensive and still impeding the widespread use of hydrogen.

The FEREDOX process developed by NACOMPEX

An idea is to store the energy of hydrogen in iron pellets using a redox reaction with iron – cost-effectively, reliably and with a high energy density. In this way, hydrogen can be easily and safely stored and transported as well as efficiently recovered and converted into electricity.

In two pilot projects, Mabanaft and NACOMPEX GmbH are working together to develop an innovative, decentralised system for storing and transporting hydrogen in this regard. In Dresden, NACOMPEX researches and develops innovative energy storage systems, i.e. high-performance Power-to-X storage systems based on the patented FEREDOX process for purposes of electricity storage, mobility and feedstock industry.

Several projects are planned to determine reliable parameters for the technological use of iron for storing and transporting hydrogen on a larger scale. For example, in cooperation with the Dresden University of Technology, NACOMPEX will set up a research facility to test the operational performance of the iron-filled storage containers used to store hydrogen. And as part of the FutureHDrive project, the FeRedox storage technology is being scaled up as a 1 MWh standard module for hydrogen storage. The system will be constructed in the form of a stationary container and prepared to be integrated on a rail vehicle. Using this type of system, it will be possible to use electricity from renewable energies or hydrogen produced from them in the transport system, expectedly in a highly efficient manner.

The investment in NACOMPEX GmbH is directly related to Mabanaft’s Sustainable Fuels Strategy and ties in with its ongoing hydrogen- and power-to-liquid projects, such as AquaVentus and P2X-Europe. The advantage of this cooperation with NACOMPEX is that the FEREDOX process can in principle also be employed for efficiently producing synthetic fuels that can then be used without any problems in the existing service station infrastructure.

Funding of the project as a contribution to the National Hydrogen Strategy

Germany’s federal government is also impressed by the NACOMPEX approach. The FutureHDrive project is part of its National Hydrogen Strategy and NACOMPEX is receiving just under €1.8 million in funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), bringing the total funding for all three project partners to almost €3 million.

Chemicals as a contributor
to the energy transition

Green ammonia - energy source of the future

Ammonia (NH3)

Attractive chemical for the transport and power generation sectors

In the short and medium term, even more important as a contribution to the energy transition than hydrogen (H2) could become the chemical ammonia (NH3), which is just as suitable as an energy carrier and fuel as H2. Especially in shipping as a fuel and in industry as a fuel for power plants, green ammonia can make a valuable contribution to reducing emissions. So far, about 80% of the global production of ammonia is used as a basic chemical for fertilisers and only 20% for other applications. However, due to its important role in achieving climate targets, it is becoming apparent that a significant shift in application areas and markets is to be expected. As a low-cost liquid energy carrier for storage, ammonia is also particularly attractive for the transport and power generation sectors because it is easy to ship worldwide and can be used as a marine fuel. Not least because ammonia has a higher energy density than hydrogen.

In addition, ammonia can serve as a clean hydrogen supplier because it can be split back into hydrogen (H2) at its destination. An alternative is to use ammonia directly for power generation or as a central energy storage for the hydrogen grid, in order to be able to fall back on a buffer storage in times of low wind or in winter. From such a storage, the ammonia can either be cracked into hydrogen or used directly as fuel.

The importance of green ammonia is growing considerably. In the past, ammonia plants were operated using natural gas (and also coal). Green ammonia plant concepts envisage the production of ammonia from the raw materials air and water, i.e. the chemical is produced decentrally from renewable energies.

Supplying ammonia

Mabanaft positions itself as an independent partner in the supply chain of the energy sector and industry for the chemical ammonia. Therefore, Mabanaft has become ammonia offtaker and operating partner in Gulf Coast Ammonia LLC (GCA), and has joined the CAMPFIRE alliance, for example.

Gulf Coast Ammonia (GCA)CAMPFIRE