Renewable Fuels Innovation
Tucker kicks off Season 3 of Path to Zero by talking to Nik Weinberg-Lynn, who is heading up a project to create one of the largest renewable fuels plants in the world.
Phillips 66 is converting one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s oldest oil refineries into a facility that will turn used cooking oil, grease and fats into clean burning diesel, jet fuel and other renewable fuels.
The company says these new fuels will reduce its carbon footprint, clean the air, and help California advance toward its goal of carbon neutrality.
The 125-year old Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo, California will produce renewable fuels, resulting in 80% less sulfur dioxide and fewer local emissions than the current crude oil refinery.
Phillips 66 is undertaking the Rodeo Renewed project to meet the rising demand for renewable fuels and to help meet California’s environmental targets.
“The way I see it, this is the next iteration and the next transformation,” says Weinberg-Lynn. “It allows us to turn fats, oils and greases into low carbon intensive cleaner burning transportation fuels, and we can do it with a lot of our existing assets and with the employees that we have on the ground today.”
Weinberg-Lynn also points out that not only the plant producing a cleaner burning transportation fuel but it also has lower carbon emissions from the facility itself.
Types of Renewable Fuels
After the conversion is complete in 2024, the Phillips San Francisco Refinery will produce 800 million gallons per year of renewable diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.
Additionally, Weinberg-Lynn says they will be taking the renewable propane molecules that come from the renewable diesel processing and using those to produce hydrogen.
Weinberg-Lynn says the vast majority of the public is receptive and there’s been an outpouring of support for the project. Members of the California Air Resources Board and Governor Newsom are supporting Rodeo Renewed and have said that renewable fuels are an important part of the energy mix going forward.
However, there are still those in California who are skeptical and mainly support an all-electrification approach to decarbonization. Weinberg-Lynn points out the emissions reduction benefits both at the refinery itself during production as well as producing a transportation fuel that has lower lifecycle carbon emissions.
“I want to remind the critics that our employees are a very important to us and this project enables us to continue to have them in the workforce,” says Weinberg-Lynn. “The 650 employees and contractors that we have today at the facility will be doing renewable jobs in the future. These are highly-skilled, family wage careers that we provide and that’s really important for the local community.”
- Rodeo Renewed website
- NBC Bay Area – Phillips 66 Refinery to Improve Clean Energy Production
- Financial Times – US oil refiners hope fat is way out of lean times
- NS Energy – Rodeo Renewed
- S&P Global – Phillips 66 starts up first renewable diesel unit at Rodeo refinery
- KCBS Radio – Phillips 66 Renewable Energy Project Manager Nik Weinberg-Lynn joined KCBS radio to share project details regarding Rodeo Renewed’s Draft Environmental Impact Report