Hunton Energy to Build World’s First Green Refinery
The Houston Chronicle reports that the first “green refinery” will be built by Hunton Energy on the Texas Gulf Coast using an established technology Hunton says could revolutionize the way transportation fuels are made.
“Hunton Energy,” states the newspaper, “envisions a refinery with the capacity to convert 340,000 barrels per day of Canadian bitumen crude oil into clean-burning jet and diesel fuel. Its defining feature is the integration of a gasification facility, which would capture most of the plant's carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere.”
Hunton Energy previously announced a $2.8 billion gasification facility at Dow Chemical Co.’s manufacturing complex in Freeport. According to Hunton officials, the facility is on track and ground breaking will occur in the second quarter of 2009. “The new refinery,” says the Chronicle, “could land at the same Dow site or at a stand-alone site in Texas City, Hunton officials said.”
Hunton officials describe solid backing for the project, quotes the Chronicle, “partly because potential partners have been impressed by a management team that has decades of experience in gasification technology at General Electric, Chevron and the former Texaco. Hunton Energy is a subsidiary of the Hunton Group.
Hunton Energy describes the new project as a “game-changer” for energy production. Adds the Chronicle, “Hunton's Freeport gasification facility will convert coal or petroleum coke into synthetic natural gas and steam, most of which will be sold to Dow. All of the carbon dioxide will be captured and sold to the oil and gas industry for enhanced oil field production.”
The Hunton gasification facilities will require 50% less water than typical gasification facilities, due to IP developed by the Hunton Team. In addition its CO2 capture and high clean products yield will allow the fuels to meet the proposed low carbon well-to-wheels fuel standards even with the Canadian Bitumen crude. The Hunton Process will convert one barrel of oil into 1.2 barrels of fuel compared with a conventional refinery’s conversion rate of .8. “To make it very simple, we get 120% out of a barrel where conventional refineries get 80%,” says R.O. Hunton, Chairman of The Hunton Group.
The Canadian Facility will be located in the Fort McMurray or Fort Saskatchewan area. This facility will produce the diluent needed to mix with the bitumen. Hunton is also working with owners of proposed oil sands mining projects to remove the organic contaminants from their tailing ponds, allowing for complete water recycle and eliminating toxic tailings impoundment. Hunton plans to extend this capability to work with existing mining operations to eliminate their existing tailing ponds. The organic contaminants will be gasified as a co-feed at one of Hunton’s gasification facilities.
Hunton’s previously announced Freeport I Facility, located at Dow’s Oyster Creek Plant, is moving forward on schedule. The Hunton Energy Facility will produce Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG), which will be purchased by Dow. The facility will also generate steam, some of which will be used to generate power for both internal use and commercial sale; and the remainder will be sold to Dow for their commercial use. All of the CO2 produced in the gasification process will be sold to a CO2 consolidator for sequestration in oil and gas fields.
The Chronicle notes that: “Environmental groups have championed the gasification plant as an example of how Texas can meet its growing energy needs while reducing pollution. ‘We think the Hunton power plant is the game changer in the utility industry that we have all been waiting for,’ said Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of consumer group Public Citizen's Texas office.”
Hunton will take the project a step further, the Chronicle says, “By integrating a gasification plant into a refinery, Hunton said it can slash fuel-making emissions by eliminating several units found at conventional oil refineries and create cleaner fuels.”
The Hunton Technology Team is showing the world that there are other options when it comes to clean energy, energy security and high efficiency. “Our company is using proven technologies to build a better mousetrap," Hunton Energy President Rocky Sembritzky says. "It is a shame that we as a country have not done it sooner.”
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