Green Diesel is a high-cetane diesel fuel, using UOP technology. Green Diesel is superior to that of petrodiesel and biodiesel with cetane values in the 70 to 90 range for significant blending benefits. The technology, developed in partnership between UOP and ENI, integrates seamlessly into existing refinery operations and is currently available for licensing. The first commercial unit is expected to go into operation in early 2009.
The facility, to be located in Livorno, Italy, will process 6,500 barrels per day of vegetable oils to supply European refineries with a high-cetane “green” diesel fuel, to meet growing demand for high-quality, clean fuels and biofuels throughout Europe.
It will be the first facility to use the Ecofining technology developed by UOP and Eni. UOP has already completed the basic design for the first unit. Eni, a leading European oil company with operations in 70 countries and 2006 revenues of more than 86 billion euros, also plans to install several additional Ecofining units at its other wholly-owned and affiliate refineries throughout Europe.
“This project is part of Eni’s overall commitment to sustainability,” said Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni. “This facility will both provide significant value to Eni’s refining operations by producing an ultra-high-quality diesel and fulfilling the proposed European target to grow the renewable energy supply to 12 percent by 2010.”
UOP announced its efforts to develop commercially viable solutions for renewable energy in refineries with the creation of its Renewable Energy & Chemicals business unit in late 2006. The Ecofining process for green diesel is its first renewable technology offering.
”UOP and Eni have worked closely to develop a process for green diesel production that uses existing refinery and fuel distribution infrastructure while at the same time producing a high-quality renewable fuel,” said Jennifer Holmgren, director of UOP’s Renewable Energy & Chemicals business unit. “This facility will further demonstrate the effectiveness of the Ecofining technology.”
The Ecofining process uses catalytic hydroprocessing technology to convert vegetable oils and greases to a green diesel fuel. Oils and greases along with diesel are fed into a diesel hydrotreater where it is catalytically reacted with hydrogen to produce diesel/green diesel. The product, a direct substitute for diesel fuel, features a high cetane value (the measure of the combustion quality of diesel) of approximately 80. Compared to diesel found at the pump today, which ranges from 40 to 60 cetane, green diesel offers value as a blending stock for refiners seeking to enhance existing diesel fuels and expand the diesel pool.
UOP has also determined that co-processing vegetable oils with petroleum feedstocks in Fluid Catalytic Crackers (FCC) can produce gasoline and olefins, the building blocks for producing plastics and other materials. UOP will offer refineries this FCC co-processing capability in the near future.