Shale oil to chemicals

Shale oil to chemicals

Enefit’s goal is to reach carbon neutrality by 2045 at the latest and in doing so transform Estonia’s more than century-old oil shale industry into a zero-waste chemical industry based on a circular economy. The production of liquid fuels will be gradually replaced by the production of plastics and compounds needed for other industries. Next to oil shale, waste plastics and waste tyres will be used as raw materials.

We have identified technologies for CO2 capture

A study conducted together with TalTech has selected two technologies with the greatest potential to capture carbon from Enefit's pyrolysis plants. The next step is to choose the most suitable among them together with technology providers and to find the best ways to use the captured CO2 in the future with research and development partners.

R&D of Co-pyrolysis Technology

Enefit Outotec Technology (EOT) is a joint venture of Enefit and Outotec established in 2009. EOT features an in-house R&D laboratory, an engineering team, and pilot testing facilities. By providing multi-level studies and test work and project execution support, EOT helps oil shale developers to fulfil shale oil projects all around the world.

Enefit pilot plant

  • Based at EOT's R&D centre in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • Oil shale processing capacity: 300 kg of oil shale per hour
  • Heat carrier ash for the retorting process is produced in combination with a 700 mm CFB combustion plant
  • Purpose of the plant: to test various oil shales on a larger scale using Enefit Technology, to obtain further input data for engineering, and to produce raw shale oil samples for upgrade test runs
  • Commissioned in June 2013
  • Test runs performed with oil shales from Estonia and the USA

Enefit bench scale unit

  • Located at EOT's R&D centre in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • Feed processing capacity (incl. oil shale, waste plastics/tyres): 15 kg per hour
  • Purpose of the plant: to test various hydrocarbon-based feeds (e.g. oil shale, waste plastics/tyres) with the Enefit Technology pyrolysis process and to retrieve input data for engineering studies and design
  • Originally commissioned in November 2010 Update/overhaul currently planned for 2024
  • R&D and test runs performed with oil shales from nearly a dozen different deposits around the world, as well as with a variety of waste plastic sources and mixes

Steps to licensing our technology and useful considerations

  • 1

    Conduct desktop review of the potential resource:

    • What is the average grade (i.e. richness) of the target resource?
    • What is the accessibility to the resource?
    • What is the ownership of the resource, and what is the mechanism(s) to gain exploration and production rights to the resource?
    • What access to waste plastics and/or waste tires is available?
  • 2

    Conduct exploration drilling and perform basic resource analysis to confirm geology, minerology, grade, and other characteristics.

  • 3

    Conduct introductory study in conjunction with EOT to assess the technical and commercial viability of Enefit Technology for processing of the target resource.

  • 4

    Prepare a pre-development plan for the commercial project.

  • 5

    Conclude Enefit Technology license and services agreement for test work and engineering services to support development and allow use of Enefit Technology for commercial production.

Enefit Outotec Technology at your service

  • Provides geologic exploration drilling oversight and resource assessment.
  • Provides environmental regulatory advisement on requirements for commercial production.
  • Provides estimates of time and cost required to advance a project from the preliminary/scoping stages through to final investment decision.
  • Provides project and program management services for exploration, test work, mine and plant engineering, permitting, offtake agreements, financing and other key development activities.

Enefit Technology

Enefit Technology is a pyrolysis process that turns oil shale, end-of-life tires and plastic waste into oil and gas and generates electricity as a by-product. The efficiency of the technology comes from its 100% use of the mined oil shale. All organic matter is fully utilized, and high performance in oil extraction is further aided by additional revenue streams associated with utilisation of excess heat and gas generated in the process.

Waste heat is used to generate electricity, making Enefit shale oil plants net producers of electricity. Enefit Technology uses a wealth of industrial oil production experience obtained over 100 years of oil shale history in Estonia. Enefit’s dedicated engineers, operators and researchers have been developing the process for more than 340 years, resulting in numerous patents for the key elements of Enefit Technology.

Contact us

Ryan Clerico

Project Development