Innovation, New Technologies, and Digitalization

Innovation and new technologies

OMV actively explores alternative feedstock, technologies, and fuels with the aim of developing a well-diversified, competitive future portfolio. Efforts and resources focus on chemical recycling for post-consumer plastic waste. Additional attention is given to the production of conventional and advanced biofuels, synthetic fuels, and green hydrogen as future fuels for the hard-to-electrify transportation segment, and as precursors for sustainable chemicals.

OMV’s ReOil® proprietary thermal cracking technology was developed to meet the European Commission’s targets for the circular economy and to fulfill future packaging recycling quotas. The ReOil® plant with a capacity of 100 kg/h at the Schwechat refinery is already recycling post-consumer and post-industrial plastics into synthetic crude oil in a pyrolysis process. This synthetic crude is then processed mainly into monomers and other hydrocarbons in the Schwechat refinery. OMV and Borealis are pursuing the clear ambition of becoming a leading player in chemical and mechanical recycling technologies.

Furthermore, OMV has taken steps to implement the Co-Processing technology in the Schwechat refinery. This technology enables OMV to process biogenic feedstocks (e.g., domestic rapeseed oil) together with fossil-based materials in an existing refinery hydrotreating plant during the fuel refining process. The final investment decision of around  200 mn for converting a refinery plant to produce 160,000 of biofuels per year was made in 2020. This will reduce OMV’s carbon footprint by up to 360,000 t by substituting fossil diesel. Operations are scheduled to begin by 2023.

OMV signed a supply contract with AustroCell Hallein to supply OMV with advanced bioethanol totaling up to 1.5 l per month starting in January 2021. This will reduce emissions by around 45,000 t of CO2 per year.

Unlike conventional biofuels, advanced fuels do not compete with food production. The amount that can be blended into the fuel pool is not capped, as is the case with waste-based fuels. The principal sources of advanced fuels include biomass fraction from mixed municipal or industrial waste, straw, animal manure, or residues from forestry and wood processing as well as waste streams. OMV is developing its own proprietary technology to convert one of these biomasses into advanced fuel. The next step is a pilot plant at the Schwechat refinery. OMV also collaborates with technology providers, industry partners, and academic institutions to produce advanced biofuels at scale.

Synthetic fuels, which are made of CO2 and hydrogen, are a key technology for decarbonizing the aviation industry. OMV is working on two development projects, C2PAT and E-Fuels, to convert CO2 from industry off-gases into e-fuels with the goal of reaching industry scale by the end of the decade.

OMV and its partners working on the UpHy project, intend to produce green hydrogen for use in both the mobility sector and the refining process. OMV is developing an electrolysis plant at the Schwechat refinery for this purpose, to be powered with renewable electricity, to produce zero-carbon hydrogen. The green hydrogen will initially be used for fuel hydrogenation. However, the ultimate goal is to develop commercial hydrogen fuel cells for transportation applications such as commercial buses and trucks. As a pioneer in hydrogen mobility, OMV operates five hydrogen filling stations in Austria. In 2020, OMV together with Daimler Trucks AG, IVECO, Shell, and the Volvo Group launched the H2Accelerate program. These partners committed to creating the conditions necessary for a mass-market roll-out of hydrogen trucks in Europe. Fleets are expected to operate first in regional clusters and along European high-capacity corridors. Over time, the clusters are going to be interconnected into a pan-European network.

OMV is actively involved in the development of alternative energy sources for major mobility applications in line with market developments for emission reductions.

OMV holds 40% of SMATRICS, Austria’s largest e-mobility provider, and works together with IONITY on high-power charging solutions in the region. With the OMV e-mobility card, ROUTEX customers can seamlessly use their energy source of choice at a range of roaming partners all over Europe.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas () can reduce CO2 and particulate emissions from vehicles by 20% and 90%, respectively. OMV will unlock this potential by opening its first LNG station in Austria in 2021. The station will offer LNG as an alternative fuel for heavy-duty vehicles.

During 2020, OMV began installing photovoltaic panels on more than 90 stations in multiple countries with the aim of continuing this expansion in 2021. This will reduce the stations’ carbon footprint and improve the economic efficiency of operations.


In 2020, OMV anchored digitization in its business strategy. The focus was on immediate value creation, delivered by teams from the business units. Digitalization projects have fostered customer retention, excellence in optimizing processes and assets, and a collaborative and empowered internal culture. Our spend on digital growth and transformation initiatives has increased to two-thirds of our digital expenditure, making us a cross-industry digital leader.

Customer retention efforts have resulted in loyalty growth across both segments and geographies. In 2020, nearly 50% of fuel customers regularly placed online orders, which demonstrates our ability to scale digital platforms through a crisis.

Another COVID-19 adaptation involved our refineries using complex computing power to switch almost instantly from jet fuel production to manufacturing petrochemical raw materials. This compensated for the diminished demand for kerosene and secured 10 percentage points of refinery utilization during the lockdown.

A focus on data for decision-making has enabled us to know our customers better. By combining data with smart analysis and machine learning algorithms, the retail business has begun identifying buying patterns at our filling stations and making sure they never run out of fuel or supplies. Data insights helped us reshape the pricing framework and deliver predictable returns from fuels and petrochemical customers.

Gas trading is using an automated tool with 15 different algorithms to execute non-stop automated deals in milliseconds to secure reliable gas supplies for all of OMV’s customers.

The installation of GPS trackers in 3,000 rail tank cars along with new software is enabling active fleet management, fleet optimization, and reduced production losses. This activity is forecast to bring a financial benefit of more than EUR 2 mn within four years.

Across tank farms and refineries, 9 out of 22 terminal automation roll-outs are complete. This will result in 70% (DE) and 60% (RO) reductions in equivalent operating costs in 2021. Over five years, the savings will be around EUR 7 mn.

Both routine work and projects have benefited from a drive to increase automation. More than 50,000 robotics process automation hours have been logged, resulting in better workload management and enabling employees to give attention to activities that require their cognitive skills.

These digitalization achievements are the result of strong cross-disciplinary collaboration with operations, sales, and IT teams who contribute complementary expertise. DigitalMotion is our Downstream-wide digitalization umbrella. It has become a collaboration hub where tools, methodologies, and ideas are shared. A digital enthusiast community of nearly 400 employees has been established. The community is sharing learning and experiences about digitalization across disciplines and business units, including Borealis. The Digital Bootcamp has been a development gateway for employees who are adopting customer-oriented design thinking and agile scrum techniques, which speed up the implementation of ideas.

Metric ton
Central and Eastern Europe
Liquefied Natural Gas