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jueves, 17 de septiembre de 2015

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO) Biorefineries – The rise of renewable diesel



Publication date: 17/09/2015.
Last update: 22/03/2017.

This is the second post of a series about the commercial biorefineries producing advanced biofuels through the world. In the first post, cellulosic ethanol biorefineries were the focal point. Now, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO) biorefineries come next. Hydrotreating is an alternative process to esterification to produce diesel from biomass. In fact, HVO are commonly referred to as renewable diesel or green diesel in order to distinguish from Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME), best known as biodiesel. Although, it is important to mention that the synonym Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA) is increasingly used to refer to HVO.

HVO can be produced from many kinds of vegetable oils and fats. This includes triglycerides and fatty acids from vegetable oils, (e.g. rapeseed, soybean and corn oil), tall-oil (a co-product from the pulp and paper industry) and animal fats. In the HVO production process, hydrogen is used to remove the oxygen from the triglyceride producing a mix of linear paraffins, CO2 and water. Then, the product of the first stage is isomerized, always in presence of hydrogen, in order to branch the linear chains for improving the cold flow properties of the final products. Thus, HVO are mixtures of paraffinic hydrocarbons, free of sulfur and aromatics, and with a very high cetane number. HVO offers a number of benefits over FAME, such as reduced NOx emissions, better storage stability and better cold properties. In addition, they can be used in diesel engines without blend walls or the modifications required for biodiesel. Another key point is that jet biofuel, bionaphta and biopropane can be co-produced.


Figure 1. HVO biorefinery of Neste in Singapore (extracted from Neste web page)

Due to all of the previously mentioned advantages, HVO are a very attractive alternative for diesel engine vehicles and their production has seen a large increase in the last few years. Actually, it is the world’s third largest volume biofuel and its production is growing at a faster pace than the more mature ethanol and biodiesel industries. Because of this, several companies have developed proprietary technologies to obtain this kind of green diesel. Also, it should be taken into account that is possible to transform existing refineries into HVO biorefineries with relatively low investments. Below, a short summary of the main characteristics of these facilities worldwide (this post will be updated on a regular basis with the new facilities).

OPERATIONAL
Location
Owner
Feedstocks
Technology
Capacity
Start-up
Kilpilahti, Porvoo (Finland)
Vegetable oil and waste animal fat
NEXBTL technology (developed by Neste)
2 units of 190,000 tons per year
1st unit: 2007.
2nd unit: 2009.
Tuas Industrial Area, Singapore (Singapore)
Vegetable oil and waste animal fat
NEXBTL technology (developed by Neste)
1 million tons per year
2010
Geismar, Louisiana (USA)
High and low free fatty acid feedstocks
Developed by Dynamic Fuels LLC (JV formed by Syntroleum and Tyson Foods)
250,000 tons per year
2010.
Dynamic Fuels LLC opened the plant in 2010 and REG acquired the facility in 2014
Rotterdam (The Netherlands) – Post
Vegetable oil and waste animal fat
NEXBTL technology (developed by Neste)
1 million tons per year
2011
Norco, Louisiana (USA)
A mix of non-edible vegetable oils and animal fats
EcofiningTM technology (developed by eni and UOP)
500,000 tons per year.
Expansion to  900,000 tons per year to be finished in 2Q 2018.
2013
Porto Marghera, Venice (Italy) – Post
Vegetable oils, animal fats and used cooking oils
EcofiningTM technology (developed by eni and UOP)
1st phase: 360,000 tons per year (now operating).
2nd phase: 420,000 tons per year (expected in 2017).
June 2014.
Revamp of existing HDS units in the former refinery
Lappeenranta (Finland) – Post
Crude tall oil
UPM BioVerno (developed by UPM Biofuels)
100,000 tons per year
January 2015
Paramount, California (USA)
Non-edible natural oils and agricultural waste
EcofiningTM technology (developed by eni and UOP)
130,000 tons per year
Early 2016
NOTES:
1. Petrobras (Brazil) and Sinopec (China) are supposed to produce HVO but it was not possible to find reliable information.
2. Also, there are a number of companies co-processing vegetable oils with fossil fuels.
- Cepsa: Several refineries in Spain.
- Preem: Sweden.
- Repsol: Several refineries in Spain.

PLANNED OR UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Location
Owner
Technology
Capacity
Start-up
Plaquemine, Louisiana (USA)
Emerald Biofuels
EcofiningTM technology (developed by eni and UOP)
280,000 tons/y
The plans for the plant were announced in 2012 but its possible completion date is not yet known.
Fujairah (UAE)
Petrixo
EcofiningTM technology (developed by eni and UOP)
250,000 tons/y
In 2015, it was announced the expected start-up by 2017 but it seems that the works have not yet started.
Sines (Portugal)
Galp
Co-processing.
40,000 tons/y
Under construction. Start-up expected by 2017.
La Mède (France)
Total
VeganTM technology (developed by IFP Energies nouvelles and commercialized by Axens)
500,000 tons/y
Under construction. Start-up expected by 2018.
Gela (Italy)
eni
EcofiningTM technology (developed by eni and UOP)
-
Under construction. Start-up expected by 2018.


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REFERENCES

8 comentarios :

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    Respuestas
    1. Thank you for your comment! I will check your web page. Are you currently participating in some project related to HVO?

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  2. Nice blog, biodiesel plant and refining used oil is need of the hour. It reduce carbon emission and reduces green house gases. According to study finepac is best Biodiesel Plant commissioner in world.

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  3. Hi. Nice blog.
    Can you help me with a question I can't seem to find an answer to?
    How much Hydrogen is required to process a given amount of vegetable oil into HVO?

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