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Without Retroactive Exemptions, Small Refiners Flock to Renewables  

A recent announcement from the US EPA denies Small Refinery Exemptions for prior “gap” years. This means refiners in the U.S. now face steeper requirements for meeting renewable fuel volume obligations. But because EPA has finally decided on exemptions, refiners now know where they stand.

Refiners are always looking for ways to put existing assets to better use. UOP’s Ecofining technology makes it possible to easily convert underutilized assets so they can process vegetable oils, animal fats and other bio-liquids to make renewable diesel and jet fuel. Of the four Ecofining units currently in commercial operation – the most in the industry -- three were revamps converted from petroleum service. These UOP customers will speak with interested refiners about their experience with the Ecofining technology.

Based on their experience, revamps are 50 to 70% less capital intensive than greenfield projects. With specific metallurgy to process vegetable oils and fats, a revamp solution can go into production in less than 52 weeks.

Given all the challenges in the refining industry today, renewable fuels production remains one of the brightest spots. These fuels have become an opportunity for refiners to capture margins of as much as $60 to $100 per barrel beyond typical petroleum operations. With more units in commercial production than any other technology provider, UOP has shown how it can help refining customers quickly revamp operations for the production of renewable fuels. 

by Dan Szeezil, Offering Manager, Renewable Fuels, Sustainable Technology Solutions.