The Fuel for Thought Podcast

The Fuel for Thought Podcast is the world’s first podcast about renewable fuels. Sylvain Verdier and Mikala Grubb from Topsoe, look into some of the most pressing topics about renewable fuels, covering the whole value chain of renewable fuel production, including feedstock supply, conversion technology, legislation, sustainable aviation fuel and much more. Together with a series of key industry players, experts, and influencers they discuss some of the challenges facing the industry, so you can benchmark your business, learn more about what is driving our industry and where it is heading.

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Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4

What does it take to certify renewable fuels?

Season 3 | Episode 5

As renewable fuel demand will increase significantly in the coming decades and sustainability criteria are getting more stringent, certification is becoming an even more important factor for the whole renewable fuel supply chain. In this episode, Sylvain welcomes Elena Schmidt from the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), and Sascha Wüstenhöfer from International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), for an extensive rundown on what it takes to keep renewable fuel production sustainable.

Renewable feedstocks for biofuel production - is there enough?

Season 3 | Episode 4

It’s no secret that when it comes to biofuel, feedstocks are worth their weight in gold - or more - and have the potential to become even more valuable as new legislation prioritizes increased renewable fuel production.    In this episode, Sylvain discusses the feedstock market’s present conditions and future possibilities with Maryro Mendez from Vitol, covering everything from 1st-generation feeds such as rapeseed oil to innovative 3rd-generation opportunities for example wood-based pyrolysis oil. 

European renewable-fuel legislation – the revolution is here

Season 3 | Episode 3

With the onset of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive Recast – RED II - European lawmakers are setting ambitious targets for renewable-fuel production...but can ambition be matched by capability?    In this episode, Mikala interviews our own Sylvain Verdier, and Ian Moore, Technical Director – Low Carbon at Advisian, to help foster a better understanding of RED II’s purpose and objectives, and the potential impact they will have on Europe’s renewable fuel industry. 

Sustainable aviation fuel - it is finally happening!

Season 3 | Episode 2

The question of how to enable more sustainable air travel has long involved the challenge of SAF production. However, now everything seems to come together: feedstocks, technologies, and legislation.  In this episode, Sylvain talks to Oskar Meijerink from SkyNRG, about the current state - and future - of sustainable aviation fuel, with insight from a legislative and technological perspective. They’ll discuss everything from blending mandates and approved pathways to feedstock selection and future technologies.  

Biofuel production has taken off. Are you ready?

Season 3 | Episode 1

Since the last season of The Fuel for Thought Podcast, the global renewable fuel industry has seen a surge in projects and interest in sustainable aviation fuel. Mikala and Sylvain are kicking off the new season with a discussion of what changes the industry has been through, and where it is headed.   In this episode, they will share their thoughts on the current trends in the global renewable fuel market, touching on everything from new biofuel initiatives to the rise of hydrogen – and more.

Refinery and pyrolysis: is it a match?

Season 2 | Episode 6

New technological developments are serving up new possibilities with pyrolysis, but a number of challenges regarding upscaling, unit placing, and the transportation and storage of feedstock remain. Which refineries could benefit from implementing pyrolysis technology – and how? Once again, Topsoe’s Sylvain hosts David Dayton, a Senior Fellow at the American non-profit, RTI International (The Research Triangle Institute). This time they discuss the commercial aspects of pyrolysis. Sylvain also talks to Topsoe’s R&D Director Jostein Gabrielsen and Research Scientist Magnus Zingler Stummann to discuss what it takes for refineries to take advantage of the technology.

Is pyrolysis a game changer for advanced biofuels?

Season 2 | Episode 5

Pyrolysis is a mature technology, but it hasn’t always been viewed as a genuinely viable option in the world of renewables. Now, technological improvements are rapidly establishing pyrolysis as a key technology for upgrading low-value waste to high-value biofuels. Topsoe’s Sylvain hosts David Dayton, a senior fellow at the major American non-profit, RTI International (The Research Triangle Institute). They discuss the possibilities with pyrolysis, covering the basics of the technologies, advantages and disadvantages, feedstocks, output and more.

Pretreatment, the critical insurance against contaminants

Season 2 | Episode 4

Pre-treatment of oils and fats is an established technology with several units up and running. But how does pre-treatment work? What does it take to implement the technology in a biofuels production, and how does the financial ballpark figures look?  Topsoe’s Sylvain hosts Global Commercial Director at Crown Iron Works, Bill Morphew and Market Unit Manager for Oils and Fats at Alpha Laval, William Younggreen. They discuss how pre-treatment works, the possibilities for refiners and what it takes to integrate the technology.

How will our future depend on hydrogen?

Season 2 | Episode 3

Around the world, hydrogen is named as one of the keys to achieving ambitious goals in the green transition. However, hydrogen is not just hydrogen, it can be grey, blue, renewable and green. But concerns regarding profitability and effectiveness of the new technologies still linger.  Sylvain from Topsoe hosts Product Line Director at Topsoe, Sandra Winter-Madsen. They discuss the future of hydrogen in the industry, from the technological possibilities and coming breakthroughs to the political outlook and price range. 

How ambitious business goals can lead the way towards decarbonization

Season 2 | Episode 2

Refineries setting out to transit their operations to renewables face several legislative, technical, and business-related barriers. At Preem, Sweden’s largest refinery, they have found their own ways of solving the puzzle. Topsoe’s Sylvain hosts Business Developer Åsa Håkansson and Development Engineer Eva Lind Grennfelt from Preem who provide you with an insight into their renewable journey. Learn about their overall strategic thoughts, the renewable revamp of their Gothenburg refinery, advanced feedstock focus areas and more.

Trends in advanced biofuels and hydrogen: where are we heading?

Season 2 | Episode 1

Sylvain and Mikala, your host and co-host from Topsoe, are back with season two of The Fuel for Thought Podcast. They discuss what is happening in the world of renewables, including The European Green Deal and new legislation in North America which have set up significant new standards for refinery emissions. All the while, new feedstocks are emerging, and technologies are being increasingly improved. Are we on the verge of the ultimate breakthrough for advanced biofuels and hydrogen in refineries?

Emerging technologies in the refining industry

Season 1 | Episode 6

One way to future-proof your refinery against legislative demands is to expand your capabilities, so your plant can process any type of feedstock to produce on-spec transport fuel. But how mature is the technology for processing alternatives to fossil feedstocks? And, more pressing still, can it turn a profit? Topsoe’s Sylvain talks with Professor at Aalborg University Lasse Rosendahl, about his team's research into hydrothermal liquefaction as a means to process fuel from biomass. After the discussion, Sylvain and Mikala share their views on the technologies and discuss realistic timeframes for their commercialization. 

The impact of emissions reduction legislation and standards on North American refineries, big and small

Season 1 | Episode 5

The legislation in the US aimed at reducing emissions and pollution from fuel production, differs from state to state. And in Canada, it’s different again. How can refineries navigate this complexity, stay within the bounds of the rules and still turn a profit? Topsoe’s Sylvain talks with Don O’Connor, owner of S&T Squared Consultants about standard and legislation across Canada and the US. After the conversation, Sylvain and Mikala reflect on some of the complexities and discuss the ways technologies can help refineries meet the demands of ever-tightening rules and standards. 

How the refinery industry is adjusting to the world’s fast-changing transportation infrastructure

Season 1 | Episode 4

In this episode of The Fuel for Thought Podcast, Topsoe’s Sylvain talks with the CEO of Future Fuel Strategies Tammy Klein about renewable technologies and the changing transport infrastructure. She believes that, as the world’s corporations and governments look to reduce carbon emissions, policy is both the cornerstone and the main driver of change. After the conversation, Sylvain and Mikala discuss some of the policies and technologies that promise to change the face of transport and energy. 

How to make a business out of sustainable aviation fuel

Season 1 | Episode 3

The climate debate is changing our travel behavior, making more and more people choosing to travel by train to their summer holiday destinations. Topsoe’s Sylvain talks with the CEO and cofounder of SkyNRG Maarten van Dijk about the business case for renewable jet fuel. Please note that the ‘Board Now’ program mentioned in the podcast has now been launched. After the conversation, Sylvain and Mikala discuss some of the technical and supply challenges facing this new, fast-growing market, and ask who will pay for the shift to renewable jet fuel? 

Perspective on market drivers for transport fuels

Season 1 | Episode 2

Due to legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions, the demand for fuel processed from renewables is growing significantly. But, can the world’s refineries meet growing demand? And is the current supply of renewable feedstocks reliable or large enough? Topsoe’s Sylvain talks with Tammy Klein, CEO and founder of Future Fuel Strategies, about the many factors driving growth in the market for renewable fuels. After the interview, Sylvain and Mikala discuss the progress of new technologies for processing diverse feedstocks and ask, ‘Can the refinery industry meet growing global demand for renewable fuels?’

Key issues in renewables today

Season 1 | Episode 1

Processing renewable feedstocks is complex. The range of feedstocks is extremely wide. And each feedstock can be processed in different ways. So, as you can imagine, unit design, and selecting and loading the right catalysts, is crucial. In the first episode of The Fuel for Thought Podcast, Sylvain and Mikala discuss the issues driving the changes to the refineries industry. Our aim is to show you the map of the territory, so you can find the best direction for your business.

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