One of the largest oil refineries in the US Midwest is set to benefit from the development of a 50 MW combined heat and power plant.

The $150m project at Flint Hills Resources in Minnesota will provide technology to capture sulphur at the refinery and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Midwest Energy News reports that another $150m will be spent to reduce emissions in order to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for removing sulphur from gasoline.
Minnesota Flint Hills oil refinery
Flint Hills public affairs director Jake Reint told the website the refinery requires roughly 120 MW of power, 24 hours a day to operate. Xcel Energy will continue to provide the bulk of that baseload energy with the CHP handling the rest. The advantages of onsite power include no loss of power from transmission lines, which Flint Hills estimates at 7 per cent.

The CHP can take steam already created in the refinery process and re-use it. “This allows us to take that wasted energy and repurpose it for electricity,” Reint said. “You end up demanding less of the overall system, which benefits ratepayers and the environment alike.”

The plant’s CHP system will also be cooled by air condenser technology rather than the more traditional water-based system, an approach expected to save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a day, Reint added.

Flint Hills’ Pine Bend facility processes 339,000 barrels of oil a day and is among the top 15 largest oil refineries in the country.