American energy giant ExxonMobil announced plans to produce renewable diesel at a new complex at its Strathcona refinery in Canada, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The renewable diesel project to be carried out through the company’s majority-owned subsidiary Imperial Oil Ltd. is part of ExxonMobil’s plans to provide more than 40,000 barrels per day of low-emissions fuels by 2025.
When construction is complete, the refinery is expected to produce approximately 20,000 barrels per day of renewable diesel, which could reduce emissions in the Canadian transportation sector by about 3 million metric tons per year.
The complex will utilize locally grown plant-based feedstock and hydrogen with carbon capture and storage (CCS) as part of the manufacturing process, ExxonMobil said.
“Canada’s proposed low-carbon fuel policies incentivize the development of lower-emission fuels that can make meaningful contributions to the hard-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy, including transportation,” Ian Carr, president of ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants Company, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“The Strathcona project is an example of how well-designed policies allow us to leverage our existing global facilities for capital efficiency, utilize our proprietary catalyst technology, and bring our decades of processing experience to develop low-emission fuels,” he added.
-Project is expected to start in 2024
Blue hydrogen, which is created from natural gas with carbon capture and storage, will be used in the sustainable diesel generation process.
Production of blue hydrogen has been shown to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventionally produced hydrogen.
“Approximately 500,000 metric tons of CO2 are expected to be captured each year utilizing CCS. The blue hydrogen and bio feedstock will be combined with a proprietary catalyst to produce premium low-carbon diesel fuel,” the company said.
Expected to create about 600 direct construction jobs, renewable diesel production project is anticipated to start in 2024.
Made from diverse non-petroleum feedstocks, renewable diesel is also chemically similar to petroleum-based diesel and can be easily blended into existing engines. It can reduce life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 80% when compared to petroleum-based diesel, according to research from the California Air Resources Board.
The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the reduction of 3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases is the equivalent to removing almost 650,000 passenger cars from the road for a year.
In March, ExxonMobil launched a “Low Carbon Solutions” business to commercialize low-emission technologies such as carbon capture and storage, biofuels, and hydrogen.
In June, Imperial announced its participation as a founding member of the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero Alliance. The alliance aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands operations by 2050, assisting Canada in meeting its climate goals, including its Paris Agreement commitments and 2050 net-zero aspirations.
The International Energy Agency projects CCS could mitigate up to 15% of global emissions by 2040, and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates global de-carbonization efforts could be twice as costly without CCS.
By Sibel Morrow