442169 Process for Reconfiguring Refinery Assets for Renewable Fuels

Wednesday, April 13, 2016: 9:00 AM
343A (Hilton Americas - Houston)
Jose Rojas, UOP-Honeywell, Houston, TX and James Wexler, Hydroprocessing Technology Center, UOP-Honeywell, Des Plaines, IL

Process for Reconfiguring Existing Refinery Assets for Renewable Fuels


The Ecofining™ process is a versatile solution for producing green diesel or green jet fuel from a range of sustainable feedstocks such as inedible vegetable oils and waste fats and greases. This allows the producer to meet regulatory compliance obligations for renewable energy content in the transportation fuels sector by producing high-quality drop-in fuels that can enhance the quality of transportation fuels.

The processing of these “renewable feedstocks” is becoming more and more popular around the world especially based upon concerns from increasing energy demand, greenhouse gas emissions and related climate change concerns and long term views about petroleum resources and prices.

The economic environment for renewable fuel technology (triglyceride oil conversion to green diesel and green jet fuels) presents challenging hurdles. Often the fuel production and use are driven by policy mandates (e.g., in Europe and other countries) or other incentives such as the Renewable Volume Obligations and Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) system developed by the US EPA. These may be driven to address global warming or to enhance energy stability and security via domestic production. In such an economic environment, there is pressure on refiners who have underperforming assets and there is often a need to minimize capital costs in order to have favorable renewable project economics. Reconfiguring of existing equipment assets in a refinery unit or multiple refinery units can address the problem. Existing Hydrotreating, Hydrocracking, Reforming and Isomerization units and other refinery assets could potentially be converted in order to produce renewable fuels, particularly green diesel and green jet fuel.

Several key requirements exist to cost-effectively revamp equipment assets in refinery unit(s) in order to process renewable feedstocks. The requirement is installing two-stage processing (first stage deoxygenation followed by the second stage isomerization). The thermal instability and high reactivity of the feedstocks is discussed, as well as the handling of CO2 acid gas generation. Finally, a high level analysis on how to approach a revamp under CAPEX and OPEX constraints is presented.

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