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BP to Decarbonize its Cherry Point, Washington Refinery

(Credit: BP)

Top oil producer British Petroleum announced Monday that it will invest nearly $270 million to shrink its carbon footprint. Its effort centers on improving efficiency and upping its renewable diesel production capability.

To this end, BP is undertaking three projects. The first is the Hydrocracker Improvement Project, which will modernize the refinery’s hydrocracker, which converts heavy oils into refined products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The improved hydrocracker will consume less hydrogen, which BP produces with natural gas. By lowering the hydrocracker’s hydrogen demand, BP will lower its fossil fuel consumption. The hydrocracker will also require less heat input, further lowering its carbon footprint.

The second is the Cooling Water Infrastructure Project, which will improve cooling water infrastructure to permit increased utilization and better energy efficiency. Cooling towers cool process units to ensure proper operation, just as a car radiator cools the engine. Increasing efficiency in cooling produces fewer light hydrocarbons, such as methane and ethane, that are combusted in process heaters and utility boilers.

These two projects, expected to be completed in 2023, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 160,000 tons per year, or seven percent – equivalent to taking more than 32,000 US cars off the road.

The third project is Renewable Diesel Optimization, which will more than double the refinery’s renewable diesel production capability to an estimated 2.6 million barrels a year. Renewable diesel is manufactured from biomass-based feedstocks, such as vegetable oils and rendered animal fats. The optimization effort, whose projected completion is 2022, will reduce the refinery’s emissions by an additional 400,000 to 600,000 tons per year.

Early last year, BP committed to achieving net zero emissions in its operations and a 50% cut in the carbon intensity of its products by 2050.

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