UOP said the new unit, called Renewable Energy and Chemicals, would accelerate UOP’s already existing efforts to develop renewable energy technologies. It aims to develop ways refineries can use UOP’s petroleum processing technologies to convert bio-feedstocks, such as vegetable oils, greases and certain waste products, into fuel and chemicals.
UOP’s development efforts have targeted the creation of transportation fuels which can be used with the existing diesel and gasoline fuel infrastructure. It received funding from the US Department of Energy in 2004 for a study that identified a number of opportunities for biorenewables in petroleum refineries.
The study determined that co-processing vegetable oils with petroleum feedstocks can produce gasoline and olefins, the building blocks for producing plastics and other materials. UOP Fluid Catalytic Cracking, or FCC, technology can offer refineries this capability. The study also showed that UOP’s technologies can be used to convert vegetable oils to high-cetane diesel fuel, also known as ‘green’ diesel. This sustainable technology is expected to be commercially available in early 2007.