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A pioneering program at BP’s Cherry Point refinery brings renewable fuel to the market

Release date:
April 30, 2019

Early last year the Cherry Point Refinery in northwest Washington launched a renewable diesel project to co-process biomass-based feedstock alongside conventional feedstocks in an existing ultra-low-sulfur diesel unit. This process reduces the carbon footprint of Cherry Point’s diesel while supporting compliance with government programs that require supply of low carbon and renewable fuels to the marketplace. The renewable diesel project reflects BP’s broader commitment to provide the energy people need while doing its part to promote a lower-carbon economy. The project was recently awarded BP’s Advancing Low Carbon* accreditation.

Some of the team members that brought the program from drawing board to reality explains how it works and what it means.

“The Team Worked Seamlessly”


Michelle Avis, project manager


“The project team designed and constructed an asset to produce a new refinery product, renewable diesel.  This included a feedstock truck offload facility, feedstock storage tank, heat exchanger to keep the tank warm, pumps and a dedicated filtration and injection system.  The project provided capability to co-process tallow with conventional diesel in the Number Three Diesel Hydrotreater unit.   


The team worked seamlessly across the site and with many other groups in BP to successfully deliver the project.  From appraise to operate the project was completed in 12 months.  As One Team, we achieved a safe and expedited project completion.” 

“A First-Class Result for BP” 


Pat Simons, project gatekeeper


“The construction, in the winter season, was very challenging.   Yet it was done with the highest standards on safety, quality, and operability. The team gave up holidays and worked long hours to deliver a schedule-driven result and I remain extremely proud of them across all groups located here and elsewhere.


The collaboration of the larger team including literally all site departments, and extending into Refining Technology, Supply and Trading, Strategy and others; It was a wonderful example of ‘how it is supposed to work.’   I believe we put a first-class asset on the ground, and we are delivering a first-class result for BP.” 


“Burns Cleaner “


Janet Van Rooyen, principal process design engineer


“Renewable diesel reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional diesel and other fuels. The Carbon Intensity (CI) is an indication of the total greenhouse gasses emitted through the complete life cycle of a fuel. Examples of factors used in the calculation to determine a fuel’s CI are CO2 emitted to extract feedstocks, to distribute, store and produce the fuel, and the final use of the fuel. 


Land usage and agricultural impacts are also considered. Renewable diesel burns cleaner than conventional diesel. We are currently considering the use of other renewable feedstocks to increase production of low carbon fuels while we further reduce our overall carbon footprint.” 


“Making a Difference” 


Lucas van’t Hoog, project sponsor


“This project is helping BP Fuels North America learn how to incorporate low carbon fuels into existing refinery production. We’ve already reduced the carbon footprint of the refinery’s diesel fuel today, but there is longer-term potential for greater investments in the biomass fuel production of tomorrow. Cherry Point is now making about 122,000 gallons a day and is the only Pacific Northwest refinery capable of this production.


“I was responsible for the unit’s implementation, right from business case development to executing commercial activities. I am proud to be part of a team that is making a difference and, what’s more, we’ve just been awarded our first Advancing Low Carbon accreditation as a result of this work.”


*BP’s Advancing Low Carbon accreditation program was launched April 2018 to help encourage lower carbon actions across the organization. To be accredited, activities must deliver what is called a ‘better carbon outcome’, meet rigorous criteria and be externally assured. One year on, the program has grown by more than 50%, with 52 accredited activities across BP – from advanced fuels and lubricants to lower carbon products, global research initiatives to partnerships with start-ups developing innovative new technologies.