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 | Season 5 | Season 6

Back to science: why analytical chemistry is the hero of your renewable fuels production

Season 5 | Episode 6

Decarbonization is driving us towards feedstocks that are completely different from the fossil feedstocks, we’ve spent decades studying. To fully understand the complexity of renewable feedstocks, and optimize their use in renewable fuels production, we must turn to analytical chemistry. In this episode, we uncover the challenges and techniques for analyzing renewable feedstocks, like fatty acids, waste oil and fats, and more advanced options such as pyrolysis oils and hydrothermal liquefaction products. Settle in for a comprehensive view from both academia and industry as we’re joined by two special guests: Jan Christensen, Professor in Environmental Analytical Chemistry at the University ...

Latin America's role in shaping the global renewable fuels market

Season 5 | Episode 5

When it comes to the production of renewable fuels, Latin America is a region filled with potential. With an abundance of easily accessible renewable resources like wind, sun, and biomass waste, and hosting well-advanced refineries and cost-competitive production opportunities, Latin America has the potential to become a key contributor to the global renewable fuels market. In this episode, we talk to Juan Pablo Freijo, founder and CEO of Sempen, and an expert in Latin America’s energy transition. We'll explore the current state of renewable fuels production in Latin America and discuss their future plans.

Your one-stop guide to catalysts crucial role in renewables

Season 5 | Episode 4

Step into the fascinating world of catalysts with us! Far from being mere commodities or utilities, catalysts are highly technological tools that are pivotal for renewable fuels production. In this episode, Sylvain dives deep into the role of catalysts in renewables with the help from no less than three Topsoe experts: Marie Grill, Principal Scientist for biobased chemicals, Fie Hallkvist Wilbek, Senior Business Development Manager in Digitalization, and Ignacio Fabian Costa, Licensing Manager for low-carbon fuel technologies. Together, they delve into the comprehensive A-Z of catalysts, discuss strategies for their optimal utilization, and highlight the crucial role of catalysts in ...

New perspectives on the feedstocks of the future

Season 5 | Episode 3

We'll be peering into our crystal ball to explore which feedstocks will be used to produce renewable fuels in the future. Joined by Alastair Blanchard, Director for SAF at the ICF Consultancy, we’ll address a wide range of questions surrounding renewable feedstocks, including biogenic feedstocks and feedstocks for e-fuels. Are feedstocks truly the biggest bottleneck? What are the primary risks associated with feedstocks? And are regulations too strict or too moderate when it comes to feedstocks?

Unveiling the true environmental impact of fuels

Season 5 | Episode 2

A life cycle assessment (LCA) is essential in comprehensively assessing the full environmental and social impacts of transportation fuels. This contrasts with many compliance models and regulations today which emphasize greenhouse gases alone – an approach which can result in ‘carbon tunnel vision’, where other crucial factors are neglected. Examining each step in the fuel’s life cycle – from cradle-to-grave – provides a complete overview of its true impacts. In this episode, Sylvain is joined by Tom Berg, Policy and Sustainability Manager at SkyNRG, and Kenneth Poucher, Head of Sustainability at Topsoe to dive deep into LCA and sustainability in transportation fuels.

Renewable fuels are still powering ahead. Are you on track?

Season 5 | Episode 1

The landscape of renewable fuels has changed significantly since we wrapped up season four. But one thing remains the same: renewable fuels continue to power ahead. Mikala and Sylvain are joined by their Topsoe colleague, Milica Folic, for a discussion of the main developments across the industry within the past year. They will cover the currently dominating fuel types and feedstocks, the most recent legislative changes, and an outlook on upcoming hot topics for the next year.

SAF Specials #3 of 3: Faster at-scale deployment of SAF - how?

Season 5

Bill Gates established Breakthrough Energy in 2015 with the aim of funding technologies that can accelerate the clean energy transition and build a net-zero emissions future. Sylvain is joined by Mariano Berkenwald, Senior Associate at Breakthrough Energy, to discuss which efforts are needed to accelerate the deployment of at-scale production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). They touch upon the need for more risk-tolerant capital, long-term off-take agreements with airlines, technologies that can scale globally, and a general acceptance that the era of inexpensive flights may be coming to an end.

SAF Specials #2 of 3: Propelling the aviation industry towards 100% unblended SAF

Season 5

Jet engine producer, GE Aerospace, is supporting net-zero emissions in aviation by exploring disruptive designs for future engines. At the same time, they consider SAF an important measure for decarbonizing today, and are pushing for a standard that allows an increase in blend levels from 50% to 100%. Jeff Shaknaitis, Customer Sustainability Leader, and Brice Dally, Senior Staff Engineer for Sustainable Fuels, from GE Aerospace, join Sylvain to explain how they see the role of SAF in future aviation, and how they make sure it's compatible and safe to use with GE Aerospace’s current and future engines.

SAF Specials #1 of 3: What is Norwegian's mission to cut emissions by 45% by 2030?

Season 5

With an ambitious goal of 45% emissions reduction by 2030, Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian) is working on a wide range of actions to become a more sustainable airline. Joined by Anders Fagernæs, Vice President of Sustainability at Norwegian, Sylvain Verdier takes a closer look at the various efforts the airline is working on to achieve this target. Together, they cover the entire palette of sustainability at Norwegian, including their emissions reporting in scope 1 and 2, the challenges and opportunities of scope 3, and the limited supply of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), which, earlier this year, led the airline into a new partnership with Norske e-Fuel for SAF production.

Can ammonia and methanol revolutionize the maritime world?

Season 4 | Episode 6

Maritime transport is the last to start its decarbonization transition. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and some key industry players are paving the way to minimize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But which fuels could be used to do so, when both the road and aviation segments are also on the same journey? In this episode, Sylvain will be talking to Anders Erlandson from the Technical University of Denmark and Nikolaj Knudsen from Topsoe about the future role of ammonia and methanol as marine fuels. There is a lot to talk about, so make sure you’ve got your notebook ready.

Is new European legislation the seismic change the industry has been waiting for? Part II

Season 4 | Episode 5

In the episode 4 we started the conversation about Fit for 55 – what are the goals and philosophy behind the legislation. In this episode, Sylvain continues this conversation with Adriana Guerenabarrena from Hydrogen Denmark and Ian Moore from Advisian. They will deep-dive into the future role of biofuels, eFuels and what these initiatives will mean for road transport, aviation, marine and also the industry in general.

Is new European legislation the seismic change the industry has been waiting for? Part I

Season 4 | Episode 4

On July 14, 2021, the European Commission launched its largest regulatory initiative as part of the Green Deal: The Fit for 55 package. Some called it a seismic change. The proposed directives will basically affect the way Europe deal with energy, resources and transport until 2050. Since then, the RePowerEU program was also announced, and this adds another layer of complexity. The intricacy of all these initiatives is almost impossible to grasp. In this episode, Sylvain talks to Adriana Guerenabarrena from Hydrogen Denmark and Ian Moore from Advisian about the philosophy and goals of “Fit for 55” and “RePower EU”, and share some insights. Let’s jump right in!

Deep dive into the decarbonization strategy of a European refinery

Season 4 | Episode 3

European refineries are under pressure to decrease their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to produce high amounts of renewable fuels for transport and as feed for the PetChem sector. This is not a trivial challenge. But some refineries have implemented ambitious sustainability strategies in order to answer this call. In this episode, Sylvain talks to Michael Kraussler and Ventsislav Mishev from energy and chemicals company OMV about their decarbonization journey – past, present and future. They look at the overall plans and targets, as well as details of key projects.

Will the new North American renewable legislation start another gold rush?

Season 4 | Episode 2

North America have recently seen the implementation of highly ambitious initiatives to support the production of renewable fuels, especially for the road and aviation sectors. The Inflation Reduction Act, the potential change of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in California and the Canadian Clean Fuel Regulations are game changers for renewable fuels. In this episode, Sylvain talks to Tammy Klein from Future Fuels Strategies and Fred Ghatala from Advanced Biofuels Canada about the new mandates, incentives and greenhouse gas (GHG) savings targets being implemented at both state, province and federal levels. There’s a lot to cover in a short time, so let’s get started!

Renewable fuels are powering ahead: are you ready to follow?

Season 4 | Episode 1

Welcome to season four of The Fuel for Thought Podcast. Since the last season the global renewable fuel industry has seen a surge in projects and 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 legislation to hot topics – and much more.

SAF Specials #3 of 3: The SAF journey: from vision to production

Season 4

Production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (especially HEFA-SPK) is done at industrial scale but what does it take to do so? In this episode, Sylvain talks to Jonathan Wood from Neste about their strategy within SAF production and they address a lot of topics ranging from feedstock to logistics, sustainability, the current legislative initiatives across the globe or even new types of SAF. Let us listen one of the leading companies within production of renewable fuels!

SAF Specials #2 of 3: True or false? Mythbusting Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Season 4

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has been one of the top priorities of the aviation industry for a couple of years now - from airlines to fuel producers. But many myths are out there and may confuse some. In this episode, Sylvain talks to Oskar Meijerink from SkyNRG about eight popular myths about Sustainable Aviation Fuel – are they true or false? They will discuss topics such as “Is SAF sustainable and climate neutral?”, “Can airplanes fly with 100% SAF?” and “Am I emitting less CO2 when I fly and purchase SAF?”.

SAF Specials #1 of 3: Are airports and airlines ready for Sustainable Aviation Fuel?

Season 4

Welcome to the first episode of the SAF Specials podcast series – part of our Flight Plan Green initiative to help decarbonize the aviation industry. Sylvain Verdier, Senior Business Strategy Manager at Topsoe will be talking to Lars W. Andersen from Scandinavian Airlines Systems and Marie Louise Hansen from Copenhagen Airport to understand what they think of SAF. They will enlighten us about infrastructure, decarbonization strategies, prices and much more from an off-takers perspective. Fasten your seatbelts – the take-off for cleaner skies starts now.

Is the shipping industry finally ready for the decarbonization race?

Season 3 | Episode 6

The shipping industry is entering the decarbonization journey at full speed. Green fuels, blue fuels, biofuels…. where will the world take them? Several initiatives are currently in place at International Maritime Organization (IMO) and EU level, but will those be sufficient to drive the change needed? These are some of the questions we discuss with decarbonization experts Torben Nørgaard and Michael Maimann from the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

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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