CVR Energy Inc. has let a contract to Honeywell UOP LLC to license proprietary technology as part of a study to evaluate the potential repurposing of a conventional hydrocarbon processing unit for production of renewable fuels at subsidiary Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing LLC’s (CRRM) 132,000-b/d refinery in Coffeyville, Kan.
As part of the contract, UOP will deliver CRRM licensing of the UOP-Eni SPA codeveloped proprietary Ecofining process to study the technology’s effectiveness at converting locally sourced seed oils, tallow, and white-yellow greases into renewable diesel, the service provider said on Dec. 8.
Pending results of the trial, the proposed study could result in CRRM advancing a project that, if approved, would result in retrofitting an existing hydroprocessing unit at the refinery into a single-stage Ecofining unit equipped to produce about 11,000 b/d of renewable diesel and jet fuels chemically identical to petroleum-based fuels for use as a drop-in replacement with no engine modifications, according to UOP.
The Coffeyville contract award aligns with CVR Energy’s earlier announcement of its intent to aggressively advance its renewable fuels strategy across its downstream platform, which includes the operator’s 2020 approval of a project now under way at subsidiary Wynnewood Refining Co. LLC’s (WRC) 74,500-b/d refinery in Wynnewood, Okla., involving conversion of a 19,000-b/d hydrocracker at the site to enable processing of a 100-million gal/year low-carbon intensity (CI) refined and bleached soybean oil into renewable diesel as well as 6 million gal/year of renewable naphtha (OGJ, Dec. 7, 2020, p. 18).
Upon confirming the contract award to UOP for the Coffeyville study, Dave Lamp—CVR Energy’s president and chief executive officer—said the company remains “laser focused” on its development of renewable initiatives.
“Adding Ecofining technology to our Coffeyville refinery could complement the renewable diesel project in process at our Wynnewood refinery. These projects, combined with others under development, could help us decarbonize our operations,” Lamp said.
Neither UOP nor CVR Energy revealed either a value of the contract or an anticipated timeframe for completion of the Coffeyville study.
Recent project updates
In its latest quarterly earnings report to investors released in early November, CVR Energy confirmed its board approved CRRM to move forward with process design for potential conversion of an existing hydrotreater at the refinery to renewable diesel service.
The operator also said in the November report the board approved WRC’s previously proposed plan to add a pretreatment unit (PTU) for processing of inedible corn oil, animal fats, and used cooking oil (UCO) as part of the Wynnewood hydrocracker conversion, which is scheduled to be completed in its entirety during fourth-quarter 2022 (OGJ Online, Jan. 27, 2021).
CVR Energy, however, said that—despite approval and execution of WRC’s multimillion-dollar hydrocracker conversion project—the company may choose to continue operating Wynnewood’s converted unit in conventional hydrocracking mode instead of renewable diesel mode due to unfavorable economic impacts that could result from recent climate change initiatives and administrative regulatory actions that could adversely affect market conditions for renewable fuels.