Refiner selects Honeywell UOP single-stage Ecofining technology

Honeywell announced that PBF Energy Inc., an independent petroleum refiner and supplier of transportation fuels, would use Honeywell Ecofining technology for a potential renewable diesel project at its Chalmette Refinery in Louisiana. PBF is currently evaluating the conversion of an idle hydrocracking unit at the plant to a single-stage Ecofining unit that if built would produce 20,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel fuel. A final investment decision by PBF is expected in the coming months. 

Honeywell’s single-stage Ecofining process is a fast-to-market, capital efficient solution ideal for repurposing underutilized hydroprocessing units to produce higher yields of renewable diesel fuel than other single-stage technologies. The process produces Honeywell Green Diesel™ fuel, which is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles with no engine modifications.  

Depending on feedstock choice, renewable diesel also features up to an 80-percent lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with conventional diesel. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard program requires all domestic oil refineries to blend renewable fuels into the diesel pool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which also expands our domestic fuel supply. 

“If we decide to go forward with this project, UOP’s Ecofining technology will enable us to create value by repurposing an idle process unit to produce renewable diesel before competitors get their units online,” said Matt Lucey, President, PBF Energy. “This project would also maximize the benefits of Chalmette’s strategic Gulf Coast location with excellent water, rail, and truck access to domestic and global markets with the strongest demand for renewable diesel, enabling us to realize highest rates of return.” 

“With current demand for renewable fuels especially strong domestically, PBF Energy is well positioned with its Chalmette facility to contribute to the growth of sustainable biofuels,” said Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “Customers such as PBF Energy trust UOP to convert existing process units to renewable diesel and jet fuel production, so they can comply with more stringent regulations while saving costs and space for equipment.”  

The new process uses a combination of catalysts in a single operating environment to remove oxygenates and other contaminants from the feedstock, and then isomerize the feed to improve its cold-flow properties. Due to its simplified design, single-stage Ecofining technology can be put into service quickly, with lower capital expense than other designs. 

UOP and Eni SpA jointly developed the Ecofining process, which converts non-edible natural oils and animal fats to renewable diesel fuel. The Ecofining process produces diesel with a cetane value of 80, substantially higher than the 40-to-60 cetane diesel commonly used in diesel engines today. As a result, this higher-cetane diesel fuel can be blended with less expensive, low-cetane diesel to meet transportation fuel standards while providing better engine performance with fewer emissions. 

The Ecofining process is used in most of the 100%-biofeed units producing renewable diesel -- and all of the licensed renewable jet fuel production -- in the world today. UOP currently has licensed 21 Ecofining units in nine countries around the globe, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks. 

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