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Honeywell’s UOP and China National Petroleum Corp. to Collaborate on Biofuels Projects in China, Including Renewable Diesel and Renewable Jet

UOP’s Ecofining process produces drop-in hydrocarbon fuel replacements from natural oils. Source: UOP. Click to enlarge.

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has signed a memorandum of understanding with China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) under which the two companies will collaborate on a range of biofuels technologies and projects in China.

Under the terms of the agreement, announced at the 20th meeting of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), the companies will collaborate to demonstrate existing biofuels technology to produce green transportation fuels using feedstocks available within China. CNPC will evaluate the installation of a demonstration-scale UOP/Eni Ecofining process unit (earlier post) for the production of renewable diesel fuel, as well as a larger-scale unit at an existing or new CNPC refinery site.

The companies will also collaborate on the design of an Ecofining unit able to produce both green diesel as well as renewable jet fuel from Chinese biofeedstocks, and assess opportunities for raising the energy efficiency of existing and new ethanol plants in China with the use ethanol of membrane technology.

The initiatives will enable CNPC to meet the renewable energy targets set forth by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China and are aligned with a strategic understanding reached by NDRC and the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture in 2007 to promote industrial energy efficiency improvements and emissions reductions.

The Ecofining process, jointly developed by UOP and Eni S.p.a., uses catalytic hydroprocessing technology. The Ecofining process hydrogenates triglycerides and/or free fatty acid feedstocks such as vegetable oils and animal fats. The resulting paraffins are then isomerized to create a high-quality bio-hydrocarbon. Ecofining process can also be designed to produce a paraffinic green jet fuel stream in addition to the green diesel product. (Earlier post.)

The diesel 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.

In 2009, UOP announced an alliance with Vaperma to offer Vaperma’s Siftek polymer membrane technology, which is designed to lower energy consumption for reduced operational costs and emissions in the energy-intensive ethanol production process. (Earlier post.)

CNPC is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world and also one of the pioneer Chinese companies in promoting and deploying advanced biofuel technologies.


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