Contra Costa County Supervisors greenlight Phillips 66 Bay Area renewable fuels plant; 800M gallons per year RD, RG and SAF
04 May 2022
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the land-use permit necessary to reconfigure the San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo to produce renewable fuels. (Earlier post.) Under a permitting review process overseen by County leaders and under authority of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the plant can now proceed with its conversion away from crude oil-based fuel production toward used cooking oils, fats, greases and vegetable oils, pending a final investment decision by Phillips 66 and other regulatory approvals.
The proposed facility conversion, known as the Rodeo Renewed project, stands to have an initial production capacity of 800 million gallons per year (50,000 barrels per day) of renewable diesel (RD), renewable gasoline (RG), and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The fully permitted throughput is 67,000 barrels per day.
Production of these fuels is projected to slash lifecycle carbon emissions by an estimated 65%—the equivalent of taking 1.4 million cars off California roads each year. Rodeo Renewed also stands to cut criteria pollutant emissions at the site by 50% and water use by 160 million gallons per year.
We know it won’t happen overnight. With the regulations being adopted in California, the most progressive regulations in the world, if you look at sectors like aviation, marine and long-haul trucking, they're going to be in liquid fuels for a long time. That is a fact. It’s an honest assessment.—Richard Corey, Executive Officer at the California Air Resources Board, at a March 29 Contra Costa County Planning Commission meeting
Renewable diesel is a drop-in replacement fuel that is chemically equivalent to crude oil-derived diesel but with lower carbon intensity. Renewable gasoline and sustainable aviation fuel are also considered drop-in replacements when blended to make low-carbon, low-sulfur, high-performing fuels. The project scope outlined in the Final Environmental Impact Report included the construction of a pre-treatment units and the repurposing of existing hydrocracking units to enable production of renewable fuels.
The conversion will create more than 500 construction jobs and preserve more than 650 family-wage jobs, including full-time employees and contractors. It will also help California meet both its demand for renewable and conventional transportation fuels while assisting the state achieve its environmental goals, including carbon neutrality by 2045.
Once reconfigured, the Rodeo Refinery will no longer transport or process crude oil. Renewable fuels production at Rodeo is expected to begin in early 2024.
Processing of crude oil at the Rodeo site began in February 1896, when the 18-acre Oleum plant began processing 1,200 barrels per day of crude oil.