Flint Hills Resources LLC (FHR), Wichita, Kan., plans to invest $750 million to execute projects that would further improve both energy efficiency as well as clean fuels production at its 339,000-b/d Pine Bend refinery at Rosemount, Minn.
Designed to improve the refinery’s environmental performance to meet heightened regulations, the projects involve a series of technology and efficiency upgrades that would enable a 500-tonne/year drop in overall permitted emissions, including additional cuts to nitrous oxide emissions, FHR said.
The proposed upgrades also would improve finished product production yields at the refinery, boosting its output of diesel and gasoline without associated increases in emissions levels.
Specific projects of the proposed upgrading program, which would utilize best-available control technology throughout, includes the following:
• Replacement of two 1960s-era delayed coking units with a single energy-efficient unit equipped with the latest emissions-reduction technology.
• Installation of a gas oil fractionator.
• Technology upgrade of a hydrogen unit.
• Process improvements to enhance flexibility to adjust clean-diesel fuel production in line with market demand.
• Improvements to gasoline-blendstock processing to enable greater flexibility in production of ultralow-sulfur gasoline without increasing emissions.
Pending requisite regulatory review, state permitting, and final approval by management, construction on the Pine Bend projects would begin as early as 2017, the company said.
The newly announced upgrading plans for Pine Bend follows FHR’s recently completed investment of more than $400 million on earlier projects to improved reliability and reduce key emissions at the refinery (OGJ Online, Mar. 19, 2014).
Since 1997, the Pine Bend refinery has lowered emissions of criteria air pollutants by about 65% since 1997, with its current emissions/bbl lower by about 21% compared with the industry average, according to FHR.
The company said it has invested a total of about $1.7 billion on upgrades and improvements at Pine Bend since 2010.