Transition or transformation: opportunities for the energy industry
Steel is one of the world’s most important engineering and construction materials. It is used in nearly every aspect of our lives, from cars to cargo ships, refrigerators to washing machines, surgical tools to construction materials, and much more.
In 2021, the world’s crude steel production reached over 1,950 million tonnes (Mt), or enough steel to build the Golden Gate Bridge 22,165 times over, according to the World Steel Association. Although steel production today requires just 40 percent of the energy it did in 1960, solutions are still needed to create a carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative production method for this vital commodity.
To solve the critical challenge of producing “green steel”, Aymium, a leader in creating bioproducts to replace fossil fuels and reduce emissions, has found an unexpected partner in almond farmers. In common practice, almond farms burn their trees every seven years, but now these trees are being re-purposed and turned into sustainably produced carbon pellets.
Wood has partnered with Aymium to develop and deliver a project to construct a Biocarbon Plant among the almond orchards surrounding Williams, California. Employing skills and expertise from large-scale projects in the pulp and paper industry, Wood is providing technical consulting, engineering, and procurement services to the value of $13.8M for this innovative project.
Aymium’s renewable product is created through a non-combustion process that converts waste biomass to high purity biocarbon and biogas, recovers and recycles water from the biomass, and is powered by self-generated renewable energy. This process enables the facility to be energy self-sufficient and to generate excess power for export, or for use in producing other renewable products such as hydrogen.
The carbon pellets will be shipped to power plants and steel manufacturers around the world, where they will replace coal in power generation and steel making. This vastly reduces the amount of fossil CO2 emitted, even allowing for the creation of fossil-free steel, a key to bringing these businesses into the future.
Justin Jackson, Senior Vice President of Engineering Projects at Wood states, “global iron and steel manufacturing account for about five percent of the world’s annual CO2 emissions. Additionally, the five percent of all power plants globally that fire coal as their energy source are responsible for 73 percent of electricity-sector carbon emissions. These statistics emphasize the importance of our partnership with Aymium in the creation of innovative technological solutions that are decarbonizing both of these critical industries.”
Jackson continues, “Wood has a strong heritage in the pulp and paper sector dating back to the 1940s, executing some of the most complex engineering projects and integrating the latest technologies to overcome our biggest challenges. Our teams are now using their expertise, cross-industry, to create a more sustainable path forward for steel and power manufacturers across the globe.”
Wood is fully committed to helping clients meet their energy transition and climate change goals. With our extended scope of solutions and strong industry base, we have a broad view across the value chain for energy, resources, and manufacturing. The current pace of change in technologies, like those that Aymium are bringing to life, is transforming how our world operates in the most innovate and unexpected ways. Wood is proud to create and foster partnerships like this around the globe, using our expertise to help navigate the challenges of the energy transition while building successful, sustainable businesses across industries.