“We have to use our natural resources more wisely"

Technology

Why keeping hydrocarbons in circulation is a sustainable answer to our energy needs

Lummus says that reducing emissions will require all the brain power we have to achieve the results we need as a planet

April 20, 2022

Lummus

Leon de Bruyn
President and Chief Executive Officer

Lummus

Why keeping hydrocarbons in circulation is a sustainable answer to our energy needs

Lummus says that reducing emissions will require all the brain power we have to achieve the results we need as a planet

November 8, 2021

Lummus

Leon de Bruyn
President and Chief Executive Officer

The world’s energy demands are growing. As we attempt to reduce emissions, that is a major problem. As consumption grows and populations become wealthier, solutions must be found —and Lummus is at the cutting edge of finding them.

Leon de Bruyn, President and CEO at Lummus, says that the solution is easy to express but requires ingenuity to achieve.

“We have to use our natural resources more wisely. The energy transition is all about reducing our carbon footprint, which can be done by keeping hydrocarbons in circulation, avoiding waste, increasing efficiency and using all the brain power we have to achieve exactly that.”

Lummus has been in business for  a century, developing process technologies either in-house or with partners, allowing customers to use those technologies to convert feedstocks into products for consumers in better, more efficient ways. The first process technology the company worked on was the production of transportation fuels from bio-feeds such as molasses. This demonstrated that biofuels are not a new concept, even though our awareness of human impact on the environment has radically altered over the last hundred years.

To date, Lummus has contributed to the production of clean fuels, polymers, petrochemicals, and other chemicals or refined products critical to cars, planes, medical equipment, computers, phones and many of the devices we take for granted in modern society.

Leon de Bruyn says that the current state of energy production and use is complex, but there are promising signs of how they will be addressed:

“The complexity of the energy transition away from wasting our natural resources cannot be addressed just by one party. We certainly cannot do this just by ourselves. We have to collaborate across the spectrum of our industry. For example, we have partnered with an IT based company to come up with a solution for power supply to data centers that is zero carbon. We moved away from lithium-based batteries and hydrocarbon-based power supply to a full zero carbon power supply to these data centers.”

To achieve results such as these, Lummus has developed and implemented over 130 relevant plant designs. The technology is having a huge impact on boosting the viability of the circular economy, as Rusty Combs, CEO at New Hope, explains.

“New Hope Energy is currently working to commercialize and deploy our waste conversion technology. We're developing sustainable trade zones, which will include clean plastic streams mixed with municipal waste streams and we've been working to increase the yield of the oil from the plastic input, as well as to eliminate the char that is often produced in this process. Lummus has taken that information and that system and utilized their engineering, their technologists to both scale the process and make it more durable so that it's more commercially viable.”

The results are impressive.

“The impact should be less plastic going to landfills and into the ocean and a greater awareness of what waste conversion technology can do in the circular economy where we're taking trash from today and using it as a resource for tomorrow.”

Helion Sardina, Chief Commercial Officer at Lummus, says that the solutions being put in place today must continue to deliver decades into the future.

“Our clients build plants that will last 30 or more years. So, it is imperative for us to make them aware as early as possible of our new technologies, that it will have a major impact reducing the carbon footprint. Green Circle is a new platform that we have established at Lummus to centralize all the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives, because our aim is to develop ESG technologies that will be applied across our entire portfolio.”

Leon de Bruyn believes that the world is on the cusp of making changes that will protect the future. To achieve this, he says that business leaders must continue to innovate and shape the direction of travel rather than fall in line:

“The excitement of developing new technologies is there. It's safe to say that five or 10 years from now, the world will move on. It’s our job to make sure we don’t just keep up with the changes, but actually are a leader in thinking outside the box, coming up with new technologies that are going to drive how the world will look like beyond the next decade.”

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