Sept. 15 (Hfrance.fr) - California Bay Area regulators are investigating whether Phillips 66 has not obtained the permits needed to produce renewable fuels at its Rodeo oil refinery, according to an e- mail reviewed by Hfrance.fr.
The refiner undergoes a multi-stage conversion of the plant to make it the world's largest producer of renewable fuels using raw materials such as soybean oil and animal fats. California is the largest gasoline market in the United States, but some of the state's 14 refineries are not always profitable. Several seek to survive in the long term by taking advantage of state incentives for the production of low carbon fuels.
Phillips 66 a commyet to process small volumes of soybean oil at the Rodeo refinery in the first quarter of 2021, the company said this year.
The Bay Area The Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), which regulates stationary sources of air pollution in the region, is investigating whether the company has altered its refinery without obtaining the required additional permits, according to an email consulted with the last week by Hfrance.fr.
Phillips 66 wants the Rodeo project to produce more than 800 million gallons of renewable diesel, renewable gasoline and sustainable jet fuel per year. This effort requires increased use of hydrogen, which can cause flares and refineries to malfunction, environmental groups say.
At least 10 groups, including the National Resources Defense Council, have complained to regulators about additional emissionsproduced using more hydrogen to process raw materials like soybean oil and animal tallow.
The NRDC, in a letter from July, argued that Phillips 66 failed to seek appropriate approval from the Air Quality Management District to start processing this oil this year.
The management district, in its email to the NRDC this month, said it would conduct an on-site investigation and technical review of the Rodeo facility, according to the email.
Phillips 66 told Hfrance.fr that he had obtained the necessary permits to produce renewable diesel from an existing hydrotreater in as part of an autonomous flexibility project. The management district declined to comment.
REFINERS IN TRANSITION
On MarThe cost of renewable diesel is small but growing rapidly. The US Department of Energy predicts it will account for about 7% of the global diesel pool by 2030. Refiners see an opportunity to switch to lower carbon fuels even as electric vehicles do. are becoming more popular.
Unlike refining petroleum products, the production of these fuels requires additional hydrogen to remove oxygen from fats and oils used to make renewable fuels. Groups such as the NRDC, Sunflower Al Liance and the Rodeo Citizens Association have told regulators they fear the facility's air emissions may increase due to this process.
Phillips 66 has stated that there is no need to increase Rodeo 's ability to generate hydrogen , and said emissionss hydrogen production estimates will be part of Contra Costa County's independent environmental impact report, which is not yet completed.
" We are confident that the RIA analysis will demonstrate that the project will significantly reduce emissions from the facility, "Phillips 66 said in a statement.
Environmental groups say the facility will need to add more hydrogen production capacity than is allowed, especially if the refiner uses soybean oil.
The hydrogen-related reactions have caused seven flares at the rodeo and near the Martinez refineries owned by Marathon over the past five years, causing the dysfunction of hydrotreaters, hydrocrackers and other units of the units, according to reports filed by refiners with regulators. Report ofLaura Sanicola; Edited by David Gregorio
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