Honeywell introduces simplified renewable diesel technology

By Honeywell | January 13, 2021

Honeywell on Jan. 12 announced that it has introduced a single-stage UOP Ecofining technology offering for the production of renewable diesel fuel. The new single-stage technology is a fast-to-market, low capital cost solution that is ideal for repurposing an underutilized hydrotreating or hydrocracking unit, producing higher yields of renewable diesel fuel than other single-stage technologies.

The single-stage Ecofining process produces Honeywell Green Diesel fuel which is chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles with no modifications. It also features up to an 80-percent lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel made from petroleum.

The new process uses a combination of catalysts in a single unit to clean and remove oxygenates and other contaminants from the feedstock, and then isomerize the feed to improve its cold-flow properties. Due to its simplified design, the single-stage Ecofining technology can be put into service quickly, and with lower capital expense than other designs.

“Interest in renewable fuels production continues to grow as customers work to meet sustainability goals and find new uses for existing assets,” said Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “The new single-stage Ecofining process can help a refiner meet stricter regulations for sustainable fuels production with significant revenue advantages and minimal equipment and space requirements.”

The single-stage Ecofining process also provides greater flexibility to expand into a full two-stage Ecofining process in the future. Two-stage designs can process feedstocks including used cooking oils and animal fats, and produce renewable jet fuel. This established technology is ideal for refinery revamps where an additional reactor is available, or may be added, for green feed processing.

Honeywell UOP jointly developed the Ecofining process with Eni SpA. It converts non-edible natural oils and animal fats to Honeywell Green Diesel, which offers improved performance over biodiesel and petroleum-based diesel. The Ecofining process produces diesel with a cetane value of 80, substantially higher than the 40-to-60 cetane diesel commonly used in diesel engines today. As a result, this higher-cetane diesel fuel provides better engine performance with fewer emissions and can be blended with cheaper low-cetane diesel to meet transportation fuel standards.

The UOP Ecofining process is used in most 100 percent-biofeed units producing renewable diesel – and all of the licensed renewable jet fuel production – in the world today. UOP currently has licensed 20 Ecofining units in nine countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks.