Industrial / Manufacturing
Project Number: 
Start Year: 
Markets Segments: 
Industrial - Manufacturing
Project Type: 
Type of Technology: 
California Energy Commission - PIER program
Project Status: 
Applied Research

The purpose of this project is to conduct a hydrogen management study based on HydrogenPinch technology at British Petroleum's (BP's) Los Angeles refinery in Carson, California. The study will identify process and equipment changes to improve hydrogen recovery in the most cost-effective way and minimize the hydrogen vented to refinery fuel gas. The results of this study will benefit California refineries by showing how improved hydrogen recovery can achieve capacity debottlenecking, improved energy efficiency, improved product mix, and reduced environmental impacts.
The effective management and efficient integration of hydrogen and off-gases are becoming increasingly important tasks for many of the world's oil refiners and petrochemicals producers. Legislation to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases is enforcing the production of low-sulphur fuels with the result that hydrogen is in increasing demand in refineries.

This project supports the PIER Program objectives of:
• Improving and enhancing the energy cost/value of California's electricity by developing and demonstrating an energy efficient industrial program pinch technology, and
• Improving the environmental and public health costs/risks of California's electricity by ensuring the cost-effective production and supply of low-sulfur fuels to meet strict environmental standards.

Proposed Outcomes: This project will conduct a hydrogen management study based on HydrogenPinch analysis at the host site. Based on this analysis, researchers will calculate the maximum hydrogen recovery potential, the minimum supplemental hydrogen required from other sources, and the amount of propane required to maintain the heating value of the fuel gas. With these results, investigators will develop a list of recommended capital projects and/or process changes to meet the economic and operating criteria established by the plant.

Actual Outcomes: The project team conducted a site visit of the BP facility to define data that needs to be collected and to determine operating and economic constraints that need to be taken into account. Researchers used HydrogenPinch analysis to determine the optimum extent of hydrogen recovery and minimal supplementary hydrogen required for the plant. Significant improvements were identified in three key areas: PRISM operation, plant capacity, and feed purity. The maximum potential cost savings achievable by combining these projects was shown to be $4.5 million per year. In addition, further unquantified benefits could be realized in at least two hydroprocessing units due to an increase in purity of hydrogen supplies to those units. The global impact on the environment of California was shown to be positive by a 24,800 TPA reduction in CO2 emissions. Results of the study were presented at a one day seminar held on May 4, 2001 in Long Beach, California.

Project Status: Commission participation in this study ended as of December 31, 2001.