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Chevron and Exxon look to renewable fuels

US oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron are reportedly looking into ways of producing renewable fuels at their existing refineries without needing expensive upgrades to be made.

Reuters reports that the oil companies are looking at making renewable petrol and diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) without increasing their capital spending. In addition, the companies are seeking to avoid any prolonged environmental approval processes for using bio-based feedstocks like vegetable oils in combination with petroleum distillates.

Exxon has requested that ASTM International, a testing and standards organisation, investigate whether its refineries could co-process up to 50% of some bio-feedstocks for use in SAF.

Chevron, which makes Texaco-branded industrial grease and lubricant products, is looking at ways to use its refineries’ gasoline-producing units and fluid catalytic crackers (FCC) to process specific bio-feedstocks with a view to selling renewable products to consumers in southern California.

Reuters quotes a Chevron spokesperson as saying:

“Our goal is to co-process biofeedstocks in the FCC by the end of 2021.”

Chevron is reportedly collaborating with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop methods for sustainable fuel production that would meet the requirements for emissions credits, which may help offset the emissions of Chevron’s other refining operations.

Should the EPA and CARB give approval for such processes, it could pave the way for renewable gasoline to become commercially available in the United States, something that the California Energy Commission has said could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 61% to 83%, depending on the particular feedstocks used for production.

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