Flint Hills Resources said on Thursday that it plans to invest $750 million in a series of technology upgrades at its Pine Bend refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota.
The work is expected to improve the facility’s efficiency, increase production of transportation fuels and reduce emissions.
“We are going to be able to make more of the transportation fuels the region depends on and do it more efficiently and reliably than we do today, without increasing permitted emissions,” said Geoff Glasrud, vice president of operations and manufacturing manager at Flint Hills Resources.
Two 1960s-era delayed coking units will be replaced with a single unit, incorporating new technology to improve energy efficiency and lower emissions. The plans also include a new gas oil fractionator, upgraded hydrogen unit technology and process improvements to make more clean diesel fuel, as well as improvements to gasoline blend stock processing for additional ultra-low sulfur gasoline.
“Most of this is aimed at efficiency,” Glasrud told local newspaper the Star Tribune. “What we are doing to improve efficiency is to recover heat in our own processes. What that does is avoid us having to fire heaters downstream.”
Meanwhile, new air pollution controls will further decrease the refinery’s nitrogen oxide emissions and lower its permitted emissions by 500 tons per year.
According to the company, since 1997 the Pine Bend refinery has lowered emissions of criteria air pollutants by approximately 65%, while increasing production. Its emissions per barrel are currently about 21% lower than the industry average.